Women’s Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLAs) in Hoima district have been challenged to turn their associations into Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) as one way to promote economic growth and social cohesion among them.
The call was made by the State Minister for Public Service, David Karubanga while meeting over 80 members of women’s VSLA groups from Katugo village, Mbombo sub-county, Hoima district.
They had visited the minister, who is also the MP for Kirobya County, at his home on Sunday to share with him the challenges they face as women in regard to access to service delivery.
In his address, Karubanga noted that the formation of SACCOs will open doorways for women to benefit from government programs such as the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP) and Operation Wealth Creation, among others.
“We need to mobilize everyone to engage in big income-generating activities such as goat rearing and piggery. You can form goats, poultry, and piggery SACCOs which will help you to earn better money for socio-economic development than the VSLA,” Karubanga advised.
He promised to support the women’s SACCOs by lobbying for experts to train the groups and by getting them quality goat breeds so that they can engage in modern farming.
However, Juliette Kunihira, a member of Twimukyagane Saving and Loans Associations from Katugo village says that most women in the villages are not aware that these programs exist and are left out as a result.
“Generally, we have been left out of different government programs, we hear that people receive inputs and money from UWEP, but we have never seen them. This is the reason we have come to our MP to help because our women leaders do not mind about us,” she said and called for increased information sharing about available opportunities by local leaders.
Joyce Katusiime, the Coordinator of over 40 VSLAs and a member of Kikokona Mukama Murungi VSLA in Kirobya Town Council, said that VSLAs have helped them to uplift their households.
“However, because of lack of information and income-generating activities, some have collapsed due to members who borrow and then fail to pay back the loans,” Katusiime said.
She commended Hon. Karubanga for his pledge to support them in forming SACCOs, adding that they are optimistic this move will improve their lot even more than VSLAs have.
Annet Mugenyi, the Hoima district Women’s League Treasurer and Chairperson for Kirobya sub-county Women’s League admitted to the challenges faced by the women’s VSLAs, which she blamed on inadequate information resulting from lack of sensitization.
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