VE in partnership with BCFS support micro enterprise development
October 11, 2018
Village Enterprises (VE) in partnership with Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) with funding from the Arcus Foundation are implementing a project supporting micro-enterprise development. The project targets households that are more likely to be in abject poverty. VE takes the lead in field activities that directly develop business and savings groups. The project beneficiaries are mentored and taken through various training sessions on group dynamics and business group formation. After this, they are encouraged to create business groups comprising of three individuals that belong to a bigger umbrella group that is referred to as a business saving group. In the business saving group comprising of up to 30 members, group training and mentorship programs are consistently carried out. The training and mentoring programs are conducted by VE Business Mentors on a monthly basis. Each business group is visited at least once in a month with an objective of offering guidance and more training in areas such as record keeping, conflict resolution and any other business areas that are identified as challenging by project beneficiaries.
Mr. Peter Waswa a resident of Bulyango Village, Kabango Parish in Budongo Sub-county is one of the beneficiaries of this project. Peter is the household head, with more than five members depending on him for their livelihood. Before joining the project, Peter was a boda-boda rider and he also engaged in illegal timber harvesting activities from which he earned a meager and inconsistent pay of about 20,000UGX per week. He is currently a member of “Team no sleep” business group in Bulyango village. “Team no sleep” business group is made up of three individual beneficiaries Mr. Peter Waswa, Mr. Omirambe James and Mr. Ochama Penuel. They received seed capital of 330,000UGXfrom VE, and they each made their own individual contribution of 23,000UGX. As a group, theyinvested in a retail business were they sell petroleum in re-useable bottles in Bulyango trading centre. The decision was reached after the trio realised that there was a high demand for petrol in Bulyango. The group is now in position to raise at least 772,800UGX per month in sales. This is significant especially because Peter and his colleagues hardly had any regular income generating activity before they joined the project. As a result of good sales from the business, Peter was happy to note that his life and that of his other colleagues has changed. “We can now afford the basic household needs and can send our children to school”. Team no sleep has also gone ahead to buy one mature pig at 100,000UGX out of their profits from the petrol business. They are projecting to get more than 500,000UGX from the sale of piglets when the pig farrows. Peter in particular proudly states that, he now has more time with his family compared to the time before he joined the project when he used to spend his evenings out working late to earn a small income by ferrying timber and burning charcoal in the forest. Participating in this project has helped him to disassociate himself from taking part in illegal activities in the forest. Also, Peter feels that as a result of the mentoring program, group members remain focused on business and working together as a business saving group.