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In the heart of Ibumila village, a group of 22 women has come together to form Tuinuane Group. Supported by the CARE-WWF Alliance, it is one of 44 Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) groups in the area. While some members rely on subsistence farming or casual labor, others work full-time in the home. But through their collective efforts, they have achieved more than they ever thought possible.
Since August 2021, Tuinuane Group has accumulated a total savings of $1,397 (3,500,000 Tshs) and established a social fund of $100 (250,000 Tshs). It has also provided loans totaling $1,277 (3,200,000 Tshs). But the success of the group is not limited to the money. Thanks to VSLA trainings, group members have grown socially, economically, and emotionally. They have shared ideas on managing home budgets, discussed their children's nutrition, and supported each other through life's challenges.
After learning about the benefits of collective investment, the group decided to start a tree nursery program. They pooled their resources and contributed $175 (440,000 Tshs) to purchase avocado seeds and polyethylene tubes from the Tanzania Farmers Association. They returned the remaining funds to the group. Currently, they have 2,700 avocado seedlings in their nursery, which they expect to sell soon. The group is also requesting further support from CARE-WWF Alliance in the form of business development trainings.
For Ruth Chavaligino, being a member of Tuinuane Group has been life-changing.
"The most significant achievement I have acquired from being a group member is getting acquainted with older people who offer me special advice that has helped me prosper economically and socially," Chavaligino said.
The group has also brought positive changes to their households, thanks to the knowledge and skills they acquired from educational farmer field days organized by the Alliance. Some members have ordered potato and common bean seeds, which have yielded excellent returns.
Looking ahead, Tuinuane Group has ambitious plans. It aims to establish a tailoring academy to support young girls who cannot pursue further education.
"As a group, I believe this will be our greatest success and will benefit the organization as a whole," said Emanuel Mbwilo. With their collective spirit and dedication, there is no doubt that the members of Tuinuane Group will continue to achieve great things and build a better future for themselves and their community.