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Savings-led and community managed approaches have been seen as effective ways of
extending financial services to the low income households and in some situations acting as
substitute for the more ambitious Microfinance institutions. One such approach is the Village
Savings and Loans Schemes, an approach developed by CARE in Niger which builds on a
Rotational Savings and Credit Accumulation model commonly used by women in many rural
communities. This study sought to explore the impact of Village Savings and Loans Schemes
on the wellbeing of Orphans and Vulnerable children in Kisumu West District of Kisumu
County - Kenya. The study looked at the various components of Village Savings and Loans
Schemes and how these affect the wellbeing of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. The study
assumed that improved status of an Orphans and Vulnerable Children depends on economic
and socio political empowerment resulting from access to both financial and non financial
services provided by Village Savings and Loans schemes. The study adopted a descriptive
survey design with quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection. Using
probability and non-probability sampling techniques, a sample of 322 respondents was drawn
from women Village Savings and Loans Schemes participants and at least one child under
their care, aged 10-18 year. On the qualitative aspect, the study employed in-depth interviews
to obtain information to help understand respondent’s views and experiences. Data analysis
entailed the use of Statistical Package of Social Sciences to run frequency distribution.
Findings from both qualitative and quantitative data collection were fed into each other and
were later triangulated with the findings from review of documentation on wellbeing of
Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Study findings were presented in tables. The study found
that the financial services had positive effects on orphans and vulnerable children.98.4% of
the participants indicated that they accessed savings and credit while 76% indicated that they
accessed insurance and all these went into supporting the needs of children under their care.
from their schemes 76%. 98.4% of the participants also indicated that the non financial
services such as trainings, mentorship and goods which they received from their schemes
supported them to effectively provide for the children. The study also established that
although there was some slight engagement of orphans and vulnerable children and their
caregivers in economic activities, this did not significantly compromise on the wellbeing of
the children. Only Less than 15% of the children had left school so that they could contribute
to family income. Participation of the caregivers in savings and loaning activities was also
found to contribute to physical, mental, spiritual and social growth and development of
children under their care which in turn prepared the children for better lives in the future.92%
of the children indicated that their caregivers responded to their physical, mental as well as
spiritual needs effectively and this prepared them to live a better independent life in the
future. The study concluded by making recommendations that Village Savings and Loans
model should be promoted as a way of extending financial services to the poor, especially in
rural setting where penetration of formal financial sector is still low. Participation in VSL
schemes in this study has made significant contribution to improving access to saving and
loan services and initiation and growth of income generating activities for the women which
in turns promotes the well being of children under their care. This should therefore be
promoted by the government and other development agencies as a way of alleviating poverty
and promoting well being of OVC in rural settings. The study proposes that further research
be carried out to determine potential for linkages of these savings and loans schemes to the
formal financial sector.