Anora (middle) gathers with members of her community-based savings group.

AKDN / Liz Montague

In 2019, Anora’s group paid out loans to members totalling US$ 982. This is a powerful resource in a place where only about one in three low-income households has a bank account.

For CBSGs, AKF’s training provides tools for bookkeeping and financial management best practices, taking out loans, and management of a social fund, a small pool of cash reserved for the village’s poorest families in times of need.

The groups encourage trust amongst members with their built-in accountability mechanism where three members hold separate keys to a cashbox containing the group’s contributions. All three keys are needed to access the pool. The group helps to create a safety net for both its members and the broader community – improving their financial well-being and protecting them and their families from additional economic hardship.

Anora is now studying to teach English and attends school part-time with support from her CBSG. She took out a loan to continue her studies at the University of Bokhtar, with plans to graduate in two years.

“I have many hopes for my future,” she says. “I want to become an interpreter one day.”

The CBSG is helping to make Anora’s dreams for the future real. It also shows other young women that they can take hold of their financial futures and improve their quality of life.