Batanai Savings Group

Trust Nyathi secretary of the Batanai Savings Group, reads minutes from the previous club meeting in Chidhaka Village in Gokwe, central Zimbabwe.

 Image credit: Tendai Marima / All We Can. 

Strengthening individuals and households 

In Chidhaka Village, located in the heart of Gokwe, central Zimbabwe, a remarkable initiative called the Batanai Savings Group is making a significant impact on the lives of its members. With the support of MeDRA (Methodist Development and Relief Agency), a prominent microfinance and development resource agency, and their funding partner, All We Can (UK), the group has not only established a platform for savings and loans but has also incorporated health teachings into its activities. This blog post explores the inspiring work of All We Can and MeDRA and sheds light on the positive outcomes achieved by the Batanai Savings Group.

The Birth of Batanai Savings Group:

In 2020, the Batanai Savings Group was established with the aim of empowering individuals in Chidhaka Village to enhance their economic prospects. Through the collective effort and collaboration of the community, this initiative has provided a platform for members to save money, access small loans, and develop their entrepreneurial skills. With limited access to formal financial institutions, the group has become a vital lifeline for many individuals, enabling them to fund various ventures that contribute to their economic stability and resilience.

Beyond financial wellbeing

Recognizing the importance of holistic development, the Batanai Savings Group has gone beyond financial matters and embraced health learning as an integral part of their activities. Participatory Health and Hygiene Education (PHHE) is being implemented in communities, with a focus on teaching best practices on health and hygiene. Health clubs, facilitated by health masters, provide practical and theoretical lessons to promote behaviour change, including handwashing, proper toilet usage, and hygienic food handling practices. This comprehensive approach to health education has resulted in improved health and hygiene practices within the community.

Support from MeDRA and All We Can

MeDRA, the Methodist Development and Relief Agency, has played a pivotal role in supporting the Batanai Savings Group. In 2021, MeDRA organised workshops to provide guidance on formalising the group’s operations and ensuring its long-term sustainability. With their expertise and experience in microfinance, MeDRA has helped the group establish sound financial practices, implement effective loan mechanisms, and develop strategies for growth. Additionally, All We Can, a UK-based charity organisation and funding partner of MeDRA, has been instrumental in providing financial support and resources to strengthen the group’s activities.

Small Loans, Big Impact

The Batanai Savings Group follows a model through which members can borrow small amounts of money to invest in income-generating activities. These microloans have proved to be transformative for many individuals, allowing them to start small ventures such as vegetable ordering for resale or poultry keeping. By providing access to capital and promoting entrepreneurship, the group empowers its members to generate income, support their families, and break the cycle of poverty.

Being community-led

The story of the Batanai Savings Group in Chidhaka Village highlights the profound impact that community-led initiatives can have on individuals’ lives. With the combined support of MeDRA and All We Can, this group has not only established a platform for financial growth but also integrated health teachings to promote well-being within the community. By empowering individuals and fostering self-reliance, the Batanai Savings Group exemplifies the transformative potential of collective efforts and demonstrates the importance of organisations like All We Can and MeDRA in creating sustainable change.

What is the role of All We Can?

MeDRA, the Methodist Development and Relief Agency, has been in partnership with All We Can since 2016. All We Can provides MeDRA with core operational support, capacity development, assistance with disaster risk reduction (DRR), and support with Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL). Through this collaboration, MeDRA has been able to extend its support to initiatives like the Batanai Savings Group in Chidhaka Village. With their combined expertise and resources, MeDRA and All We Can have created a strong foundation for empowering communities and fostering sustainable development in Zimbabwe.

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