The Impact of Ebola Virus Disease on Village Savings and Loans Associations Montserrado, Margibi, Bong and Lofa Counties

The Impact of Ebola Virus Disease on Village Savings and Loans Associations Montserrado, Margibi, Bong and Lofa Counties
Dec 2014

The outbreak and subsequent spread of the ebola virus disease had catastrophic effects on the income generating capacities of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) members throughout Liberia. The impacts were multidimensional and intense and have occasioned persistent decline in the service delivery of VSLAs in regard to their financial, economic, and social responsibilities.

Of the 63 VSLA groups surveyed, more than 95% of groups reported high level of absenteeism at weekly meetings, a situation which had serious financial implication for share purchases, loan repayment and by extension, the capacity to disburse loans during the second and third quarters of 2014. The net impact of these developments was that VSLA lock boxes were empty with no investment funds for loans disbursement. Equally troubling was the concern that persistent high level of absenteeism by members would have the propensity to undermine the social cohesion, self-confidence, community recognition, and independence developed over the years by members participating in VSLA activities. All indications however registered that the commitment of VSLA members to their groups remained strong and unwavering.

From the assessment, it was found that over 90% of VSLA members were indebted to their respective groups with no immediate prospects for payment or rescheduling of payments in sight. This situation in every respect was the direct result of members’ inability to undertake meaningful income generating activities during the 2014 cropping season.