The Village Development Fund (VDF) concept was developed as a consequence of discussion with management and program staff of WEMIHS, where they expressed the need to prepare poor people to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens; believing that well trained, employed, and engaged people possess the power to solve the toughest problems facing communities. Recognizing that no one sector of society has the resources or expertise to effectively address the myriad challenges facing today’s society, WEMIHS intended to constantly mobilize a community of businesses, government departments and civil society organizations – each committed to developing the power and promise of poor people.
The goal of VDF is to realize financially independent persons, generating income and contributing to society’s future prosperity.
The VDF is based on an approach that empowers participating communities to actively identify, implement and manage their own service delivery mechanism. This concept is aimed at accessing the poorest members of society with high quality and effective financial and related services that meet their unique needs. It is designed to harness community structures and build upon existing informal accumulating savings and credit association (ASCA) system; enabling participants to establish, own, control and manage their own service intermediary facility.
Its establishment involves organizing the community into appropriate structures from the group level to the district level, mobilizing financial resources, managing finances with least exposure to risk and allocating finances responsibly. Internally financial resources are mobilized from participating community members, through their groups. There are plans to mobilize external financial resources from private sector corporate bodies, individuals and the public sector to boost the kitty and allow many vulnerable communities to participate.
Training on entrepreneurship and managing community organization are standards-based curricula that are employed to reinforce existing knowledge through real world hands-on activities. Participants work individually or in teams to start and run their own small businesses and learn the basics of money management, saving, investing and entrepreneurship.