METGE boosts Bumeana Tsowatsowana Cluster Level Association saving group with a seed fund
In March, 2022, Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise, International Tree Foundation (ITF) and Masaka District LandCare Chapter (MADLACC) started implementing the Gender and Climate Justice Project with support and funding from Hub Crymru Africa and the Welsh Government.
This was a one-year project whose implementation ended in February, 2023. The project was implemented in Bushiende Sub County, Mbale District.
Among the project participants are the Bumeana Tsowatsowana Cluster Level Apex Saving and Loans Association. They have been supported with a seed fund of 13 million shillings. The women will be able to borrow money and also invest for their well being.
Bumeana Women pose for a photo after recieving assorted seeds of vegetables
This Apex body has 19 members and brings together nine (09) self-help group which comprises of 20 members . These are the groups at the lower levels.
The nine groups were trained with the support of the Community Development Officer from Bushiende sub county on group dynamics, constitution, savings and record keeping.
The training was meant to build their capacity such that there is improvement in the functionality of the groups as well as improvement in their savings.
According to Ms Deborah Nabulobi one of the participants and the secretary to this cluster level association, the seed fund that they have got has boosted their saving pool.
“Before we were saving but our savings could not allow us to do ventures like farming on a large scale. But with this seed fund given to us by METGE we will be able to purchase more agricultural inputs like seeds through borrowing. We will have more harvests and sale some extra produce to get money. The sales will help us pay back the loans, save cater for other basic needs and venture into other activities like poultry,” Ms Nabulobi says.
Some of the activities the women are willing to engage include, farming, tree planting since they have a women led nursery and are encouraging fellow women to also plant trees.
The women are optimistic and have big dreams which they want to realize and vow to engage is small scale businesses and also acquire property such as land.
Deborah Nabulobi holding eggs from her chicken. She has benefited from the seed fund and has invested in poultry.
However, they are doing this in consultation from their spouses. Bushiende is one sub county where men dominated and couldn’t allow their women to own property. But the narrative has changed and the men have allowed their women now to buy property for as long as it for the benefit of their household.
The women are committed and this explains why they satisfied METGE’s criterion to benefit from this fund.
The criterion, for one to benefit from the fund is that they should have engaged in tree planting and conduct sustainable land management practices. Most of the members are currently conducting both interventions.
For purposes of learning about the revolving fund, METGE took Bumeana women for an exchange visit to a group in Kapchebut in Kapchorwa that has successfully managed a revolving/seed fund.
This is because as METGE we want these women to be champions of promoting environmental conservation and the benefits that come with this in addition to saving for their welfare.
What is required of the members is that they will be saving monthly so that the money grows. The women also guided to open a bank account to ensure safety of the money.
They have also been guided to put committees in place to manage savings, loans and ensure payment of the loans i.e. executive committee, loans committee and loans repayment committee.