Education, water, food security, infrastructure and healthcare are all necessary for development, but they are not sufficient. There need to be economic opportunities as well. What is the use of growing surplus crops if there is no market for them? How will education transform the lives of young people if there are no jobs for recent graduates? How can bright entrepreneurs create their own businesses if there is no capital or credit? VIP is committed to creating economic opportunities so that, with all of the necessities of life ensured, the villagers of Malawi can begin to develop themselves.
VIP works with our partner villages to create an environment that will foster economic growth. Through training, micro-finance and job creation programs VIP is creating sustainable development. One of the biggest limitations to economic growth in rural communities is a lack of credit. To help address this deficiency, VIP facilitates dozens of small groups called Village Savings and Loan associations (VSL). Each VSL consists of 12-20 participants who pool their small amounts of disposable income, until together they have saved enough to make small loans to members of the group. With the loan, budding entrepreneurs have the capital to start a business, provide services to the community and begin making money! Each member is responsible for re-paying the loan, with interest. At the end of the year, each member then receives back the amount they contributed, plus their share of the interest earned, which they can then choose to reinvest in the VSL the following year.
VIP also provides vocational training in a number of different fields, ranging from sewing and welding to harvesting honey from bee hives. The trainees that show the most aptitude are then able to set up their own businesses, selling their products and training their own staff so that they can operate independently of VIP. By providing vocational training we can empower local entrepreneurs to lift themselves and their entire communities out of poverty.