Empowered to empower others – Janet Sandera

Community Managed Micro Finance (CMMF) program enables Men and women to be actively involved in the development of their households and community. Most Masai women entirely depend on their husbands since they don’t have a source of income hence viewed as a burden over time.

Janet Sandera is a 23 year old Masai woman, married with one child. She lives in Nkoilale -Masai Mara where our partner Basecamp foundation implements the CMMF program. Janet did not go far in her studies. She was in class 4 in high school at the time the father died and because her mother could not afford to pay the school fees, she dropped out. Her mother later raised some money that could pay for Janet’s fees in a polytechnic school in Nakuru. Here Janet enrolled into tailoring and beauty course where she learnt to tailor clothes, beading work and about various beauty products and their application.

Janet Sandera

Janet Sandera

When Janet finished school in 2014, she got a job as a sales person for Animal medicine in Nkoilale. “While working, I noticed women meeting in groups and I admired them because they were saving and borrowing to start businesses. So I asked to join one of the groups called Olmasel CMMF group which I am now a member” she stated.  They meet every Thursday and she saves 100KSH (Approx. 1USD) for saving and 150KSH (Approx. 1.5USD) for social fund.

While working, I noticed women meeting in groups and I admired them because they were saving and borrowing to start businesses. So I asked to join one of the groups called Olmasel CMMF group which I am now a member.

Janet showcasing her work infront of shop

Janet showcasing her tailoring work in-front of her shop

Janet borrowed 50,000KSH as capital to start the shop which is now five months. Apart from selling different household items and food stuffs in the shop, she also tailors and sells Masai beaded clothes which are her highest source of profits. In a month she makes 40,000KSH (Approx. 40SD) of which she takes off 11,000KSH (Approx. 11USD) to repay the loan. On average she makes a monthly profit of 7,000-8,000KSH (Approx. 70-80USD).

Janet attending to a buyer at her shop

Janet attending to a customer at her shop.

Janet has been able to work hand in hand with her husband to support their household. She testifies that her husband is very supportive and involved in the business. She is also currently supporting her mother to take care of her four siblings in school and meet the home requirements.

“I plan on expanding our Shop and continue to support my mother and siblings.” she stated with great ambition. Janet has passion for younger girls in her community and therefore she plans on helping her fellow girls to learn how to start small businesses like she did.

Stepping It up for Gender Equality

Reflections from Our Regional DIrector – Mrs. Priscilla M. Serukka 

As I reflect on the International Women’s Day celebrations, I am challenged on behalf of our organization to really see if we are doing our best to ensure that women, girls are still not treated as secondary humans. Being an organization that is keen on development, we have learned that development of any community cannot be fostered if our mothers, sisters, wives, daughters are left lagging behind. We have progressed from advocating for just educating the girl child to empowering the women through Microfinance. This article shared a few highlights from our work in the hope that many other organizations could pick a few lessons or come alongside us on this journey.

The Bonga program reaches out to vulnerable adolescent girls to equip  them with life skills, numeracy, literacy and vocational skills.
Over the past five years, we have empowered over 6,904 adolescent girls in Eastern and Northern Uganda. Our goal this year aims at empowering at least 2,370 girls in 79 bonga centres.

Highlights from the Bonga program:
– 5,986 graduated girls have been able to mobilize savings and started Income Generating Activities
– 1,384 Adolescents are trained and engaged in farm and non-farm based income generating activities
– 566 girls have been able to get back to school
– Graduated girls and animators have been involved in campaigns on social issues through community theatres and other ways. Out of this xxx latrines have been constructed, improved nutrition, hygiene and sanitation in homes
– Participating girls have reported increased stability in their homes and reduced domestic violence
– Adolescent girls and their plight is becoming more and more recognized in the local communities of intervention

Bonga has helped me regain my self-esteem.
“Becoming a fashion designer seemed far even though I had always desired to be one. I often asked myself, where will I get money to even study?
After completing my primary Seven, I had nothing to do, my family was poor and they couldn’t afford to take me to school. I used to be redundant at home until Bonga came along.
Bonga helped create a sense of responsibility within in me. The life skills we did in our meetings helped me realize that I am important and that I have a say in whatever concerns my life. That’s when I woke up and started taking my life seriously despite the challenges I had gone through. And now I and my friend own this sewing machine, we use it to earn a living. I can buy my own basic needs and also contribute to my home. I no longer have to wait around to be told what I should do so that the men can give me upkeep. I like this feeling.
I am not desperate to get married but I want to have children some day and I will make sure they stay in school and become important.” ~ Kaynet Mourine, 20 years old (Bonga graduate under WENIPS Nebbi)

Economic Empowerment of the Women.
As a development organization, we do not believe in handouts but rather we focus more on hand ups. We prefer to work alongside the women or other community members in bringing about both individual and community development. Our work is implemented through partners who are based in the local communities. In economic empowerment, partners are trained in delivering what we call the Community Managed microfinance (CMMF) program. This program involves community members mobilizing themselves into groups of 30s to save and borrow amongst themselves. They together come up with a constitution, choose their leaders including a treasurer and they decide how often to meet. The model is unique in a sense that it allows members to take ownership. We have introduced the CMMF program to all our Bonga groups as early as the first 3 months. For some, by the time they graduate, they have already saved up enough money to buy equipment to continue with whichever trade they will have acquired skills in.

Women-receive-loans-through-their-CMMF-group
Other than the adolescent girl, this community development program emphasizes that for each partner organization enrolment be 70% in favor of women. We focus on women because according to human development statistics, they are the most marginalized especially in sub Saharan Africa. Many women in Africa are left to cater for their families after their husbands die or abandon them. We find that rural women bare the biggest burden when it comes to providing basic needs to their families. Therefore we thought if we empower this woman to a favorable level of financial freedom, she can live confident, securely and able to cater for her children. This is the reason why we target at least 70% women to participate in this intervention. As at the end 2015, we had managed to reach 52,880 women in Uganda. In 2016, our target to reach out to 8,750 women in rural hard to reach areas of Uganda.

However, this is not enough. Our government needs to come up with a strong policy that is followed through to protect adolescent girls. Teenage pregnancy is still a big issue. Girls below 18 years are sadly still being treated as clan property and offered into marriage in the rural areas. There is a great need of sensitization if we are to see this vice adjudicated. If left unabated, we are still raising a generation of illiterate young people who may also never value Education of their children
It is still common to find girls dropping out of school to look after their siblings or in favor of the boy-child. Strict enforcing of Education for all needs to be done, whereby school-age children should not be found at home during school hours. Girls need to be taken as important as the boys.

Many girls drop out of school during puberty. It starts with them missing four days of school each month, resulting in lagging behind in class and eventually losing interest in school. Assistance should be made for girls to remain in school even during seasons of menstruation. Adequate places of convenience and provision of sanitary towels should be made. Sending girls to school by the age of six years also helps avoid girls beginning school late.

Our approach moving forward is not far from other international development bodies. We intend to utilize our strategic plan to work towards the UN goal of Planet 50-50 by 2030. We are pledging to step it up for gender equality. We shall continue with existing programs geared towards empowerement of adolscent girls and women. But most importantly we want to stregthen civil society through the CMMF selfhelp groups and BONGA centres.

We would like to see more advocacy carried out on gender equality in the communities we work. Community members need to be enlightened, women and girls need to be aware of their rights so that they can confidently keep the duty bearers accountable. We shall also focus on improving livelihoods through our microfinance programs. Some communities are still behind in gender issues due to poverty and we believe that when people acquire financial literacy, they begin to fight poverty and some of the backward cultural traditions are rebated.
We need to together with the group members address the real root causes of poverty, issues of domestic violence and empower the communities to address the root causes.

In conclusion, as an organisation we are committed to empowerment of vulnerable girls and women so as to foster community development. When you empower a girl/woman, you have empowered a nation and future generations.

Aligning to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In case this has not yet come to your attention, starting September 25th 2015, the UN launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) to replace the MDGs aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all.

These are the 17 areas of focus.

  • No poverty
  • Zero hunger
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Affordable and clean energy
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Reduced inequalities
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Life below water
  • Life on land
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Partnerships for the goals.

As always, SF will endeavor to align our programming to these SDGs so as to contribute to sustainable development globally.  We are glad to be on track already with our new strategic plan and hope to strengthen the partner engagemnent more with these SDGs.

Here’s a download link of the SDGs in full description.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (465.7 KiB, 233 downloads)

Bonga Adolescent Girls Graduate in Nebbi, Uganda

Monday 20th April 2015, was filled with jubilation and celebration as we witnessed the first ever graduation of Bonga adolescent girls in Nebbi district, Uganda where West Nile Private Sector Development Promotion Center Ltd (WENIPS), a partner to Stromme Foundation East Africa (SFEA)  runs the program. The ceremony kicked off with an awareness match on the streets enlightening people about issues surrounding adolescent girls.

Girls Matching

Some of the girls doing the match

Young Lady jubilating

Girls celebrate their new achievement

276 girls successfully completed their 9 months Bonga adolescent girl’s empowerment program which equipped them with basic life skills, literacy, numeracy and vocational skills. For six months, the girls were taken through topics like primary health care, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, women and child rights among others. Most of these girls who previously dropped out of school have dropped out of school due to various reasons such as early pregnancies and forced marriages now acquired both numeracy and literacy skills to keep them going. Sharon one of the graduates excitedly while scribbling her name in a note book remarked;

Before I enrolled in Bonga, I could not write my name or even read it. But now see what I can do with my life.”

In his speech the Chief Executive Officer of WENIPS, Mr. Onegi Jenaro, highlighted that WENIPS partnership with SFEA has enabled them to boost the education in the region. Through the support received, WENIPS has extended services among adolescent girls who had dropped out of school and others forced into early marriages and also trained communities in matters of savings and developing themselves through the Community Managed Microfinance (CMMF) program. WENIPS has also been able to support primary schools sanitation by constructing toilet stances in selected schools. This support from SFEA and her development partners including NORAD and DFID is well appreciated.

Receiving a certificate

One of the girls greets the chief guest just before she was handed her certificate

Oyella Mary, one of the graduates gave remarks on behalf of all the other Bonga graduates. She extended appreciation to their parents, WENIPS and SFEA for the support rendered to them through the program. Mary said she chose hair dressing as her trade for the vocational skills part of the training because she has always loved making women look beautiful. Other vocational trades that were availed to the girls included bakery, tailoring and handcrafts.
Now that they are all equipped with something to earn them a living, the girls have gained self-esteem, are more in charge of their lives and no longer playing victims of circumstances. Mr. Jenaro committed to continuous empowerment of the young ladies through various training that were being organised. In addition, WENIPS together with SFEA handed over start up kits to the girls to enable them start their small income generation projects following the skills  that they had acquired.

The Regional Director, SFEA Mrs Priscilla M Serukka congratulated the girls upon completing the training and attaining the great achievement. She expressed disappointment towards some of the parents and guardians who had not taken the program seriously leading to drop out of over 20 girls.

“51% of Uganda’s population are women. Uneducated and unskilled girls are very vulnerable and therefore a threat to the development of society especially in today’s global village. Protecting these young ladies should be a task to everyone in society.” Remarked, Mrs. Serukka.

She further urged the new empowered lot of ladies to continue working hard and saving through the micro finance program so that they can be able to stand on their own.

Mrs. Acayo Christine Cwinya-Al,  Woman MP, Nebbi district graced the ceremony as chief guest. Also present were the Local Council Five, chairperson and local government leaders, community leaders, parents and policy makers in Nebbi district.They all cautioned the girls and parents to actively participate in development programs brought to them so that they can altogether put up a fight against poverty and its associated vices.

exhibition

Guests checking out exhibited products made by the Bonga girls

Bonga entertainment

The guests were not left unmoved as they joined the Bonga girls in a dance to celebrate the day.

 It was indeed a great day of jubilation crowned with a great lunch feast for everyone that had gathered to celebrate the liberation of the girls.

Empowered People Empower Others – Rubirizi, western Uganda

Over time, SFEA has registered great success in poverty reduction through our community micro-finance intervention. Stories of transformation at individual and community level keep streaming, encouraging us that it is indeed possible to see a world free from poverty. Kiconco’s story is no ordinary one, it’s a story depicting community transformation through a simple woman’s dream.

Kiconco

Elivalda Kiconco, CMMF beneficiary via COVOID (SFEA partner in Rubirizi district)

Elivalda Kiconco is 52 years old who lost her husband at a young age and had to quickly adjust to single motherhood. The demands of parenting forced her to quit her teaching job because of the long distance between her home and village school she worked at. She then decided to concentrate on  subsistence farming  which would  provide food for her family and earn some little income to cater for the basic. At that time, she had a small tea farm,  banana plantation and she would also grow some vegetables.

 “It was so difficult, at the beginning of each school term I would get so stressed out to the point of almost being hospitalized. But somehow with handouts from some kind friends and relatives we got through the days. “She recalls.

 In 2011, Kiconco after hearing numerous stories about how CMMF had transformed an entire village, she decided to visit that particular village just to confirm the stories and perhaps   learn more about the CMMF methodology. She left the meeting convinced about CMMF, she it to help move her to the next step.  Later COVOID facilitators agreed to train the group she had mobilised in her village, and that market the birth of the first CMMF group in Kiconco’s village. COVOID is one of SFEA’s partner organisations operating in western Uganda.

With her children grown and almost through with school, Kiconco’s focus shifted from school fees to addressing a her community needs. She had always dreamed of starting up her own school. She had observed that parents in her community had one option of school for their children and it was quite a distance.  Many of the  young children (aged 1-5 years) were lingering around the village because they could not manage to walk the long distances. So they had to wait until they got to 6 years or older to start school. This was not helping with their early childhood development process. Kiconco hoped that she could address this gap by starting up an Early Childhood Learning centre / Kindergarten.

Kiconco facilitating and ECD class

Kiconco facilitating and ECD class

With the help of the CMMF group, Kiconco started saving  with her vision in mind. In 2012,  with a loan of UGX 200,000, she set up 2 classrooms at the back of her compound. She then decided to start with 7 pupils but the number soon grew to over 25. She asked parents to contribute just UGX 10,000 towards facilitation of the caregivers and teachers. By the end of 2013, 25 graduated and transitioned to primary school. Currently Kiconco has graduated 2 sets to primary and has 25 more in the centre going through early learning. She employs one staff at the kindergarten.

“I am still growing, I have made bricks and hope to construct more rooms so I can expand the kindergarten and hopefully employ more people,” said Kiconco.

 All of Kiconco’s group mates speak of her. They are pleased with the different innovations she has brought to the village. John one of the members and also area chairman, is so grateful that Kiconco introduced them to CMMF. “CMMF is a liberator, it liberated us from poverty. We used to struggle to get loans from these banks but now we no longer struggle because we can save and borrow from our own bank. People have built good homes, they take their children to school and can afford to dress well.”

At 52, you could say Kiconco should be slowing down, but this is far from her mind. Upon successful establishment of her kindergarten, Kiconco plans to set up a small village vocational centre to help impart skills to adolescent girls.

Bye-bye

Kiconco with some of the pupils at the centre

 

A Tale Of A Former Street Child

There are millions of children living on the street worldwide; children who are ignored, abused and have their human rights violated on a daily basis. Although children on the streets have rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the same way that all other children do, many government policies do not reflect this. In Uganda, there are at least 10,000 street children.UWCM June 2012 CMMF 103 As in many other countries, a life on the street can mean missing out on education, physical and emotional torture, enduring a harsh environment on the street, sexual exploitation and engagement in criminal activities. Stromme Foundation East Africa (SFEA) through partners like Child Restoration Outreach (CRO) Mbale, is working to make the world a better place for these precious children.

Through sports and creative arts, CRO  rehabilitates street children and endeavours to reunite most of them with existing families while supporting their educational needs. Over the years we have seen a lot of tearing successes when these once vulnerable children turn into responsible citizens of their communities.

Youth enjoying a volleyball game

Youth enjoying a volleyball game

 

James Alitho is one of the youth who has emerged through CRO rehabilitation efforts.  Orphaned at a young age, with no relative to claim him and his siblings, James saw the only option he had at surviving was turning to the streets.  Unable to attend school, whenever he got tired of his daily routine of begging on the streets, James would turn to his hobby of playing football on one of the community grounds. It was on one of the days, that the CRO staff on their routine street walks got in contact with him. This was in 2002; they interviewed him, invited him at the centre then enrolled him in rehabilitation class.

A year later he joined Namatala primary school and upon successful completion proceeded to secondary school in Maluku Secondary for O’ level.  In 2012, James got a scholarship with St. Mary’s Kitende where he has studied his 2 higher secondary classes. James was awarded with the scholarship after winning the post primary championships during his o-level alongside his remarkable academic performance.

James Alitho; Former street child, now a talented footballer.

James Alitho; Former street child, now a talented footballer.

While at CRO, he played football in the under 12, and then graduated to under 14, and eventually the under16 team. No doubt that James takes football as one of his passions. He has actively participated in the schools teams that he has been a part of. In his post primary activities, he featured for the school team football at Malukhu s.s, guided the team to qualify for the Nationals in Masaka. James also won two champions and got voted the best goal keeper of the tournament as well as most valuable player. He was also instrumental in the winning of the East African Schools Tournament with Kitende in 2012 and where he received gold medal.

At CRO, he has been both a player and a coach with the CHRISC Tournament in Tanzania where he also received 2 silver medals. He was promoted to the CRO FC senior team as a first choice goal keeper. Currently James is playing as the striker in the team. During the 2011-2012 Big League (2nd tier football) season he emerged as the top scorer in the League with 10 goals and this helped the team to qualify for the Uganda Premier League 2013-2014 season.  “I enjoy playing in the CRO Sports field because it is the best field I have ever played in.  One day I hope to play professional football to assist more children at CRO and the Uganda Cranes”. Said James.

What a remarkable young man James is. And with all the support from our partners around the world, we know for sure that his story has only but just begun. It is a joy to us that we can be a part of his journey.

Come, let’s empower lives together and see a world free from poverty!

Mbabazi, The Industrious Woman

Mbabazi Tryphonia is 34 years old and one of the beneficiaries from the SFEA and COVOID partnership in Rubirizi district.

We met Mbabazi in Kyamuhunga village in western Uganda at her grocery shop, one of the many ventures she has invested in. She is one of the pioneers of the Community Managed Microfinance groups in the region and she attributes most of her success to the CMMF methodology. Her husband abandoned her but this has not stopped her from pursuing her dreams and raising her child single handily.

Mbabazi with Son

Mbabazi with Son

Mbabazi has been a part of the CMMF group for three years now. Earlier, she says she didn’t have knowledge of saving despite the small earnings they would get from tea and crop farming. When she joined the CMMF group in 2011, her eyes were opened. This was after a vigorous sensitisation drive organised by one of our development partners in Rubirizi district, COVOID.

At the time she joined, she had no stable source of income that would enable her to save regularly. So she thought hard and remembered that there were some coffee beans in the village that she could sell. That’s exactly what she did. She raised UGX 8000 part of which she used to start the saving and the other part to buy material for knitting so she could start making different products to increase her income.

After months of hard work and diligence in saving, Mbabazi started out a small retail shop and stall from her first loan of UGX 200,000. Part of it she used for rent and the other to buy products to sell in the shop. Mbabazi is a very innovative woman; her stall now has a number of items ranging from mats to household groceries.Her shop is strategically located along the Rubirizi – Kasese high way where she easily taps into the highway shopping tradition of  most travellers.

Recently, a local tea factory has contracted her to supply foodstuffs to their members and she is paid a lump sum at the end of the month. “This is a sure deal that I get to sell my items at a good rate,” she shared. She also prepares food for the top management of the tea factory.

Tryphonia in her shop

Mbabazi in her grocery shop

There are many women in the village that have developed through the CMMF but Mbabazi still stands out. She mobilised 5 of her group members to start some group investments to enable them boost their earnings further. At the moment they have invested in pig rearing for commercial purposes. They started out with 3 piglets and now they have 16 pigs in total. They hope that with income from these piglets, they will be able to invest in bigger projects to develop their community.

Today, Mbabazi is empowered, a role model to many women and a resource to many communities that call on her to train them in the CMMF model. She is educating her child in one of the best schools around. She hopes to enrol for a teaching course so she can become a qualified primary school teacher.

In five years she hopes to have built her own house and premises for her grocery shop premises so she can stop renting. Will she fulfill this? Let’s watch the space…Tryphonia at her shop selling

Strømme fostering Education for all

The 2012 December holidays started quite in style for little Vivian and her mother Jane. Graduation from nursery was worth celebrating, not only for the school achievement but also for the social welfare they had acquired through the year.

Jane had struggled for a while trying to balance time between her work and giving proper care to her baby. She earned a meagre income as a Cleaner/messenger at the Kampala, Buganda Road Court and she could not afford any regular day care services.

According to Catherine Kitongo, the Director of Miles2Smiles, little Vivian was brought to her care when she was eight months old. She had a very weak immune system and was very sickly. Her mother had been keeping her with the neighbours who had agreed to help her babysit while she went to fend for the family.

Little did she know that the people she was entrusting with her child were actually taking it as a burden behind her back. For all the days Vivian was being left with them, they would leave her in a basin full of cold water just so she could stay asleep all day and not bother them. Despite the
fact that Jane would leave them with a meal to feed her child, they were not feeding her. Soon Little Vivian’s health kept getting worse and Jane had to spend most of the time and earnings seeking medication for her at a local clinic near her home.

At the regular clinic, she soon befriended a nurse who had been very helpful through her visits. The nurse had identified that most of little Vivian’s illnesses were nutrition related. Jane also shared with her the struggle she was facing of having to raise income and take care of her child. She needed to work but had nowhere to leave Vivian. Her neighbours had proved to be unhelpful. The nurse then told her about the small but lovely day care kindergarten commonly referred to as Miles2Smile. This nurse had already experienced the great care at the Miles2Smiles as she was already taking her child there.

She told her how Miles2Smiles was helping many single, low income earning mothers keep their babies while they continued their business in order to earn a livelihood. At Miles2Smiles, the children were fed, bathed, played and when a little older get to learn a few things like other children in early childhood learning institutions. Jane immediately went to talk to Catherine to help her with Vivian. And that’s when little Vivian’s story began to change.

Strømme Foundation East Africa, through the Education Intervention partners with community based organizations like Miles2Smiles to reach out to the less advantaged that would otherwise have no chance at good early childhood development. Through this initiative we hope to bridge the gaps in education especially in the rural areas. Every little boy and girl at Miles2Smiles is well looked after, well fed and nurtured to become a confident child.

It’s been six years since Vivian’s mother learned of Miles2Smiles, a discovery that she talks of with such joy. Her precious girl is now six years old, healthy, happy and with a hope for a future. She graduated from kindergarten at the end of 2012. She is so excited about school and very keen on learning new things. We have no doubt she’s going to continue excelling as she moves on to primary school.

Strømme Foundation’s Livelihood improvement goal is also met through the Community Managed Microfinance intervention (CMMF). Like many of the mothers at Miles to Smile, Vivian’s mother, Jane is an active member of the CMMF Scheme that Miles2Smiles runs. She says the scheme has helped her save and responsibly plan for her earnings which has helped her support her family and pay school fees for her child in primary education.

Strømme Microfinance East Africa

Florence lost her mother when she was a baby and had to be raised by her elderly grandmother with a support from her father. Unfortunately at the age of 10, her father also passed away leaving her with her grandmother who could not afford to put fully provide for her needs as a growing teenager.

At 14, she got pregnant and had to drop out of school. The father of the child was also young and still in school so he denied the pregnancy for fear of responsibilities. Florence had to depend on her grandmother to take care of herself and the baby to come. But she also felt the need to fend for herself so she kept seeking for small jobs to support her.

Because of her vulnerability, she got involved with an army man who impregnated her with the second baby. She felt low and couldn’t say no to any man who approached her because they could satisfy her immediate need at that point. And that is to feel loved and cared for. Little did she know that these men just wanted a piece of her and would soon leave her in the same state.

“Through the Mazungmizo program, I have learned that my value comes from within and not from the outside circumstances. I have also learned to take
care of myself. I am aware of my rights and can confidently speak up now.” Said Florence.

The knitting skills she acquired are enabling her to earn some income by making and selling products within her community. At the moment Florence’s
earnings are able to support her and her two children as well her elderly grandmother.

Enabling growth through Financial support

Mr. Muwanga Wilson is a resident of Wakiso District, Senge. He is a family man with 6 children and one wife. He is one of the beneficiaries that SMF EA LTD has reached through its partner Advance Uganda Microfinance Limited (AUMF). Mr. Muwanga processes banana juice at his home in Wakiso District Senge. The idea of banana Juice was first initiated by his wife,who learned from a friend how to process the juice and preserving it. The family took the idea forward.

They started with a few cans of juice which they would sell cheaply to their neighbours. However the situation turned around after Wilson joined AUMF in 2008 and started to borrow in order to increase his capital. So far he has had 8 loan cycles. His current loan cycle with AUMF is UGX 1,500,000 (USD 600). His first loan was UGX 500,000 (USD 200) which he used to buy a Motor cycle to help him in his other business of supplying
milk. The juice business is currently managed by the whole family, supplying mainly small scale supermarkets, restaurants, Jakana processing plant at Kawempe and other retail traders.

On average between 600 to 700 litres of juice are made daily and supplied and this has greatly improved their family income. Together with his wife, they have been able to purchase land and construct their residential home with extra units that they hope to rent out when completed. They are also able to pay school fees for their children, two of whom are in University and the rest in secondary school.

“We have over time funded his businesses and we have boosted them with capital. We supported his milk business by enabling him to acquire a motorcycle to ease transportation of milk”, says Mr. Kasibante Michael, CEO AUMF.

Some of the challenges they still face include lack of electricity that makes the juice processing quite difficult. Wilson hopes that this will be sorted soon and that they will expand their business to supply to more outlets.