For many years, table banking has been African women’s way of contributing to the society. The simple act of making weekly or monthly monetary contributions to form a kitty from which members can borrow money has created a new wave of empowered women who not only contribute socially to the society but also economically.
Through table banking, women from different locations come together, contribute a small amount of money and loan it to each other on long term or short-term basis. All amounts of money that are placed on the table have to be borrowed back to pockets for investment and growth. When members of a table banking group meet, they return what they had previously loaned and allow other members to borrow the money. No money is set aside or saved in any account. Should money remain after all members in need have borrowed, other members are compulsorily given the money to return with interest.
The table banking culture has promoted socialism, the exchange of ideas and promotion of the wellbeing of table banking members. Women are now knowledgeable of their rights. They can invest in businesses, own properties, build their homes and educate their children. This they learn through different programs that encourage table banking and which are funded by various non-governmental organizations to specifically empower rural women. Through this seating, women empower each other on financial literacy, ways of drawing up investment plans and sourcing for business ideas. Many small-scale farmers now understand the value of agribusiness and have delved into agriculture as a source of income. These projects have been funded by capitals from table banking groups.
Low income earning women in table banking groups benefit as they learn better and balanced diets which keep them and their children healthy by preventing lifestyle diseases and malnutrition. Table banking has reduced domestic violence in many homes as women are now able to contribute to the family unit and reduce the pressure off their men.
The psychological state of the family unit is better today than it was with the absence of table banking.
Table banking is a very transparent way of operation. With members present, all moneys are placed on the table and distributed to members. Everyone can keep a record of their contribution, loans and interests and even that of other members. Members can start contributing from as little as 0.5 dollars and grow to as much as they will. Members of a table banking group usually have a common ground, they either know each other from their villages and estates, from their churches, working areas of places of similar interest. This is often emphasized as a team is only as strong as its trust that all its members will refund all borrowed monies and continue with consistent and timely contributions.