Uganda – Day 2 – part 2


Day 2 – Part 2
I decided that I really couldn’t squeeze everything into one post today n

This afternoon we have privilege of visiting one of the Village Savings and (VSLA) groups. It was about a 30 minute drive from our hotel accommodation (pretty good really bearing in mind it isn’t on the tourist route). The drive took us down what I would have considered some dirt tracks, passing on the way an occasional house with small children and scrawny goats and chickens wandering about outside .

When we arrived we were greeted by 25 women all wearing bright yellow tshirts bearing the logo of This is Epic and the name of the group. What a welcome! When I leave Africa I am going to demand that I am greeted in this way. They sang to us we swayed our way to a tree bearing Jack Fruit (smells like vomit apparently) and proceeded to greet us with more songs.

They then got down to business and started the process of the group. Ok in Very simple terms here is what happens…

Each group consists of 15-30 members and each member saves a weekly amount into a locked box which has three key holders. In this group each time they put in 2000 Ugandan shillings they received a stamp in their loan book which was one share. Some were saving up to 5 shares each time but if they were unable to afford it they didn’t have to contribute.

Each week there is a compulsory 500 Ugandan shilling payment to the Welfare money. This money is accessible even outside of group time should a member have an emergency. It has to be repaid but does not have interest added.

Throughout the process the members are able to borrow from the fun and this is repaid with interestThe term of each loan cycle is 8-12 months and at the end of the cycle the money is divvied up according to their savings with interest.

The group was fascinating. They have a particular process and order in which they do things and they were meticulous with their book keeping. In particular at one point there was a discrepancy between the ledger and the cash that was in the bowl so they recounted and recounted and then they all counted out loud together until it was resolved.

It was amazing. So insisting to hear the stories of the women and how VSLA and This is Epic is changing their lives. I had not expected to feel so emotional about it and on more than one occasion I could feel the tears pricking the back of my eyelids. The money that we raise in Guernsey is life changing. Without a doubt it changes everything for these families.

I also met this gorgeous little baby who was called Giovanni. I could have smuggled him away with me. Just gorgeous.

Written by Anna Williams in: This is Epic | Tags:

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