Under the supervision of the Copyright Society of Malawi’s (Cosoma) Integrated Arts Development, artists have formed a Saving and Credit Cooperative (Sacco).
The Arts Sacco is aimed at improving their saving culture and easy access to credit.
This is against the background that the country’s artists have been struggling financially, a condition which was hindering their personal and career advancements.
Their condition was worsened by the fact that most of them struggle to access credit from commercial banks to undertake a particular arts project such as organising music shows.
As a result, most artists fail to carry out their artistic projects such as music recording and marketing. They even struggle in times of eventualities such as sickness and death.
Arts Sacco manager Rachael Chasweka described the initiative, which has been implemented under government’s Integrated Arts Development programme, as good for the creative industry in the country
“It’s a recovery plan which seeks to improve economic status of artists in the country thereby promoting their saving culture and access to credit facility,” said Chasweka.
She said the initiative is run by artists that are members of Cosoma’s 10 rightsholder associations which include the Book Publishers Association of Malawi (Bpam), the Malawi Writers Union (Mawu), the Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM), the Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam), the National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) and Photographers Association of Malawi (Photama).
It also carters for the members’ spouses.
Upon joining, each member is required to buy a minimum share of K5 000 (about $6.8) and a membership fee of K1 000 (about $1.3) before starting to save with K2 000 (about $2.7) as a minimum fee.
According to Chasweka, the goal driving this programme is to ensure that artists are financially stable and able to utilize the Sacco to stimulate their career growth.
The advantage is that members will be allowed to access credit double their savings.
She said currently the Arts Sacco has over 200 members.
“We are hoping to more artists will come on board soon after we roll out campaigns to raise awareness of the initiative,” said Chasweka.
Some artists have since described the initiative as helpful.
“I believe this is helpful initiative looking at financial struggles artists go through in the country. This is will promote saving culture and access to credit which artists will be using to run their projects,” said a member of the cooperative Ephraim Zonda of The Great Angels Choir. n