For decades, Uganda suffered under the tyranny of a succession of dictators. The war that has been simmering in the north of the country for more than twenty years has forced 1.6 million people to flee their villages. Nevertheless, the steady rates of growth in the south have been impressive. Little or no benefit from this positive development have filtered up to the north. Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world. The average income hovers below one dollar a day. In the south, around 40 per cent of the population are living below the poverty line and in the north this figure rises to 70 per cent. Uganda is an agrarian country. If the people are to escape this poverty through their own efforts any support provided must be centred on agriculture.
The project aims to improve access to adequate financial services from sustainable SACCOs and other financial institutions for disadvantaged populations in the northern regions, such as Agricultural Value Chain Actors (producers, processors and traders); Farmers, Medium, Small & Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) in a professional, profitable and sustainable manner.
The Project works through 3 intervention areas:
- Development of financial products and support to institutional structures. With financial products meeting their needs, farmers and other players along the agricultural value chain could improve their income through increased production, processing and marketing.
- Strengthening of rural Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) towards profitability and sustainability. Technical assistance is provided directly to 6 large and indirectly to over 4 smaller SACCOs through Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) via a Data Services Centre.
- Promotion of the use of the Performance Monitoring Tool (PMT) as a nationally accepted reporting standard with needs assessment among users, improvement of the quality of data submitted to the Association of Microfinance Institutions in Uganda (AMFIU).
- 3 Uganda Cooperative Alliance Micro finance field officers trained and supported to improve SACCO’s performances
- 4 SACO’s semi-automated
- A total of 7 financial products developed in areas of community banking, gender responsive agricultural savings and loan, savings and agricultural marketing, and farmer villages and loan association.
- Over 100 SACCO staff and board members were trained in governance, credit management, risk management, business planning, accounting and ICT.
- Information hub established for stakeholders and Microfinance industry
- Uniform book keeping system, forms, documents and standards developed for SACCOs
- Training and technical support to SACCO members, staff, management and board members provided
- Improved internal control processes of MFIs
- Six supported SACCOs improved their performance and member savings increased to UGX 10,9 billion;
- Loan portfolios increased to UGX 7,3 billion (CHF 76.8 Million), portfolio risk decreased by 5% and female membership increased by 25%.