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Munomukabbi Savings Group has grown from 15 members to become a Beacon of Financial Empowerment in Mbale City

The Munomukabbi Village Savings and Loan Association, located in Bunghokho Sub-county, Mbale District, commenced with a modest membership of 15 individuals, which is only half of the approved composition of 30. However, within three years of its establishment by the Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO), the group has not only reached the membership bar but has also expanded into two semi-autonomous VSLAs.

Initially, the group was faced with resistance from community members who harboured doubts about the security of entrusting their money to another individual and the benefits of group savings compared to individual efforts. However, the group’s perseverance paid off after their first share-out, attracting an influx of new members who had witnessed the advantages.

Namono Norah, the group’s treasurer, highlighted the numerous benefits enjoyed by members, including access to loans, welfare, financial literacy and social protection, which became key factors in attracting new participants while retaining the existing ones.

Winnie Wandeka, one of the members started selling pancakes, now she owns a retail shop from which she has been able to educate her children and buy a plot of land.

“They saw that there are many benefits as a member, many came to register but the old members, after testing of the good didn’t want to leave,” Namono Norah, the treasurer of the group stated.

What further boosts the members’ pride are the compliments they receive from local leaders and community members about their achievements. This success prompted the leaders to establish a second group, allowing more individuals to benefit from the financial opportunities offered by the VSLA model.

Under the leadership of Nakutsili Peter, the group’s chairperson, resource mobilization efforts were initiated, securing mosquito nets from the district and the Parish Development Model funds. Additionally, leaders encourage each member to start up Income income-generating activities (IGAs) to diversify their income sources. As a result, all members were able to establish IGAs ranging from small shops to large farms.

Naggudi Filista, a member started a tomato farm as an IGA after inspirational talks during the VSLA sittings

“When the chair talked about starting up a business, I wondered why a woman should be bothered. But after starting my tomato farm, I will never retreat,” Naggudi Filista, one of the members said.

Every member adheres to the group’s constitution, ensuring structured and accountable financial management and decision-making.

“Every person has a Bi-law from the constitution that they walk by and it has to be respected by the entire team,” the chairperson said.

The Munomukabbi Savings Group stands as a testament to the transformative power of community-driven financial institutions, providing a platform for economic growth, resilience, and prosperity.

“Thanks, UWESO for bringing the VSLA project, our lives will never be the same again!” Norah expressed.

Agnes Tumuheire

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