Albert is a member of “Rubanga Miyo” savings group. When THRIVEGulu introduced its programs to his village in 2012, Albert saw the promise of coming together with other members of his community to support one another. He joined the group and started saving everything he could.
During his second year in the group, members began to show trust in him and look to him as a leader. He was elected as the group’s secretary, and became responsible for recording the group members’ weekly savings and attendance.
In 2014, Albert received 300,000 UGX (just under $100) from his savings and other group income over the previous year. He used what he learned in THRIVEGulu’s business skills training program to open up a pig raising enterprise at his home in Layibi, just outside of Gulu town. He used that initial capital to buy three pigs, all the materials to construct a pig’s pen, and pig feed. It was the ideal project for him, and something he had always wanted to do.
A little over a year later, he sold all three pigs and the fourteen piglets he was able to rear from them to one of the larger scale farmers in a neighboring district. He sold it all for 1.5 million UGX- a 500% profit!
He planned to use what he earned to build a house for himself and his family, but he still needed a bit more to cover all those costs. Albert was able to borrow 700,000 UGX (about $200) from his group, at a low interest rate. He has now finished building his house, one room of which he rents to neighbors to safely store their important assets. In the past year, he was also able to buy a motor bike, which he uses as a local “boda boda” taxi service.
Today, because of his hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, Albert is able to pay for his children to go to good schools. He has no problem feeding his family, and they never go hungry. He is also still saving as much as he can with his group every week. He tells us: “My weekly group savings has increased a lot; I used to only save one thousand (about $0.30) each week, but now I can save fifty thousand (about $15) and above…I might have an even bigger plan ahead of me for the coming year 2018.”
Albert stands out in his community because of his dedication to working for a better life for himself and his family. Many of his male peers in the same community are wrought with a feeling of hopelessness and a systemic lack of opportunities, and have turned to drinking and gambling. Albert shows them a different path, where dedication and working together as a community can turn 1000 UGX into 1 million!
“I encourage all women and men to join savings groups immediately because it is one of the best ways to fight poverty, while also bringing communities together. Thanks to THRIVEGulu for creating and supporting such a developmental group. You showed us the light and enabled us to stand on our own to provide for our families,” says Albert.