Papa-Card or Mamma-Card: Innovative way for Credit

In Zaire, the rickshaw pullers use a conventional system of payments to the owners of the rickshaws. The rent for the rickshaw is set by the owner (for instance 300 zaires). If the rickshaw puller earns 700 zaires, the remaining 400 zaires are his, but he is unable to make any savings.

The Association of Rickshaw Pullers, counting some 54,000 members, has taken the initiative of encouraging the rickshaw pullers to save up. A first attempt was made with the proprietors of the rickshaws: the association asked them to levy a supplement on the rent for the machines and to keep it so that the rickshaw puller could use it at the end of the month or at any other moment to solve an urgent problem. This system very quickly failed, as the proprietors used the rickshaw pullers' money for themselves, which in the end came to an increase in the rental of the rickshaws.

In 1984, the Association worked out a new savings system, known by the name of "papa-card" (in the event of a man) or a "mamma-card" (in the event of a woman). This system consists in depositing part of each day's income with a father or mother of the district or the market, well-known for his or her honesty and who possesses land or many goods on the market. The amount deposited on the first day of the month should be the same the following days, until the end of the month. Each day the papa-card or mamma- card sets down the amount deposited on the card of which there is two copies. At the end of the month, the papa-card or mamma-card may take one day's deposit as their commission from the total amount of the rickshaw puller's monthly savings. This savings system has now become general among the population of Kinshasa.

During a workshop for reflection organized in December 1987 for the members of the Association, it was noticed that this very advantageous system made it possible, after a certain period, to save up considerable amounts. Presently, the rickshaw pullers would like to set up a collective savings system managed by the Association which would enable them to have access to credit with the association.

Association of Rickshaw Pullers of Zaire (ACCZ)
B.P. 11772, Kinshasa-Gombe,
If 10,000 rickshaw pullers pay in 200 zaires each day to papa or mama cards, this will come to a monthly sum of (10,000 x 200 x 25) = 50,000,000 zaires or USD 150,000 of savings or USD 1,800,000 a year . . . Enough with which to create their own bank . . . !

Hari Srinivas -
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