Micro-Credit For Families Of Malnourished Children
As part of Change for Children’s Agriculture & Micro-Credit to Combat Infant/Child Mortality Project, the micro-credit loans component has the potential to make lasting and sustainable change in the region.
Change for Children’s partner organization, KIHEFO, has extensive experience providing micro-credit loans in the community through a proven method of categorizing people into 4 levels and providing training, follow up and counseling to them according to their abilities. Micro-credit loans will be available in the following categories:
- For entrepreneurs who have proven themselves to be hard working and successful at producing quality products for market. These entrepreneurs must involve other community members in their work, and as well, participate as leaders in their local groups to help spread local benefits.
- For emerging entrepreneurs who require capital to purchase pigs, goats and chickens, so that they can rear them to supplement the diet of their families, along with selling them for cash generation.
- For people who are struggling to feed their families and deal with HIV/AIDS illness. Micro-credit at this level will involve access to animals for rearing and sale, as a well as access to seeds and land for agriculture, so they can diversify the family diet and generate income for other necessities.
Regional Context & Challenges:
The combination of civil strife and the HIV/AIDS pandemic has created many challenges for Ugandans, including extreme poverty, malnutrition and agricultural loss. Many children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and thus taken in by extended family members – mostly single mothers and grandmothers who are already managing large house-holds. These caregivers, particularly women, often lack access to land, seeds, animals and agricultural technology for providing food security within their households and larger communities. Many families living in the area simply need a helping hand in the form of a small investment for increasing agricultural production or enhancing entrepreneurial skills and abilities.
KIHEFO (Kigezi Healthcare Foundation) has been promoting community development projects in the Kabale region of Uganda for over ten years.
Many of their programs have been implemented to better support HIV/AIDS positive families through comprehensive emotional, social and nutritional counseling.
This project includes micro loans of $220 each to 500 families. Our goal through UEnd is to finance 25 of these loans for a total of $5,500.
Update from the field: December 2011
Over the past 6 months (since May 2011), KIHEFO’s micro-credit programming in Kabale, Uganda has made a positive impact on the beneficiary community. While only 23 families were targeted to benefit from the original project proposal, 37 families have accessed the micro-credit revolving fund (loans totalling over $6000) – directly benefiting over 214 orphans who are supported by participating families. Families used their micro-loans to access seeds (including cabbage, Irish potatoes, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes) and small livestock (goats, pigs and chickens). The key challenges to the project were the unexpected effects of a longer rainy season (extending into September) but all beneficiaries still managed to pay back their loans. The potential for success provided by the micro-loan fund has inspired interest from other poor families, and demand for the fund continues to grow.
Females were over 50% of those to receive loans and benefit from the program. The following story addresses how one woman has transformed her family’s lives through participation in the micro-credit loan program.
“Jacinta is a young woman in her mid thirties. She had always wished to have her own enterprise which she could carry out alone without her husband’s interference but had always been disturbed by the husband who bought her seedlings and later claimed that the garden was his and sold the garden of vegetables without consulting her. Jacinta was always disappointed to find out that the husband had always sold their garden without consulting her. When she was attending a meeting for their village group she learnt that KIHEFO was going to support her group request with agro based inputs. Her only prayer was that she becomes one of the beneficiaries which later came to pass and she was finally given carrot and cauliflower seeds. This time she managed to convince the husband that these seeds had been given by the group and a certain percentage was supposed to be returned to the group after harvest. When her Vegetables were finally ready she sold the two gardens and managed to get UGX 1,700,000/= She refunded back to the group UGX 100,000. She used the rest of the funds cleared her children’s school fees and saved 200,000/=) in the group to help in case of future emergencies for her family.
Update from the field: May 2011
On Jan. 31, 2011, Change for Children and KIHEFO submitted a proposal to CIDA’s Muskoka Initiative Partnership Program focusing on newborn, child and maternal health in Kigezi, Uganda – a country that currently has the 15th highest rate of infant mortality and the 20th highest rate of maternal mortality in the world. The proposed project would expand the current micro-credit, agricultural training and nutrition counselling activities, and eco-stove distribution, and broaden the focus to improving health and medical infrastructure and strengthening community responses to maternal and child health.