The Impact of Savings Groups on Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan
In a village near Kuajok, in the northern part of South Sudan, a twenty-member savings group meets each week in one of their member’s homes. In an area that has been known for conflict, cattle-raiding, and battles over grazing lands, the community is coming together around a new concept, joint savings.
Building Social Cohesion
“This savings program has brought a cohesion and peace that was not among them before,” says Five Talents Program Leader, John Chol.
The community members started with lessons in financial literacy, but quickly moved to address common social concerns. They meet each week to share their concerns and pray together. After they had been meeting and learning together for some time, “friendship and love among the members began to grow.”
One of the members, Mary, explains how the group has bonded. “My friends from the savings group visited us in [the hospital] last month when my child got sick to pray with me. They love me very much because I am their member in the savings group.”
The group chairperson of the savings group, Mr. Gabriel points out that the saving program has taught them to “put their resources together to benefit from them together, love and share better ideas together, pray during meetings together for each other and see themselves as friends in the group.”
The impact of Unity on Economic Development
“Now we don’t see ourselves as [different clans] but as members of a savings group who can share anything together”, he said.
Gabriel also noted the saving program has improved family relationships as mothers who are members of the group can now borrow money, pay school fees, and buy uniforms and books for her children. The result is that the children and father are beginning to respect and appreciate the mother in a new way.
“Even with these economic hardships facing us in our country most of our members are able to send their children to schools and these children appreciate their parents for taking care of their needs and it is possible through the savings program.”
Discover the different you can make when you support community savings in South Sudan.