COMMUNITY members in Etas zone nine have demonstrated their enthusiasm for a newly established savings and loan scheme by coming together to decorate a small hut and build a local food stall to sell homemade goods.
Local women sell their food and vegetables at Jean and Lydia’s Kava Bar food hut and use the proceeds to assist with their loan repayments.
Zone nine of Etas in urban Port Vila is currently home to 600 people. It is also the site for dumping of all rubbish from the Port Vila municipality and surrounding villages.
This government-owned land is occupied by a diverse range of tenants from islands across Vanuatu who are seeking employment in the urban capital, Port Vila.
Homes have been built and subsistence vegetable gardens planted, however, with the increasing cost of living and the shortage of land for gardening, finding a means for survival is becoming increasingly difficult.
This started to change recently when the savings and loan component of World Vision, Waste Not Want Not project, introduced a scheme to provide a healthier and safer way of generating income for families.
Established overs ten months ago, the scheme is made up of 51 Etas community members and early indications are more positive than any previous savings schemes the community has been involved with in the past.
Jean-Dominique Malep is a 56-year-old man who has purchased land in the area and lives with his wife and sons. With increased access to savings Jean-Dominique and his family now have more options for income generation and payment of basic living costs is less challenging – a once dim future, is starting to look brighter.
“Our first loan was towards school fees. The second will assist with our poultry project. The constitution makes it not only easy for us to save money but unlike other loan schemes that pressure our payments, this one gives us enough time so we do not exhaust our finances,” said his wife Lydia Malep.
“Now we can repay loans but also have enough to give lunch money, bus fare and provide for other needs in the home.”
Lydia and Jean-Dominique and members of their community have also been assisted through World Vision’s awareness in hygiene and tippy tap construction demonstration, introduction to plastic recycling through the ‘Pem Bak Plastik’ rebate initiative and financial literacy training.
World Vision’s waste management project, Waste Not Want Not has assisted over 450 members in eight communities in establishing 15 savings and loan groups. Waste Not Want Not is funded by the Australian government and private donations from the Australian public through World Vision Australia.