Integrating the GALS methodology in VSLAs, and in agricultural produce marketing

Members of CAN MII DIRO Cooperative Savings and VSLA group in Lira district

“Our group was formed as a small women cash for work group. Later, we received training from different organizations and the Local Government on group formation and dynamics, leadership and group management, and on International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR). Oxfam trained our group members on financial literacy and the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology and how to integrate it into our existing traditional Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) group,” said Hilda Okello Chairperson of the CAN MII DIRO Cooperative Savings and VSLA group, in Ngetta Subcounty, Lira district.

Hilda Okello added that such trainings attracted more people to their group, including men. The group has grown from a 10 member cash for work women’s group to 60 members within a period of 5 years Majority of the members are using their annual savings to improve their lives.

Upon completion of the training on financial literacy and the GALS methodology in January 2020, Can Mii Diro Cooperative Savings and VSLA group developed its 5 year Vision Road Journey. The group’s key targets include acquiring a 100x100 plot of land, establishing a store for stocking produce, acquiring a truck to provide transportation of the produce, acquiring a tractor to support large scale farming for the group and its members, setting up an oil miller for locally produced cooking oil, and marketing improved and treated varieties of maize. The group has also acquired a solar drier as envisaged in their Vision Road Journey.

Can Mii Diro Cooperative Savings and VSLA group has evidently embraced the GALS methodology, putting into use other tools such as the Gender Balance Tree, the Gender Justice diamond, and the Challenge Action Tree to help them mitigate some of the challenges especially in lobbying and establishing up a group store and acquiring a solar drier which helped to mitigate the poor storage condition and absence of a storage facility for the group produce business. They are also exploring avenues oF acquiring a tractor to improve on the quantity and quality of the yield and leave hand tilling. The group saves UGX 20- 25 Million annually and earns UGX 30- 35 Million annually from its cooperative and produce business.