Sharing the Load After Conflict: Villagers Start a Revolving Loan Fund

Social issues

Notes to broadcasters

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Land, livestock, roads and services are often destroyed during armed conflict or natural disasters. Farmers need to know what kind of action they can take to rebuild their farms and businesses. This program is about a community of farmers who started a revolving loan fund in order to rebuild their lives. It is based on real experiences of refugees. The information also applies to other emergency situations that do not involve refugees. Adapt the script to suit your local situation.

You may also wish to add to this program by re-using Farm Radio Network scripts 49-2, 57-3 and 57-4 about revolving loan funds and micro-credit schemes. In addition, share stories and conduct interviews about how local rural people collaborate in times of crisis.

You may want to produce another program that follows the progress of the villagers in this script. For example, you could develop and produce a radio drama in which the villagers form a farmers’ association to pool their money to open a supply store. This way, they can buy supplies in large quantities, and at low prices, and the store provides villagers with a convenient source of farm inputs. After a few more discussions, the villagers might decide to open up the store and share the profits.



: Here in [region/district] we’ve been hit hard by [conflict/natural disaster]. Many farmers have lost crops and livestock. Recovering from this crisis is easier when people share the load. Today’s program is about farmers working together to rebuild their lives and support their families. We’ll learn from them about forming a group to start a revolving loan fund.


: Amina is a farmer from a small village in East Africa. After a war in her country, Amina and many other villagers returned home from a long stay in a refugee camp. What they found back home made them angry. And sad. Their homes and crops were destroyed. Roads were bad and there was no transportation.

The villagers needed to start again. They needed livestock, tools, seeds and fertilizer before they could farm again. But poor transportation and lack of local services hurt their efforts.

Amina was now a widow with three children to feed. She needed tools and seeds so she could start planting again. But tools and seeds were expensive and she didn’t have much money. If she could just get the money to buy these things, she could begin to farm again.

Amina applied for a bank loan, but the bank refused because she did not own a house or any land. Amina went home and cried. But the next day, when the sun was rising, she knew she could not bear to see her children suffer another day. She had an idea.

Amina invited a group of villagers to her home. They all shared their dismay about their homes and land. A few others had also tried to get a loan and were refused. This is what Amina told them:

Woman’s voice
: I may have a solution. We all need money so we can start farming again. Here is my idea – we will form a group to start a loan fund. It will be something like operating our own bank. Every month we’ll all contribute a small amount of money to the fund. The money goes into one pot – that is the loan fund! And each month, all the money collected is given to one person in the group. That person can buy whatever she needs. The next month, another person receives the money in the fund, until everyone has a chance to receive a loan.

: Amina’s neighbour asked, “What if someone cannot make a payment one month?”

Woman’s voice
: Perhaps someone else can pay that person’s dues until she can pay them back. I’ll make a simple written agreement that we all sign. Someone else should keep a record of contributions. Everyone must be honest to make this plan work.

: Fifteen villagers agreed to try Amina’s idea. One woman used her loan to buy a cow. Another used her money to hire a truck to take her produce to market. Another woman bought some hens. When it was Amina’s turn, she bought tools and seeds. In just one year, the villagers saw real improvements in their farms, and in their lives.


: Would a revolving loan fund work in your community? If you think it might be useful, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Start with a meeting to discuss the idea. Make sure that everyone can commit to making the monthly payments.
  • Choose a leader to coordinate the project. A leader should be someone who is trustworthy, motivates the other members, and acts responsibly.
  • You will need a written agreement with terms everyone agrees to. Each person should sign the agreement and get a copy of it.
  • One person will have to collect the money every month and distribute it to the person who is receiving the loan for that month.
  • Keep in mind that some members will have a need for the money at certain times of the year. For example, someone who wants to grow a new crop will need the money for seeds during the planting season.

– END –


  • Contributed by Belinda Bruce, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Reviewed by Paul Ryder, Research Information Officer, and Dr. Dawn Chatty, University Lecturer in Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

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