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Lack of access to financial services said to impede communities

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CedisThe lack of access to viable financial services is depriving some communities of the opportunities to build cash assets through savings to eradicate poverty.

The situation also hinders the ability of people to raise financial capital to initiate and expand businesses, thus contributing to their exclusion and poor living conditions.

Mr. Titus Kantubogi, the Upper West Regional Project Coordinator for CARE International, made this known at a community durbar to mark the end of the second phase of the Bank on Change (BoC) Project, at Owlo in the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa District.

The BoC project is a three-year joint effort between Plan Ghana and CARE Ghana in partnership with Barclays Bank. It is being implemented in six regions; the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Greater Accra, Central and Volta regions , covering about 70 per cent rural and 30 per cent peri-urban areas.

Mr. Kantubogi said the joint effort between Plan Ghana and CARE Ghana, in collaboration with nine grassroots non-governmental organisations, was designed to improve the quality of life and the well-being of 63,000 members in 2,520 Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs).

At least 75 per cent of beneficiaries are women.

The CARE International Project Coordinator said he was happy to report that by the end of phase one in March 2012, BoC Ghana had an outreach of 3,142 VSLAs with 79,497 members.

An achievement of 26 per cent increase in the original target was made with approximately 80 per cent of the beneficiaries being women, while the capacities of 11 local partners were strengthened with about 150 community volunteers trained and deployed, he said.

About two per cent of the members were also youth and a number of VSL groups were also linked to four Barclays Bank branches.

Mr. Kantubogi pointed out that the second phase of the BoC project which started in 2013 was to allow an expansion into new areas that needed financial services in eight regions, including the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, and Eastern.

“This phase targeted 54,000 people comprising 32,000 new youth and 22,000 existing members who will be trained to establish 2,350 Youth Savings and Loans Associations (YSLAs) as well as deepening the impact and consolidating the gains made in the phase one,” he said.

The BoC project seeks to create opportunities for both formal and informal sectors for the next generation to develop their entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, and life skills in order to improve their prospects for employment.

He announced that at the end of the project all the targets were met and that in some cases even more was achieved.

Mr. Kantubogi appealed to district assemblies, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to adopt those groups and community volunteers and youth community volunteers and use them as channels of delivering development interventions to their communities.

Source: GNA

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