MÁLAGA, Spain, Nov 29, 2011 (IPS) - On the first Sunday of every month, Abdoulaye Fall, from Senegal, meets a group of people in Barcelona, to contribute money to a common fund or to take out a loan. This is one of 60 self-financed communities in Spain, an alternative to traditional banking systems that is having a powerful social effect.
"I'll contribute 20 euros (27 dollars)," says one of the 15 Senegalese members of the Axell (which means "providence" in Wolof, the dominant language in Senegal) self-financing community (SFC). "I'll put in 100 (133 dollars)," says the person sitting next to him. The accountant writes down the amounts and the treasurer puts the money into a box, from which loans approved by the meeting will be made later.
SFCs are community financial organisations in which members are at once owners of the capital and loan customers, borrowers as well as lenders of credit, with a flat interest rate of one percent in most groups.
Fall told IPS that the communities grant loans to fill small urgent or unforeseen needs, such as a trip, a health emergency or payment of a fine, and they are not devoted to creating businesses.Read the rest at Inter Press Service
Self-Financed Communities "A Tool for Building Trust"
By Inés Benítez