Uganda, Africa

UGA07b - EM Fund Uganda : Partnership Reports

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Report Date: October 31, 2017

Kyaterekera Micro-loan Programme 

poor areaThis group of Congolese refugees have been in Uganda for more than 15 years now. Most fled the massacres in 2002 and 2003, a spill over from the Rwandan situation which saw around 1,500 people killed at the Nyankunde Mission Station and Hospital. Most of these people were either crop growers or lost all their cows in the rush to evacuate so they arrived with nothing. Since then a group has found itself in the village of Kyaterekera towards the eastern shores of Lake Albert. 

Amos Katabuka is the main leader here. He is an energetic man and a school teacher. We first met him in 2015 in Kampala where he shared the plight of their people. He then attended Foundations for Farming training and is now an active promoter of it.

helping themselvesAmos is very keen to get some assistance for his people. They have begun to help themselves and have started a table banking loan programme. When we were there in 2015 they had around UGX5,000,000 (approx US$1,450) in the programme. Despite 2016 being a terrible season for drought, the fund has grown to around UGX6,000,000 (US$1,740) so they are trying. They also had to top up the loans for some people to get them through the year so it has worked in the case of this emergency which one of the intended outcomes of the programme. 

There are 33 people in the group and each time they meet they collect UGX2,000 (US$0.60) which goes into the pool. 

They want to use the fund boost for two major purposes:
1) to assist with the ongoing work of growing and selling their produce
2) to start buying up pieces of land as they become available.

When they began growing produce on hired land using FfF the locals were amazed and at the end of the season they either took the land back or wanted to charge a lot more for it. They are therefore determinted to try to get their own land over time. A ¼ acre section costs around US$350. 


Congolese refugeesNtoroko Goat Programme

This is different to the previous project. These people are Congolese refugees as well but they either arrived in Uganda with animals or some went back and brought their animals later when it was safer. When they arrived in 1998 and 2003 the Ugandan government gave them pastoral land near the Congolese border which was once a Game Reserve. However, it floods from time to time and when that happens they lose a lot, their houses are swept away, their crops are destroyed and they have to rebuild.  

They would like to start a project with goats. The plan is to purchase 50 pregnant goats and have animalsdistribute them to families. Within a certain period and then regularly afterwards, goats have to be returned to the project to be shared with other families. At regular intervals they would need to sell a goat to return the money to repay the loan. They are very sure this is a great project. 

Jonathan is the key man in this. I met him in Kampala with Amos in 2015 and he then attended the Foundations for Farming seminar in Rukungiri. Unfortunately FfF has not caught on well in this area because of the flood situation. I visited his place and saw the situation. These are cow people and while they don't have arable land available, I think this is a viable project. 


Kyaka Business Development and Empowerment

After my visit with Amos and Jonathan in 2015, Reuben visited these people and saw that they had businesses but that they were struggling and competing with each other. He therefore suggested that they get together to help each other rather than compete with each other. Earlier in 2016 they began and have pulled together an impressive project. 

Bukere village is different from the earlier two. It is part of the Nyaka 2 refugee camp overseen by the UNHCR. This camp has been in place since the early 80s and some of the refugees have been around for almost 40 years waiting to go home. They are not allowed to build permanent buildings so live in mud and grass houses. There are schools in the area for the children so it’s probably as close to normal village life as it was before they came here. They have had access to trauma and other forms of counselling and assistance. In general Congolese people are hard working and innovative. 

visionary leaderThere are some very impressive people involved. Jaques Ruzahaza is the leader and visionary. He is one of the two pastors in the church, the other is Tati Byaruhanga. There are also some other good people too. This group is called the Emmanuel Mission Unity (group). The purpose of the group is:
1) to fight against poverty and change the standard of living of families,
2) to seek opportunities for self-reliance today and tomorrow and
3) to ensure that children are well educated to change their futures. 

The rules of the team are Unity, Mutual Respect, Faithfulness and Commitment. The large group is made up of around 115 members broken down in to groups of six. When I visited it had only been going for three months. They meet every week and each person brings UGX5,000 (about US$1.50). It is planned that the main group leaders, the finance committee, would meet every two months. Once there is an amount in the fund, the plan is to take out 50% and distribute it equally to each member. The fund will grow over time as the half is left in and added to. They have not distributed funds yet as they are waiting until there is a larger amount in the pot. Currently there is UGX4,680,000 (US$1,400).

To join someone must have a small business. These include selling charcoal, selling secnd hand clothing, maize trading, food sellers, petrol sellers, fish traders, handcrafts etc. 

The plan is that this would also spread to other churches in the area. There are three more within the Emmanuel community. This church has around 200 members with a similar number of children. 

They would love a boost to this fund so their businesses could grow further. 


Kihihi Micro-loan Programme

Kihihi is about 1 1/2 hours from Rukungiri and about 2 kms from the Congo border. It is a very very dryrural area and Kihihi is a very poor town. Two people from this area have previously been trained in Foundations for Farming. In particular, Hilder really impressed us when she attended the training in Jinja in 2015 and the outcomes we have seen subsequently suggest that she is really committed to God and to her community and has a real vision for transformation. Although he lives in Rukungiri, Christopher, her husband, has also chosen to invest in this community and is very involved in the local school. 

There is already an established micro-loan group of 50 people in this community. It is a very embryonic programme. People are expected to pay in an initial contribution of 50,000 UGX (US$17) each at the start. There is not a lot of capital in the programme but it is making a difference when people are able to get loans. 

Of the micro-loan group about 10 are currently practising FfF. Unfortunately the severe drought and famine in this area has made things incredibly difficult to the extent that people have been eating grass and some have died of hunger despite government aid. However, during this time Hilder and those practising FfF have still been able to harvest some crops even though almost everyone else's crops have died.

Hilder has requested a financial boost to the loan programme for farming inputs to enable the community to begin farming again once the rains come. The community as a whole no longer have the resources to recommence farming.