Many parents and guardians in the rural communities of Uganda are financially unstable. This instability results not only from lack of resources, but also from a lack of experience of how to work with others in the community to improve everyone’s lives.
In 2014 Children of Uganda developed a strategy to bridge both gaps. We began to provide training for our sponsored children’s guardians / parents — as well as other women and men in their communities — to show them how to work together by saving, loaning out and making effective use of their money. The developed strategy included setting up Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs).
The way the VSLA’s work is straightforward: Each week, registered members buy shares in the VSLA as a form of savings. The smallest value of a share purchase must be approved by all members who begin the group. At the end of the cycle — in most cases after 12 months — members distribute the shares and they’re able to use their savings to start up projects or even pay any outstanding dues.
Each group develops a constitution by which they are guided. Most importantly, by following that constitution, each member can access a low-interest-rate loan from the group, which he or she pays back within an agreed period of time, usually less than 3 months.
Children of Uganda started 5 groups in 2014-2015: Kyosimba onaanya SLA in Kiwanga village, Gakuweebwa munno SLA in Lukojjo village, Kisowera Mpoma SLA in Kisowera village, Agali awamu SLA in Lukojjo village and Mukama afaayo in Bukeerere village. All of these are in the Mukono district of Uganda.
Children of Uganda staff monitors each group’s endeavors and advises the members on how to effectively use the money they save. Our staff explains how best to take advantage of the low interest rate loans to invest in their businesses, or to start group or individual income generating projects.
In 2015 the groups reported tremendous success in all metrics. The VSLA groups started many income generating projects that have greatly improved the financial stability of the families.
Three groups started up function hire services with a few chairs for hire. Those groups are Kyosimba onaanya, Gakuweebwa munno and Agali awamu in their respective villages.
Others have started rearing domestic animals on a small scale, which they expect to sell and earn profits for further developments. Several group members saw a boost in their businesses from what they learned when they joined the group.
All these successes are greatly satisfying to all of us at Children of Uganda. We’re watching the future for these families change so much for the better as we all work together to transform the desperate economic conditions for our communities.
To help women break the cycle of poverty and support themselves and their families, DONATE NOW
Women in our new Family Empowerment Program (FEP) have already demonstrated how valuable a support structure can be. With the knowledge and skills training we’ve helped them achieve, these women are now growing their small businesses and are well on their way to becoming independent and thriving members of their community. The children in these women’s care benefit directly — importantly, they are now able to attend school.
We are honored to invest in these families who are merely looking for a hand-up — not a hand-out. We believe that these families will be the source of tremendous change and growth within their communities and that one day they will no longer need support from organizations like Children of Uganda.
Florence Batenga is one of these remarkable women. When our Ugandan staff first met Florence, she was struggling to feed herself and her 4 children — none of whom were able to attend school. Since joining our empowerment program, Florence has been able to grow her produce business and save money on a weekly basis. She is able to pay rent for both her business and residence on time, her children eat 3 well-balanced meals a day, she is now able to pay school fees for her other children who are not directly sponsored by Children of Uganda. Read more of Florence’s story here …
We are now looking to expand the Family Empowerment Program so more families with children in our program will be able to break the cycle of poverty. To give these women the hand up they deserve, DONATE NOW
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Each child who is educated, fed and safe is a strong foundation for peace.
Each self-supporting woman makes a community thrive. Each beat of music carries the joy of a nation.