These are the keys to a lockbox where 12 members of a savings group in Mozambique are investing their earnings.

With the return on their investments, they are able to make basic improvements to their homes, like a freezer, an oven, a table and chairs, bowls and plates, and a roof that doesn’t leak.

Here’s how it works:

There are no banks on the isolated island of Ibo, Mozambique. Without basic banking services like savings accounts and loans, it’s hard to invest in the future. With the help of Aga Khan Foundation Canada, members of this community connected through a savings group.

Once a week, they meet to save their earnings in a lockbox. The box is locked with three locks, and the keys are held by three members. Each member saves about 200 Meticals (about five dollars) per week. Their individual savings are tracked with stamps in a deposit book.

Members have the option to borrow from the accumulated savings, which they pay back with 10% interest. Once a year, the group does a “cash out” – every member withdraws their savings, plus interest earned.

With their savings and added interest, they are able to make significant purchases to improve their lives. And then the savings cycle begins again.

Amade was able to fix the roof on the home he shares with his mother.

Support to savings groups like this – one of 864 groups that reached a total of 8,271 women and men in remote villages in northern Mozambique – was part of a wider program to improve food security and nutrition, increase incomes and economic opportunities, and help farmers address the negative impacts of a changing climate.

It reached approximately 35,000 households in seven districts of Cabo Delgado province, which has some of the highest poverty rates in the country.

Watch Stories from Cabo Delgado, our series of four short videos that show how individuals like Amade are building a better future for their families and communities, thanks to Canadian support.

To learn more about how AKFC is helping to break the cycle of poverty, subscribe to our newsletter.

What you can do:

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Inspire others to contribute and support development in rural areas in Mozambique.

To learn more about support in rural areas, visit