These groups are a way for people to be given the tools they need to improve their own lives. Sometimes these tools include simple business training or basic financial learning; sometimes the tools are given from member to member in the form of support and encouragement and the chance to see what has worked for someone else.
In these programs, change often occurs when members learn to see things in a different way, and when change starts happening, hope and purpose are regained.
Oyeki Carmela is a member of the Mungujakisa self help group in the village of Got Ali, where she lives with her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.
Due to poor health, Oyeki was too weak to do heavy labor like digging in a garden. So her children decided to help her start a small business selling goods in a kiosk. But Oyeki had both a belief and a practice that made running her business a struggle. Oyeki believed she was too old to try to grow her business; she had a hard time imagining why she should invest in it. Oyeki was also in the habit of buying fish to eat four times a week, an expense that her small income could not support! These beliefs and practices interfered with her ability to earn income and take care of herself, further undermining her confidence.
But then Oyeki joined the Mungujakisa self help group and her perspective changed. In the group, she was encouraged to save for a purpose and helped to see that saving could be worthwhile. Seeing the success of others and receiving their encouragement motivated Oyeki to try saving for herself. She now invests most of what she makes back into her business and has been able to expand, adding soft drinks and salt to her inventory with plans for even more. If, after saving her planned amount, she has a little left over, then she buys fish for dinner!
World Renew Uganda