Together with our partner, RIDE, we are currently running our Village Investors Programme (VIP) in 15 communities in western Uganda.
The Enjeru Tweyimukye VIP group was set up over three years ago – it now has 22 members and together they look after 76 children in their community. The group have grown their savings year-on-year and are now running independently of our support.
At the end of their last savings “cycle”, the Enjeru Tweyimukye group saved $4,200 from their group activities, an average saving of $190 per member.
Before the VIP group started, only three of the members had businesses; the rest relied on “piece-work” (odd jobs and manual labour), and sought help from others in their community to care for their children. Today all of the Enjeru Tweyimukye members have built and expanded their businesses, most of which are farming initiatives, saved enough money to purchase animals and send the children in their care back to school. Many have even built new homes and bought land to grow more of their crops.
Peace*, a member of Enjeru Tweyimukye, has 10 children in her care. Through the group she has not only been able to save money and care for the children, but receive valuable business and savings advice.
When she joined the VIP and started her business growing crops, she was struggling to make enough profit mainly due to the length of time the crops took to grow. Peace asked her VIP group for help and they gave her lots of advice around which crops sell well, which grow quickly and how to mix and match to achieve maximum output. Peace followed their advice and her profits started to increase.
Peace also realised that at the beginning when she started making profits, she was a bit careless with the money and how she spent it. Again, with advice from the group, she became much more strategic about spending the money on key assets rather than on just day-to-day things. She has learnt to budget weekly and only take the right amount of money to market to purchase her goods.
As a result of her growing business, Peace has increased her land, purchased animals and all of the children in her care are back at school; two of whom are in secondary school for which she is able to afford the fees for.
Peace said that being part of the Enjeru Tweyimukye group has turned her family’s life around.
*Name has been change to maintain confidentiality.