Anessa Kaloris, a graduate from the Australian Government funded TVET Centre coordinated business management training is now using the skills gained to help the women of her village manage their finances. 23-year-old Annessa runs a savings and loans association group called Gortien which means ‘unity’ in the local language of north east Malekula. In the six months since Gortien was established the membership has grown to include 40 members, all mammas from Annessa’s village Pinalum.
Offering an interest rate 20% lower than what the current microfinance lenders in Vanuatu charge, Gortien’s members deposit the money they make from their small businesses twice a month and then can borrow money from the combined savings account. One condition of the Gortien’s loans is that members can only borrow money to invest in their business and improve their lives.
TVET Centre Manager Marian Loughman has noticed the increase in roadside markets and canteens as a result of the village-based finance. “This is a great example of how training just one person with business skills in a community can benefit a whole village. There’s so much more economic activity in north east Malekula now that the mammas have a secure means to save and invest in their small businesses.” The TVET Centre is also planning to provide training in horticulture and sewing to the members of Gortien to further consolidate their small business success.