Transformational Community Savings: A Model for Empowering the Poor

Community savings initiatives are building peace and prosperity even in the most challenging contexts. In South Sudan, Five Talents continues to work with local churches to coordinate financial literacy and business skills training, community savings and loans, business development, and the creation of community banks.

Support Five Talents' mission to to eradicate extreme poverty by restoring human dignity and creating strong, sustainable communities. Make a Donation Today!

Transformational Community Development: How to Achieve Lasting Change

Transformational development involves more than just economic growth. It is an approach to community welfare that takes into account spiritual, social, and economic well-being.

The Three Fields of Development 

Spiritual development means connecting witih God through Christ and growing in faith, understanding, character, and service. Five Talents works with churches around the world to help individuals and communities find themselves in the biblical story, affirm their dignity and self-worth, and discover opportunities to use their gifts and talents for good.

Social development entails the creation of strong community networks and support systems. Five Talents brings communities together to address their common concerns and work in partnership for a brighter future. We help savings groups form at a village level and members encourage one another, share, pray, and invest together. Our programs help to strengthen social cohesion, enhance social capital, and build lasting peace.

Economic development means empowering individuals and communities with opportunity and sustainable solutions to poverty. Five Talents provides business skills training and offers access to savings and loans. Financial inclusion results in business development, sustainable income, improved health, access to education, and more. Together our savings and loan associations develop into community owned banks and contribute to substantial economic growth in their communities.

Five Talents works with churches around the world to serve the vulnerable poor. We share hope and help through community savings, spiritual formation, and small businesses development. Transformational development is smart development. It is proven and it works.

Learn more about Five Talents mission.

Peter Macharia is the Africa Director for World Concern, a Five Talents Program Partner, and he helps support Five Talents programs in South Sudan.

When Moms Make Peace: A Mother's Movement in South Sudan

In the world's most fragile state, mothers are at the forefront of building peace. In the midst of famine, conflict, and a refugee crisis, mothers in South Sudan are leading the way in bringing communities together and proclaiming peace. Harriet Baka leads the largest women's ministry in South Sudan. In this emotional appeal she shares how moms are uniting tribes using unexpected methods.

Five Talents has been working with mothers in South Sudan for over ten years to promote peace and empower sustainable community development. Learn more about the Journey of Hope and how you can make a difference for the people of South Sudan.

A Mother's Hope: The Power of the Gospel

In the midst of hunger, conflict, and a refugee crisis, mothers in South Sudan are struggling to survive and care for their children. Harriet Baka leads the largest women's ministry in South Sudan. In this emotional appeal she shares how the gospel motivates moms to meet with Jesus and share the love of God with those in desperate need.

Five Talents has been working with mothers in South Sudan for over ten years to promote peace and empower sustainable community development. Learn more about the Journey of Hope and how you can make a difference for the people of South Sudan.

The Journey towards Peace: Transforming the Future of South Sudan

Building peace in a nation devastated by war seems almost impossible. But in some areas of South Sudan, peace has already taken root and communities once divided are working together to build a brighter future.

 Local churches and community savings are playing a key role in forgiveness, reconciliation, and community development.

When the elders of Lietnohm were deciding how to name their community bank, they chose "Amat Wuot", which means "a union of communities" in the local Dinka dialect.  

In a town once razed by fighting, the community bank has become the focal point for unity and growth. "We are kinsmen, and this bank will bring us together," said Vincent Bol Yak, Sudan People's Liberation Movement Secretary Gorgrial East County. After more than seven years, Yak's statement remains true. 

Amat Wuot was the first community-owned bank ever established in South Sudan. Today peace continues to pervade Lietnohm. The bank's leadership is comprised of respected elders from different tribes. The members are committed to peace and to helping their community continue to improve healthcare, education, and business opportunities. 

We have found that across South Sudan there are tens of thousands of peacemakers.

Learn more about the Journey of Hope in South Sudan.

Special thanks to our program partners. This video features Harun Mutuma, South Sudan Country Director with World Concern.

Community Banking in South Sudan

Across South Sudan, many communities lack access to banks and financial services of any kind.

Beginning with a savings group model, Five Talents has helped to establish three community owned banks and branches in South Sudan, serving thousands of residents with access to secure savings, opportunities for business development, and emergency loans. This video highlights the opening of South Sudan Community Bank in Kuajok.

Learn more about community savings in South Sudan.

Hunger and Hope in South Sudan

Earlier this year, up to half of the population of South Sudan faced extreme food shortages and the possibility of famine. By empowering communities with tools and local resources, Five Talents is equipping entrepreneurs in in the areas where we work to fight hunger. These entrepreneurs are now providing for their families and feeding their communities, building peace and strong communities.

Empowering the Vulnerable Poor

Five Talents empowers the poor in South Sudan and developing countries around the world with access to savings groups, financial literacy, mentorship, and business development. This video features an interview from Five Talents Program Coordinator, John Chol, in Juba and footage from Malakal Refugee Savings Groups and the South Sudan Community Bank in Lietnhom: "Our people will not die of hunger again."

 Support Five Talents' mission to fight poverty, create jobs and transform lives with innovative financial inclusion and training programs. Help us expand our programs to save lives and create opportunities in other areas of South Sudan. Make a donation today!

Meet Harriet Baka

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"I am based in Juba, but my life daily is in the grassroots with the vulnerable women and children."

As the Coordinator for Mother's Union, Harriet visits churches and communities across the country to help women provide for their families and become advocates for peace.

"According to the culture, women did not go to school and then coupled with the conflicts it has become horrible for women."

In South Sudan, 84% of women never attended school and never learned to read and write. By starting with literacy lessons and then financial literacy and business training, Mother's Union and Five Talents have helped over 16,000 women learn to read and write.

Bringing women together to learn is the first step towards empowerment. Once they develop basic skills, then they form community savings groups and begin to mobilize local resources for business development. To date more than 13,000 new businesses have been created.

Working closely with churches and local communities is key to Five Talents work in South Sudan.

As Harriet explained, "When the community does not understand what it is all about, they cannot own it -they cannot accept it."

However, when communities are actively involved in leadership, development and implementation, they take ownership and they work hard to protect and develop the programs. This is one reason why community savings has become a key tool for peace building in South Sudan.

In a country that has been devastated by hunger and war, Harriet Baka has been a tireless champion for peace and development.

Learn more about The Journey of Hope in South Sudan.

What Community Banking Means for the Poorest Communities

Over 2 billion adults around the world are unbanked. Community banks create opportunity and bring stability to vulnerable communities who may otherwise not have access to any financial services. 

Five Talents helps to establish savings groups and community banks in some of the most remote and marginalized areas of the world. Even the poorest members of a society can own shares in a community bank. In this video, Programs Director, Suzanne Middleton, reflects on the latest community bank in Kuajok, South Sudan.

Learn more about how community savings creates economic opportunity for the poor.

Celebrating Transformation in Burundi: The Power of Community Savings

Five Talents serves over 30,000 members of community savings groups across Burundi. Membership in these groups means access to financial literacy; secure savings; and business, development, and emergency loans. Eighty percent of members are women and most are single mothers who use their savings and business income to provide education, healthcare, and nutritious food for their children.

Discover how families are building small businesses and a brighter future for their communities: