Karamoja, the region we currently serve, has only recently emerged from decades of conflict and is Uganda’s most deprived region. It has the highest percentage of people with no education, the highest rates of infant mortality, and the highest rates of female genital mutilation within the country (UBS & ICF International, 2012). Our needs assessments show that 53% of target communities live below the extreme poverty line of $1.90 a day (PPP) and 84% live on less than $2.50 a day (PPP).
With a population of about 40 million people, Uganda is rapidly growing with an average of nearly six children per family. The country relies heavily on agriculture, with most rural communities engaged in subsistence level farming of maize, millet, bananas, and casava. Poverty levels remain high and in rural areas access to electricity and education are limited.
Five Talents supported Five Talents Uganda from its inception until 2016, through grant funding and technical support. Five Talents has enabled more than 15,000 financially excluded members across 5 dioceses in Uganda to access financial services (savings, loans and insurance) along with training and mentoring. Thanks to the recycling of funds as loans are made and repaid again and again, in total an incredible £4.3m has revolved in small (each typically less than £150) loans during this period. This represents an enormous boost to rural economies and vulnerable households.
In line with our policy to focus on replicating our savings-led programmes, we moved to a ‘post-funding partnership’ with Five Talents Uganda in 2016 and launched a new savings groups programme in the region of Karamoja.
In April 2017, our local partner staff began training beneficiaries in small groups. Currently, the programme has 2,000 members. Members receive literacy and numeracy training alongside our usual business skills training and financial services. Our local partner is the Karamoja Integrated Development Services (KIDS), which is linked with the Anglican Diocese of Karamoja, but (like all of our programmes) is governed by a local board and is legally and financially separate from the local church. KIDS has a team of five staff all of whom are experienced community trainers.