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Boosting wealth creation through community-led projects

After research found that only 17 per cent of the rural population across Uganda had access to a financial institution, Build Africa developed an accessible community-led savings and loans structures for 22,242 poor and marginalised households.

At the time, Ugandan communities told the charity that they lacked any form of savings or loans to provide for their families and often had no alternative form of income, surviving merely on their small subsistence farms. Micro-finance was not an appropriate solution in these communities due to high-cost borrowing and interest charges.

In response, Build Africa created the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) project which works with Ugandan communities to develop wealth creation through self-managed VSLAs.

VSLAs run over a cycle of around 50 weeks. During this time, people in rural Uganda have access to savings with interest, loans with affordable charges and a welfare fund – an interest-free loan which can be accessed in emergencies.

VSLA groups are supported through the different stages of development by community-based trainers who provide basic business training and help each community set up appropriate financial structures.

At the end of May 2011, for the groups which finished their first cycle, the return on savings averaged 41 per cent.

VSLAs also boosted self-esteem and empowerment, especially among women who made up 68 per cent of the members. Enoch Omidi, whose wife joined a local VSLA, commented: “My wife came home one day with a substantial amount of money. When she shared her suggestions for how to use the money, I had no option but to listen.”

Build AfricaGavin Salmon
Head of major gifts
Build Africa
Second Floor, Vale House, Clarence Road, Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 1HE
Tel: 01892 501 064
gavin@build-africa.org.uk
CC reg no: 298316

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