VSL Scale-Up Project

VSL Scale-Up Project

Scaling-up Buisness Skills Development

The Village Savings and Loan Scale-up Project aims to improve the business skills development training currently offered to VSL group members. CARE Rwanda is also working to link VSL groups with the formal financial sector in Rwanda through similar projects. The main objective of the VSL Scale-up project is to improve the livelihood options, social capital, and financial capabilities of poor Rwandans by facilitating their inclusion in VSL groups.

CARE introduced the VSL approach to Rwanda in 1999 and is the largest promoter of savings groups in the country. CARE is now working with Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) to scale-up the VSL approach nationwide. The VSL scale-up project is focused in 17 districts that do not currently have access to major VSL programs. Specifically, CARE is focused on further expanding services to cover more of Rwanda's vulnerable populations. The VSL Scale-up project targets more than 300,000 poor, financially exculded adults in rural and peri-urban areas in Rwanda, particularly focusing on women. 

CARE's experience around the world has shown that the economic empowerment of women can be a powerful force for positive change in families and communities, and that women can be especially effective at exploiting the opportunities VSL provides to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Including men in VSL groups is also important to promote their support and engagement and improve understanding of the importance of the VSL approach. 


  • Include more than 300,000 members, 75% of whom are women, through the formation of 12,000 new VSL groups.
  • Further include 150,000 new members in 6000 additional VSL groups formed after the project through 1000 fee-for-service Village Agent community trainers. 
  • Demonstrate the feasibility for further low-cost scale-up of VSL across the country.


For further information, please see the attached document. To learn more about the models used for this project, please see the Models page.

Project Achievements

UWIMANA Francine has been a VSL member since 1999. "My group is in the district of Gatsibo and is a member of the Twisungane Intergroupment. We are now 22 people in my group. Only a few left since the beginning and one person died. When CARE staff came to sensitize us back in 1999, we were already organized into an agricultural association. After we were trained on the VSL methodology, we started to save 50 RWF ($0.1) per week, not more than that. Initially, everyone saved the same amount of money. Now we can easily save 200 RWF ($0.4) per week."

"When I started, I was really poor. My husband was killed during the genocide and my children had abandoned school because we could not afford it. I have five children and I care for two of my sister's children; she also died during the genocide. The first time I borrowed from the VSL group, I asked for 2,000 RWF ($4). With that money, I cultivated my plot of land and got a very good harvest."

Throughout its multiple years of service, the VSL Scale-Up project has seen a staggering increase in VSL members and VSL groups created. The VSL project's success has helped thousands of Rwandans (particularly Rwandan women in rural areas) experience greater economic success and literacy. There are numerous stories of individuals having the ability to start their own businesses and increase their current businesses through VSL groups. 

Project Info

  • Start Date: 2013 May
  • Donor: Access to Finance Rwanda
  • Program: Vulnerable Women Program and Orphans and Vulnerable Children Program
  • District: Burera, Gakenke, Gatsibo, Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Karongi, Kayonza, Kirehe, Muhanga, Musanze , Ngoma, Ngororero, Nyabihu, Nyagatare, Rubavu, Rulindo , Rwamagana
  • Number of beneficiaries: 337,376
  • Partners: ADTS, AEE, APIB, EAR, Tubibe Amahoro, and AJPRODOHO


Models used:

  • VSL Model