Small business & micro loans Program
In Uganda, there are two areas which we focus on. Danida, in the province of Jinja, is one of the poorest regions in the country, and the Acholi Quarter in Kampala, where many people live on only $1 a day. To help with this crisis, our partners at Entrepreneurs Hand Uganda (EHU) conducted various interviews and training sessions with the people of our 22STARS group in both Jinja and Kampala.
We could see different challenges that were impeding the growth of their business, such as illiteracy, poor time management and a negative outlook regarding business growth. Many of the attendees were also concerned with sharing their difficulties in running a business, even though the group could help to find solutions.
In 2017, 22STARS partnered with EHU, to give Community Entrepreneurship training to the families of our 22STARS children in the Danida Area of Jinja and the Acholi Quarter in Kampala. The families first received an intensive four week training from EHU. Together with EHU we created in-depth personal profiles for each participant to see how we could help them the most. We then gave the participants small loans, set up a saving system, and monitored their progress.The most common small businesses our beneficiaries started were: food stalls, hospitality, clothing (tailoring and thrift stores), and local transport (mototaxi).
Alongside the small business program, we also empower 42 women through our 22STARS jewellery project. However, as jewellery production is dependent on the demand from the Western market, our women do this only on an order basis and we encourage them to run their own locally based businesses. If you would like to know more about how your jewellery purchase helps the women and children, check out our artisan page.
Lasting growth depends on the empowerment of communities through education, skill-building, control of natural resources, and effective interaction with society and their governments . The best way to move forward is to ensure that the families of the children we work with can become self-sustainable. Availability of small, but repeated loans is, in the long-term, expected to positively impact their poverty.
We provided interest-free loans to 64 people of our 22STARS group to enable them to initiate and grow their business ideas and micro enterprises. The first round was successful and the beneficiaries could pay back the loan and saw their businesses grow.