VSLA training guides

 

Two types of guide are included in this section:

  • Simplified Field Officer's Training Guide 2.1  2019. This manual is our most recent and is Sharia compliant, but can also be used by groups that charge interest. It uses a much simplified loan record-keeping system. English and French.
  • Field Officer's and Village Agent's Training Guide 1.05 and 1.06 2015. These are basically the same, except that 1.05 is in Kiswahili, Portuguese and Spanish, while 1.06 is in English and French. 

Earlier versions of the guides (including an early Arabic version) are available upon request to hugh@vsla.net

Simplified Field Officer's training guide 2.1

These manuals arose out of fieldwork in the West Bank of Palestine, where we developed a Sharia compliant model. We then discovered significant advantages in this model, which permitted loans to be taken and repaid at every meeting and makes it much simpler to calculate loan balances. We then realised that we could apply these benefits to the previous 1.06 version, also for groups that were charging interest, thereby simplifying training and the skills needed by Record-keepers. These manuals are revised from previous versions in the following ways:

  • All interest (if charged) during the loan period is added to the amount borrowed at the time of loan disbursement. The total is then paid down over the loan period, whenever and in what amount the borrower decides. This is done within fixed time periods of 1, 2, or 3 months. Tables are provided in the manuals to make this a simple process, which avoids the risk of calculation errors.
  • Because interest is added up-front, there is no need to re-calculate interest at monthly loan meetings.  Thus loans can be disbursed and repaid in ALL group meetings, which means that there is no need for a lengthy monthly loan meeting.
  • Because record-keeping is simpler, the model is particularly suited to areas of low literacy. This development takes the VSLA methodology closer to standard traditional practice in Africa, but with a strong focus on governance, procedures and financial systems.
  • The same manual can be used by both Field Officers and Village Agents. Although the manual is nominally to be used by a Field Officer, it can be used by a Village Agent in just the same way.
  • All references to the SAVIX MIS are removed, since these are now covered in a dedicated SAVIX MIS 2.0 manual, available under the 'Management Information System' page on this website.

Important note: If you decide to use this model, please contact VSL Associates (hugh@vsla.net), in order to have us adapt the service charge (interest) calculation tables to your country. This is needed because some currencies (such as the Tanzania shilling to the $US) have very large numbers, while others (such as the Ghanaian Cedi) have much smaller numbers. There is no charge for this service.

 

Download
Simplified Field Officer's Training Guide – Sharia compliant - English
Version: 2.1 update
Publication date: April 17th 2020
VSLA Field Officer Guide 2.1 English.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 994.1 KB
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Guide de formation simplifié pour l'agent de terrain - Conforme à la charia - Français
Version: 2.1
Publication date: September 2019
VSLA Field Officer Guide 2.1 French.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.0 MB

Field Officer's & Village Agent's training guides 1.05-1.06

These manuals were written in 2015 and remained more or less unchanged until 2019, when the simplified 2.1 manuals were developed. 

 

Trainers who work in the field are:

  • Field Officers and their Supervisors who are normally paid programme staff. They are based in the field, usually at the centre of a large area and they create groups and also recruit, train and supervise Village Agents. 
  • Village Agents are people who are usually NOT project employees and who work in the local communities where they live. They may receive a stipend, or be paid by the VSLAs themselves, or they may just be volunteers.

The difference between versions 1.05 and 1.06 is that 1.06 has a more complete loan record-keeping system, which permits a monthly total to be calculated, comprised of principal and interest, whereas 1.05 does not. Both manuals require loans to be taken and repaid on a monthly basis.

 

1.05 is in English, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese and Spanish, while 1.06 is only in English and French.

 

Download
Field Officer's Training Guide - English
Version: 1.06
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Field_Officers-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.1 MB
Download
Field Officer's Training Guide - French
Version: 1.06
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Field_Officers-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.3 MB
Download
Field Officer's Training Guide - Kiswahili
Version: 1.05
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Field_Officers-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1'013.8 KB
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Field Officer's Training Guide - Portuguese
Version: 1.05
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Field_Officers-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.1 MB
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Field Officer's Training Guide - Spanish
Version: 1.05
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Field_Officers-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.2 MB
Download
Village Agent's Training Guide - English
Version: 1.06
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Village_Agents-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 983.2 KB
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Village Agent's Training Guide - French
Version: 1.06
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Village_Agents-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.0 MB
Download
Village Agent's Training Guide - Kiswahili
Version: 1.05
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Village_Agents-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1'015.3 KB
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Village Agent's Training Guide - Portuguese
Version: 1.05
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Village_Agents-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 987.1 KB
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Village Agent's Training Guide - Spanish
Version: 1.05
Publication Date: December 2015
VSL_Programme_Guide_for_Village_Agents-V
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.0 MB


VSL Federation training guide

Village Savings and Loan Federations are 'groups of groups'. They consist of clusters of between five to ten VSLAs. Their principal function is to mobilise additional savings from individual VSLAs, so that any VSLA in the Federation can request a six-month loan to increase the value of its loan fund, when extra capital is in demand.

 

Working with Plan Tanzania, we simplified and standardised their approach to federating VSLAs, using meeting procedures and systems based closely on how things are done at the VSLA level. This has been successful, with over 250 such VSLFs, recording high rates of return and capital formation. Oxfam in Nigeria has also successfully adopted this model and forms a key part of their long-term programme strategy.

 

The manuals that we attach are in English and French and cover not only the formation and functioning of VSLFs, but changes that are needed at the level of member VSLAs in order to mobilise funds to invest in the VSLF, but also to repay loans.

 

Download
Field Officer's VSLF Training Guide - English
Version 2.3
Publication date: June 2020
VSLF Field Officer's Guide 2.1 English.p
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.1 MB
Download
Guide de formation de l’Agent de Terrain - French
Version 2.1
Publication date: Septembre 2019
VSLF Field Officer Guide 2.0 French.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.3 MB


Selection, planning & management of IGAs guide (SPM)

Many mature projects have reached a point at which they want VSLA members to think about how to select, plan and manage income-generating activities (IGAs). There are a number of training models that do this, but the SPM model, originally developed in Bangladesh by CARE, took a different approach. It differs from other models in the following ways:

  • The enterprise is understood not to be 'stand-alone', but part of the family economy in which capital and labour are moved from one activity to another as priorities dictate
  • It makes no distinction between fixed and variable costs, but bases profitability estimates on trading/manufacturing/service cycles
  • It requires careful profitability analysis but doesn't lay emphasis on complicated book-keeping

It is based on the following main modules:

  • Knowledge, skills and time availability
  • Markets and customers
  • Income: is the IGA profitable?
  • Sources of capital
  • Does it meet the need for household income in the right amount and better than alternatives?

For the moment this manual is only available in English.

Download
Selection, planning and management of IGAs (SPM) - English
Version: 1.02
Publication date: March 2018
SPM_manual_1.02_English.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.1 MB