Savings and loan associations have changed people’s mindset and approaches towards business in Uganda. With the right business information, knowledge and skills, societies have the capacity to leverage their acquired knowledge to transform their livelihoods for a greater good.
Maria, Jack, Hannah and Juliette, students from Notre Dame University, worked with a group of women in Kwonko village to support them improve their livelihood through establishment of the Village savings and loans association (VSLA). This was through support from Sustain Microenterprise (SME), a microfinance organization organization that gives loans to various women groups in Nyenga sub county Buikwe district.
The women group the VISLA project targeted was called Twekembe women group. This is a group of self motivated vulnerable women committed to improve their livelihood standards through accessing loans and starting up their own businesses. Their goal was to create sustainable livelihoods through access and business skills of vulnerable women through training provided by Sustain Microfinance and the Interns.
During project implementation, the women were empowered on various business skills including: Microfinance business management; building a sustainable group leadership structure; developing a group constitution and changing the negative mindset of saving among women. The knowledge acquired from the training activity boosted women’s confidence to quickly establish a savings group amongst themselves and engage in various business ventures.
At the end of the students internship, SME promised to continue supporting the Twekembe women group through: Monitoring and evaluating the progress of women saving group; providing mentorship in business for the women so as to build their capacity to sustainably use their borrowed money from the association to startup businesses that will sustain their families.