We have started a microloan scheme where women’s groups formed in their communities can apply for a loan to start up their own small businesses. The women themselves assess whether they think a woman would be able to pay back the loan and then they recommend her from their group to receive a loan.
Ghana Permaculture Network staff running the scheme travel to each community regularly – and this saves the women having to travel to town to access credit. Women can also deposit their savings with the loan scheme to keep them safe, acting like a bank. Each woman has a a paying-in book and deposits and withdrawals are recorded in this and in the main ledger kept by Ghana Permaculture Network staff.
At the same time as “opening the bank” we also give trainings on food and nutrition, how to run a business, home gardening and other topics as the need is perceived (by us and by the community), in this way slowly introducing permaculture concepts. We provide help with seeds and other materials, and as each group develops, we sometimes propose that they set up a tree nursery in the local school, with us again providing material support.
You could also call this the Peoples Permaculture Bank.