In our economic empowerment program, WORI aims at empowering Ugandan women with knowledge, skills, and financial resources. Many women in Uganda do not own land or property making it hard for them engage in meaningful businesses to develop their lives and those of their families. Often the women start small scale businesses selling groceries, fruits, second-hand clothes, charcoal, or firewood. Some of the challenges they usually face is the inability to have access to credit and loan facilities from banks and micro financial institutions because they lack collateral and organized business plans/ projections. WORI works with these women through organizing them in groups partnering with local leaders who then form organized self-help groups with both women and youth. The women are involved in the identification of business management trainings with emphasis on key concepts in developing a business plan, setting up profitable businesses using available resources, book keeping savings and credit, conflict management, and group cohesion.
Additionally WORI enables the groups to have access to low interest loans in a revolving fund system. The uniqueness about this program is the ability to have business trainings and access credit without the hurdles of presenting collateral. The only requirement to participate is an organized group of women who have existing businesses who are willing to stick together and save together. The program monitors group businesses and ensures that they save on a weekly basis.
For the last three years we have worked with 36 groups comprising of 15 people each, reaching out to approximately 540 women. Through this, we have seen tremendous growth of women’s business and savings. Some of these women have been able to buy assets such as bicycles that ease transportation of their goods to markets, livestock including goats and cows for milk and meat production, business assets items like sewing machines, grinding machines for maize and ground nuts for alternative incomes, and household items. Most importantly, the trickle down effects have benefited the children through provision of basic and scholastic needs. Best, WORI has seen only a few instances of men taking the money from women hindering their economic freedom.