Examples of beneficiaries in Uganda
“Women are stronger together”
“Together we are able to achieve more”, became the motto of these women living in a small village. Ten women, under the leadership of Betty Kibode, joined forces to form a cooperative selling pineapples, mangoes, and passion fruits for juicing. The business plan was a cooperative project, where each woman applied for a loan of 75 US-Dollar for a cumulative 750 US Dollar. With the funds they purchased containers for the prepared fruits, a juicer, and a device for the sealing of plastic bags. Each of the ten women frequently contributes an agreed quantity of fruits and helps with the processing of the juices, which is then transferred into the plastic bags. The marketing is also accomplished by the women – with high success. They sell their juice to local shops and schools in their area. Each of the ten women were able to repay their loan within a timely manner. With their profits and a second loan, business operations were expanded further. They purchased more packaging material, printed labels, and new equipment for the sealing of the plastic bags. Leading by example, women who intelligently consolidated business plans and diversified. A joint purpose and collaborative work pay off and secures against seasonal fluctuations. Cooperative business models as well as diversification meet the fundamental core values of Swisshand.
“My dream was to earn a sufficient income as a seamstress”
Maria Kolonga is a widow with five children. After her husband’s death, she fell into a fragile financial situation. She was unable to financially cover the basic needs of her family and knew no way out. Until she was made aware of the microcredit programme by the village leader and sought out the programme coordinator, quickly becoming a turning point for her life.
As an experienced seamstress, she has long dreamt of managing her own small business. The coordinator quickly took notice of her feasible business model: a potential customer base for children’s clothing was existent and Maria Kolonga had proven herself to be proactive and determined. Together they generated a simple business model, with which Maria received a loan of 120 US-Dollar for the duration of six months. Shortly after a completed training course containing the elementary skills needed for successful business management, Maria purchased a sewing machine as well as various colourful fabrics, using her loan. With immense joy, she began sewing simple children’s clothing. From the start she was able to sell her clothes well. Her business developed as she had hoped. On a steady monthly basis, she was able to punctually repay her instalments, until the entirety of the loan was amortised. And so, Maria had quickly progressed from a financially unstable widow to a respectable businesswoman. Her self esteem rose. She became a new woman.
Four women, who live in close proximity to Lake Victoria, had built up an interesting business model: a process chain involving dried silverfish. Each of the four women are independent entrepreneurs; although they work together closely, similar to a cooperative. With their loans – each receiving 100 US-Dollar – they collectively rented a storage shed near the lakeshore, becoming the focal point of their business. The four women work together with four fishermen, who operate a fishing boat, as well as with two women who dry, sort, and pre-package the caught fish in bags. The four entrepreneurs also organise their sale, as well as their transport to the customers and distributers, allowing for the complete value chain to be centrally controlled by them. As a result of the cooperative operation, they are in a position of continuous supply and delivery, allowing them to request a better price. The establishment of a financial buffer allows them to be financially secured even during the rainy seasons, when the drying of the fish at the lakeshore is not possible. Seasonal fluctuations recoup the four women, as they are able to cultivate fruits and vegetables during off times. Moreover, one of the women has recently also begun to purchase, cure, and sell tilapia and Nile perch.
“Today I am a hard-working businesswoman”
Nuulu Mulondo lives in the east of Uganda. In her village of Busandha (district of Kamuli), she has a small business in a commercial centre. Nuulu is married and mother to twelve children. Her husband is a Boda-boda-driver, a traditional motorcycle taxi in East Africa. However, the income earned by the father is not sufficient for the family. Nuulu Mulondo is very thankful for Swisshand. She was able to participate in a programme making her a small-scale entrepreneur. For such she was trained: she learned how a business is established and led and that starting capital is not adequate for a successful business, but also loan repayments and continuous investments. Moreover, she learned that without disciplined budgeting, a business will not function. Under careful instruction, she developed a business plan. The idea had already been founded: in light of her husband’s job as taxi driver, but also the multitude of motorcycles and cars which persistently journey through the village, she took notice of the far-off petrol station which was nowhere near her busy village. With her loan from Swisshand worth 300’000 Ugandan shillings (nearly 90 CHF), she built up a petrol station – not a modern one with a petrol pump as we know it. Nuulu simply pours the petrol out of the plastic canisters into the tanks of her customers. Her business is running excellently.