Do you know what the figure is?
This is the percentage of people in Uganda living on less than $1.9 a day.
Then, what percentage of people lives on less than $3.2/$5.5 each?
Poverty was widespread in Uganda even before the outbreak of the COVID-19.
And needless to say, the COVID-19 still makes this situation worse.
Many people are living on very little money in order to survive with their families today.
However, even in this difficult situation where many people have lost their jobs and sources of income,
there is a Ugandan group who has overcome the crisis and is trying to achieve their goals by maximizing the benefits of the projects implemented by UWESO.
How on earth did they overcome? What on earth is their motivation?
Today, we will explore the answers through the group story.
The group name is “Hope Savings Association (HSA)”; located at Oruchinga Refugee settlement.
This group started on 17.12.2019, supported by UWESO staff under Advancing Rights & Opportunities to Education for Vulnerable Children (AROC) project (2018-2019), with only 20 members.
This is a Village Savings and Loan Association（VSLA）group, which can save a little money with members and get access loans from its savings.
“The beginning was very difficult…”
,Arinanye Mary- the Chairperson of HSA told us.
“Members had very little knowledge about saving and most members didn’t commit to consistent saving. They feared, for example, what to save as a poor refugee with meager income, little land and other livelihood support?’”
What motivated them were the followings:
(1)Their purposes to join HSA
(2) The training and mentorship from UWESO staff
(3) Their outcome(cumulative savings)
(4) Financial security
(5) Their fellow members.
HSA members decided that their initial share value be 4000 UGX per week and would save between 1-5 shares.
Also, they had to contribute 1,000 UGX per week towards Social/Welfare fund for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
By the end of the first cycle, how much money could they accumulate…?
It was…….5,000,000UGX excluding Welfare Fund!!
One of the most respectful works of HSA is that HSA didn’t stop their progress after this achievement and actually did further actions.
After the initial share-out, members resolved to retain some savings and invested in rearing poultry and establishing Kitchen/vegetable gardens.
In addition, members got motivated from the financial security of their savings and increased on individual savings and accessing loans.
Furthermore, the group was registered both at Kikagate Sub county and district level.
Besides, the number of members increased to 30 from 20.
Consequently, by the end of the second cycle, the cumulative savings share-out was 28,796,400UGX…!!!
Although that year is 2020, which is the start year of COVID-19,
members never suffered from the effects of the COVID-19 lock down.
This saving group became a fall-back position for members to fund the various needs of members,
such as school fees, food, improved housing or other individual investments.
Not only did they stop at just surviving this COVID-19,
but also they continued saving activities; they invested expanding their poultry project.
From the initial 10 chicken, the group now has 40 chicken and sells chicken for meat and eggs.
By scaling up and sensitizing others about their work,
now many people from the neighbouring community know them and have interest in the group.
Members have increased their share value to 10,000UGX from 4,000 and keep running towards their bigger dreams.
Their current challenge is to acquire bigger financial resources than can be satisfied by the group saving alone.
And they also hope to get more support for agricultural inputs and training in order to help them improve household food production and incomes.
Already, they were successfully linked to HFU (under the ongoing General Food Assistance (GFA) project (2020-2022); and benefited from establishing vegetable gardens, fruit trees and a thriving rabbit rearing project – for enhanced nutrition and livelihood improvement of member households.
Refer to picture below.
Furthermore, Hope Savings Association has benefited from a group loan from the Government of Uganda Emyooga scheme (worth Sh. 3,000,000); which they borrowed and successfully paid back with interest.
Figure 4: Members of Hope Savings Association interacting with a visiting delegation derived from WFP Friends of Nutrition at their Vegetable growing and Rabbit rearing projects in Oruchinga Settlement on 23.05.2022.
As UWESO, we will explore further and follow up financial institutions that are worthy of linking to such mature and proven VSLA group like HOPE Savings Association and integrate VSLA groups in other UWESO-supported activities like tree planting.
UWESO is sure that the achievement of HOPE must be an amazing hope for others.
So we will utilize and cascade the great findings from this success story for other VSLA, UWESO and Uganda.
In a nutshell, HOPE Savings Association provides an amazing success story; for others to emulate.
Please read ~Hope Savings Association story part 2/2~ to check the individual achievements of HSA members.