How savings groups are helping Jessie’s community
Jessie is the leader of a savings group in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea – an island where most families rely on cocoa farming for their incomes.
Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this savings group has provided Jessie and many other women like her with numeracy and financial literacy training.
As a result, Jessie and her group members have found a way to make an income on top of their regular savings. By learning to graft and clone cocoa seedlings, they have created an ongoing source of income, meaning greater profits for each participant.
Jessie believes that women in the community have learned fundamental skills through the project. “Before we had the training, we didn’t know how to save the money,” she says. “The group members, they learn something: how to look after their money.”
With their financial skills, many women have also started their own small businesses, selling bananas and greens at the market and at canteens.
So far, the women have saved over A$1,700. They’re using their increased incomes to build new houses for their families and pay school fees, but they have many plans for the future.
“We are hoping … that when we sell these [cocoa] clones that we can get money,” says Jessie, “and [with] the money that we get, we can improve our community.”