Lisbania and her Savings and Internal Lending Community (SILC) group members were scared at first by the mere thought of trying to learn to save money together. “It seemed too complicated and we were sure we would never be able to get it,” she says with a laugh. That was two years ago, and they have done it!
Lisbania used to teach adult education classes with the degree she received from the Ministry of Education. Recently single and with two young children, her only source of income is making and selling snacks from home for special occasions.
“We formed our own group that we called ‘Enterprising Women’ with 11 members, bylaws, and a plan,” says Lisbania. “During that first year, we all saved money, but were apprehensive about loaning out our savings, which were not easy to come by. No one wanted to take this risk, so the staff of local partner San Lucas provided a small ‘seed fund’ as an incentive for us, to give us practice.”
The Enterprising Women started to take out small loans and repay them on time, with interest. They got comfortable with tracking loans and keeping each other accountable. Their first savings cycle, a year in length, ended in December 2020, and they paid out what they’d saved, plus what the group had earned from the interest. What a heady experience! Two years later, there are 27 members.
Lisbania has been able to pay back debts, buy food and clothes for her children, and afford glasses for her daughter. This year her goal is to make some basic repairs to her house. All of this has motivated her to share what she’s learned and help other women.
“Because we all feel so motivated, we are working on forming a seed bank in our community that will be administered by us, and will ensure that there are seeds available during the planting season.”
Lisbania’s advice to women is “’practice makes perfect.’ We have to be confident in ourselves. In our group, we say, ‘We women can have success with or without a husband. Where there is a will, there is a way!’ We are so thankful and, God willing, we will keep on learning and growing.”
Nicaragua Conquista Nandaime Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Fundación San Lucas