Nov 2013 20

What to do with a little bit of money in northern Uganda?

Posted in News

By Onen Zacchaeus & Kitty Paulus

Harvest is the one of the most important times of the year for GRG groups. They are busy selling their crops, pineapples, green peppers, tomatoes, and many others.  This provides them with some much needed income. But how do you make that money count and how can you use that money to build a brighter future for your family, when you live in a poor region that is only slowly recovering from 20 years of war?

Moreover, some members imagined that it’s only possible to borrow money from a bank, but there is no bank in the remote areas where GRG members live. So they thought they were stuck, no money to borrow and no money for investments!Through interactions with group members, the GRG-staff found that few members knew how to save money or how to make their money grow. Many members spend lots of money on short-term festive celebrations, like birthdays or weddings.

Some GRG group members had heard about ‘Bol li cup’ or Village Savings and Loans Associations, but they did not know exactly how it could help them or how it would work in practice. To learn more about ‘Bol li cup’ they talked to the GRG-staff, who got so excited about the idea that they helped the group members to organize a ‘Bol li cup’ training and they provided some basic  input like a cash box and recordkeeping books to help them  kick-off their savings projects.

GRG has trained all of its groups in Bol li cup. The training covered the importance of saving money at the group level, managing group savings and how to invest the money. And of course record keeping, because proper economic records can help to prevent disputes about  money, just like at home!

Bol li cup has made individual members more economic sustainable as it helps them to pay their children’s school fees, buying seeds and clearing new land to increase the harvest for next year. One member has used her savings to start her own restaurant, which makes the best chicken in Palabek village!

Another woman has started a small trading business where she buys small supplies and materials in the trading centre 15 miles away and then resells them  at a small shop in her village.

“It helped me a lot to support my family”, a happy group member to GRG.

Just a little bit of support and the entrepreneurial  ideas are popping up. This is one of the ways that GRG groups help to rebuild northern Uganda, while improving the lives of their families and the rest of the village!




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