Uganda, Africa

UGA07b - EM Fund Uganda : Partnership Reports

Other Reports Available:

Print friendly version

Back to Partnership

Report Date: November 11, 2018

Update from BHW New Partnership Facilitator Following Visit


I spent a couple of days with Reuben and Justus which was very helpful and enlightening in regard to the EM fund. A number of issues emerged, mainly positive but with a few concerns. The situation here is a little complicated with a number of components to it and to be fair it has not got off to a great start. The key reason for this is that the fund was not explained clearly enough to the Emmanuel Mission churches and people and, as is common in African countries, they didn't accept that the money was a loan because it was coming from overseas. As a result of this some people just took the money and shot the gap with no intention of repaying it. Reuben and Justus have learnt a lot but there is a need for us to provide more training for them so they can adequately run this project. 


Kyaterekera Micro-loan Programme (Kibale District)

Recent Events

tough startWe visited this place and spent the afternoon listening to the discussions about it. Half the funds were sent initially to the project (US$2,035). A major part of the outcomes of this one included these refugees purchasing land as they had funds and as they developed. They therefore decided to increase the amount of funds available by buying some boats with which to trade on Lake Albert. Their timing turned out to be very bad. Soon after they began another conflict broke out in Congo and this resulted in many bad people arriving at the lake to do business. They were threatened and in danger so had to sell the boats. They were very reluctant to talk about how much they lost on the deal but they did purchase some land with it. However, they were not able to pay the full amount and the land owner will not allow them to use it until they have paid the total cost. 

We discussed that the EM Fund should immediately release the funds required for this project to purchase the land and that they need to revisit for training before releasing the remainder of the funds.  

New Profiles

great guyAmos is the leader here and is a wonderful guy. He is the leader of the 13 Emmanuel Mission churches in this area among the Congolese refugees. He sends reports to Reuben and Justus and is the liaison person as he has good English. They would like us to consider some sort of support for Amos as he is such a key guy in getting the micro-loans and Foundations for Farming established in this area. I tend to agree that he is the key. There is suspicion of the Ugandan people amongst the Congolese refugees and so as he is Congolese he is an important cog in the process. Along with this he travels around these churches a lot and his wife is quite unwell with diabetes which causes a lot of extra costs for them. 


Ntoroko Goat Rearing Programme (Ntoroko District)

We didn’t visit this one but all the funds were sent and it is going very well. They will grow this programme by returning goats to the project for further distribution. 


Kyaaka 2 Micro-loan Programme (Kyegegwa District)

Recent Events

had issuesThis programme has also had its issues. Initially only half the funds were sent as they did not want to send too much at once and cause issues within the group. As it turned out, this was a good decision as the funds caused problems and misunderstandings to the point of splitting the three churches in the area. One church has remained consistent through all this but the other two took advantage of the programme. 

I talked with six of the key people in the Association (here are 24 in total). The situation has not been a failure, just a difficult beginning. Some told of the difference the loans had made for them: 

1) one guy has a carpentry business and is now doing really well with extra equipment and the ability to make more difficult pieces. 

2) one lady had a very difficult family situation, she has four children of her own and five others. She used to have one jerry can of oil to sell but now has four and it is growing. She is able to care for her children and send them to school. She was very encouraged. 

3) another guy used to be able to afford to purchase one bale of clothes to sell but now has four and is making a much better living. He has seven children, one at secondary, and is able to support them. 

4) the Treasurer runs a mobile money transfer business and is doing well. Because of conflict he had to drop out of school at S5. He used the funds to start this business and is able to take out small amounts from time to time to help his family. He thinks the Association is a great benefit to people like him. 

Despite the difficulties they still have UGX 7M (US$1,880) in the programme and intend to see it grow. There are a lot of new people coming into the community from the Congo, 10 bus loads arrived yesterday and we saw more being processed the day we were there. The leader of the group is responsible for signing the new arrivals into the area and helping them settle. Many are Christians and members of Emmanuel Mission. One of their real problems is that their key people are constantly being shipped out as refugees to the US and other places. This doesn’t help with stability or the retention of information and knowledge. 

Justus and Reuben are going to work with the Association leaders here so they can get more funds out to the group soon with a stronger foundation and awareness. I was impressed with the members of the Association we met, the faithful ones. They also think they will be able to rehabilitate the ones who took advantage. 


Kihiihi Micro-loan Programme (Kunungu District)

We didn’t visit this one but Matt and John (BHW team members) were there recently. I don’t understand all the details but Matt and John had some concerns expressed to them from the group that the full amount of funds was not released to them and that this compromised their ability to be successful last season. This may well be true. Justus and Reuben were not very willing to talk much about it however the experience with two of the other groups may have made them a little gun-shy about putting it all out at once. 

I think we will have to leave it to them to sort it out and not get too involved in micro-managing.  


Ideas for the Future

Micro-loan Programme / Foundations for Farming (Rukungiri District)

This new project is with some of the core Emmanuel Mission people and they are keen for this to start as they have done training with them and they know them very well. 

The original application was for UGX12,000,000 (US$3,400). These are very good, core people and I think we should fund this as a loan. They have already demonstrated some ability to work hard and produce. 


I think we owe it to them to invest in some training in economics and the supply of material for them to help others. I have committed to get there next year, mid-year, to do that. It will require some funding, the development of material for which I will require some assistance and some input in terms of the programme. The training could go wider than just these guys, but maybe something specific for them as well added on. 



Justus and Reuben need some input in terms of economics, especially regarding the various types of loan programmes they could introduce. They do not have enough resources to get around the churches to do training and explaining the opportunity and how it works. We either need to put some funds into this or help them get more income. One of the issues they face and that requires training is that these guys have a dream and as soon as funds arrive, they want to make it happen immediately. This way of thinking is embedded in their mindset.