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Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA)

Nigeria has witnessed several conflicts revolving around political, economic, religious, and ethnic triggers. Conflict and violent events in North Central Nigeria have maintained a threat to development in the region. The crisis that occurred in Jos, Plateau state in 2001 and 2010, leading to the destruction of properties and loss of lives has remained a reference point in Nigerian history. Each time crisis occurs in Jos, Bukuru community has always been volatile with a high rate of violence and retaliation, especially between Christian and Muslim communities.

Christian Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria with the support of Tearfund Nigeria, implemented a project on conflict prevention and response for sustainable peace and development with a focus on Village Savings and Loans Association among Muslims and Christians. The project is aimed at enabling religious and community leaders to save, reduce poverty and build trust leading to sustainable peace. Two savings and loans groups were set up in the two faith communities of Bukuru and Gyel, Jos South Local Government Area. Twenty-five people in each faith community jointly made savings and took small loans from those savings when there was sufficient money and repaid in 12 weeks. Group members saved through the purchase of between 1 – 5 shares at every meeting. As at 25th September 2020, Bukuru community saved 153,900 Naira, Gyel community saved 93,600 Naira. Consequently, poverty and financial vulnerability have been reduced. Friendships and social interactions have also significantly improved, leading to the promotion of peace and trust between members of the faith communities. Religious institutions, communities, and youth groups can bring transformation to the community through socio-economic engagements. Religious communities and youth groups should find creative ways to build more stable households, communities, and states.

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