Net-Works Community Banks: Donna’s Story
By Surshti Patel, ZSL |
This is the second in a series of three blogs telling the stories of members of the local community banks that Net-Works has helped to set up, from one of my trips to the Philippines earlier this year.
This is the story of Donna, an amazing woman whose enthusiasm for community banking and the benefits it provides is infectious.
Donna Liza Palma, aged 36, lives in the village of Bay-ang, Nothern Iloilo. She is a member of her local community bank (known as a CoMSCA), which was set up by Net-Works. Donna has been spreading the word about CoMSCAs and their benefits across her community. She’s a real community champion and the news has spread like wildfire! Her enthusiasm and self-belief in the group is contagious. She’s been actively encouraging others to set up their own groups to help manage their finances.
Donna has been working alongside her sister, who is one of the local Village Agents, trained by ZSL to facilitate the set-up of new CoMSCAs in their community. There are currently 32 trained agents in the Philippines, and 88 active CoMSCAs.
Donna is a mother of three. Her husband works on a commercial fishing boat and is often away for a few months at a time. Donna was previously very dependent on her husband to send her money when she needed it. In times of emergency, or during festivals she had no guarantee that she would be able to find money quickly. Since joining the CoMSCA she has found it much easier to become financially independent and make decisions.
“It is much easier for me to pay bills and buy food. The CoMSCA is a big help. My husband is very happy that I joined it too, he worries less about me and our children.”
With financial support from the CoMSCA, Donna invested in buying and installing a water pump. This allows her family to have access to water for drinking, cleaning and cooking. Donna lets the entire community come and use it, whenever they need.
“Last year, I used my share of the CoMSCA savings to buy a mobile phone for both of my sons and I took my family into the city to celebrate Christmas.”
CoMSCA’s are a fantastic tool for empowering people and bringing communities together. But as with any tool, they are nothing without strong implementers. Here in the Philippines we have some of the finest, like Donna.
Click here to read the first blog in this series: Net-Works Community Banks: Nonilon’s Story