Using village savings & loan associations as a platform for women’s economic empowerment

When ACFODE first identified Adyeri Village Savings Association and Loan (VSLA) group in Apac District, it was merely a women’s farming group with 25 members that saved 500/= per week to accumulate enough money to buy meat for Christmas. These were later trained and coached on modern VSLA methodologies to include having a constitution in place, setting minimum and maximum saving, book keeping, borrowing and investment. Sophia Otobi, 63, is one of the beneficiaries of this knowledge and has harnessed it to boost her farming skills and produce.

“My name is Sophia Otobi. I am 63 years old and I am a widow with 8 children. I am a resident of Baraboce Cell Atopi parish Apac sub-county in Apac District where I am secretary of Adyeri village savings and loan association (VSLA) group. Adyeri VSLA group is among the eight (8) women’s groups in Apac that was mentored and supported in modern VSLA methodology by ACFODE. Our group was formed in 2014 with 25 women as a farming group, however, the method of savings was very rudimentary as there was no record keeping, no minimum and maximum savings, plus, the group did not have the constitution to guide us in the operation of our business.

Ms Sophia Otobi feeding her sow and piglets before selling them

“When ACFODE came on board in 2016, we were trained and coached in modern VSLA methodology to include having a constitution in place, binding rules, basic numeracy skills and book keeping. After the training, we developed the constitution; set up the minimum and maximum savings, and our group members started effective weekly savings and borrowing with clear record keeping. Most of the VSLA members started borrowing loans from the group and started businesses to enable them meet their obligation of weekly savings. Since then, the group has continued to develop and currently we have 40 members, (32female and 8male),”narrates Ms Otobi.

“Having acquired knowledge on financial management and investment, I borrowed 50,000/= (fifty thousand shillings) from my group and bought a piglet which I reared for some time until it gestated. The sow reproduced 7 piglets. I sold off 6, each at 50,000/= and left one piglet for myself. From this sale, I raised 300,000/=. In addition, I decided to sell the sow at 250,000/=. This totalled up to 550,000/= which I then used to buy a heifer cow. I now a very happy woman, and proud of the new developments in my life. I love my heifer and I am determined to continue with investment and buy more cows. My fellow group members are very inspired and are determined to follow my example.”

Moses Otwang
Field Officer-Apac District

To empower women and influence legislation and policy for gender equality in Uganda.

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