Savings and development in Uganda

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Nov 26 2012, 00:01:19

The local Village Savings and Loans Association is turning the residents of Soroti, in eastern Uganda, into savers and entrepreneurs who no longer have to rely on the support of outside organisations

"Why should I again begin begging for support from the outside?" asks Phoebe Ageo, throwing her hands up dismissively, as she sits up straight in the middle of her farm compound in Soroti, eastern Uganda. "I don't believe in asking for money. The best word for this is 'begging'."

Although Ageo lives in one of the poorest districts of the country, in the past few years her situation has improved considerably. Chickens and goats wander in the fields, and the circular expanse of red earth with the thatched houses belonging to Ageo's extended family is surrounded by lush banana and mango trees. In the distance, flanked by weighty corn stalks, harvested seeds are drying in the sun, ready to be taken to the market.

Like most of her neighbours, Ageo started taking part in the local Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) four years ago. The scheme was initiated by CARE International and implemented in Soroti by the NGO, Uganda Women's Effort to Save Orphans (Uweso). Instead of relying on handouts and loans from outside organisations, villagers are trained to become savers and entrepreneurs.

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