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Sharing business success: Village Savings and Loans Associations promote financial independence

Posted on: Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Agnes (40) has created a successful business rearing and selling chickens, thanks to business skills training through her local Village Savings and Loans Association.

Agnes feeding her chickensAs a person with a physical disability, and the sole breadwinner for her family, life hasn’t been easy for Agnes. Now she’s part of a village savings and loans group, she’s been able to borrow money to invest in different poultry breeds, to increase her income further and support her family.

Agnes plans to train young and marginalised people in her community, including people with disabilities, to help them start their own poultry businesses.

Together with our partners in Uganda, we’ve set up 68 Village Savings and Loans Associations – supporting nearly 2,000 members, including 1,251 people with disabilities.

Support from the VSLAs has been especially vital during periods of lockdown. Being part of these groups has not only provided financial stability, but has greatly improved self-esteem and participation in community life, for people with disabilities.

Twekebe VSLA group meeting outside beneath a treeAs part of the project, we’re encouraging group learning including organising events for members from different districts to share their experiences with peers. Agnes was one of those who talked about her experiences to others. This sharing enabled group members to acquire new knowledge, skills and ideas for alternative ways of doing things.

Through this project, we’re also training NGOs and micro-finance institutions in Mityana, Kyotera, Mbarara and Ibanda districts on disability inclusion and mainstreaming, as well as providing training for VSLA group members on the following topics:

  • Methods of animal farming and crop management, particularly bananas, maize, beans and coffee growing, piggery and poultry farming.
  • Quality products, adding value and marketing techniques.
  • Possible income generating activities.
  • Maintaining good health, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Gender discrimination and domestic violence.
  • Government poverty reduction programmes.

CBM is working in partnership with disability NGOs in Uganda; the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), Katalemwa Cheshire Home for Rehabilitation Services (KCH) and Organised Useful Rehabilitation Services (OURS). This project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Find out more about this project.

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Images: Top – Members of a VSLA group in Uganda. Middle – Agnes tending to her chickens. Bottom – Twekebe VSLA group meeting.