MICROFINANCE IN ACTION IS NOW A DIRECT LENDER TO ENTREPRENEURS IN JINJA, UGANDA!
Through a collaboration with SME Uganda in Jinja, Uganda, we are proud to announce that we are now direct lenders to local entrepreneurs working to establish businesses in order to provide self-sufficient funding to create a financially secure life for their families. In an effort to learn more about microfinance from the ground up, students decided to make direct loans to SME Uganda, a micro enterprise company in Jinja. Repayment of the loans will go into a "lending pool" at SME Uganda that will be used to make further loans to individuals and/or groups in the Jinja area to build community initiative and poverty eradication. In addition, goods and services produced by these entrepreneurs will be sold not only community wide but as main suppliers to COSIER Orphanage (currently another project we are working on in Jinja to create a sustainable poultry farm to sell eggs at market to provide self-sufficiency and development for a secure financial future without having to rely on future aid.) It is our belief that bringing the community together through mutually beneficial business transactions will provide benefits that will then domino into long-term prosperity for all involved.
LOANS MADE TO DATE:
Sustain Micro Enterprises(SME) is a non-profit Microfinance organization that started in 2010 with a dedication to empower, transform and sustain the lives of the vulnerable women operating small businesses in local communities. The organization is fully registered and incorporated as a non-profit under registration number 172199. The organization is located in Uganda, Jinja-Buikwe, Eastern region of Uganda.
The organization works specifically with the vulnerable groups of women in hard to reach and underserved communities including widows, grandmothers, HIV infected mothers, Divorced mothers and other categories of women vulnerability.
Sustain Micro Enterprises provides women with small loans ranging between $74-$1200. All small loans are provided through the group methodology since the women do not have collateral hence the group is used as security towards accessing all loans.
We fund several women businesses including retail shops businesses, brick-making businesses, agricultural/farming businesses, grocery businesses, restaurant businesses, charcoal businesses, second-hand cloth businesses, poultry businesses, livestock Businesses, small bakery businesses, local brewing businesses, beauty salon businesses, water sale businesses, sand sale businesses, drug shop businesses, tailoring business and many more.
How did Sustain Micro Enterprises Start?
Growing up in a community where women did not own property and were denied access to financial freedom, Samuel Wanyagira was inspired to start Sustain Micro Enterprises Uganda to help the vulnerable women regain their financial and social freedom.
In 2010, Samuel Wanyagira the Founder and Executive Director of Sustain Micro Enterprises was inspired to start giving small loans using his savings to the vulnerable women in helping them to attain financial access and freedom.
With only $113, Sustain Micro Enterprises was able to provide the first small loans to a group of five vulnerable women in a remote village called “Kikwanya”. With $113, each member of the group received a loan of $22.6 which they used to invest in their respective small businesses. To monitor the small loans given out, we met weekly with the women to check on their businesses and collect the repayments. With the good repayments from the group of five women, Samuel was impressed and believed that the vulnerable women can repay their loans faithfully if helped to join small community groups. Thus we moved out to mobilize resources for the women who otherwise would not have accessed any loan just because they do not own collateral.
Today what started with only $113 for a group of five women in a local community has seen Sustain Micro Enterprises grow to serve over 80 vulnerable women, Bringing financial freedom and accessibility to many women who for long time had been denied this right and opportunity.
Sustain Micro Enterprises Board of Directors
Samuel Wanyagira-Executive Director
Mary Batuwa Mukisa
Sarah has served as the Business Mentor Director and Accountant since shortly after Sustain Micro Enterprises was founded. She works closely with the Business Mentors. Sarah helps with procedures and tracking the organization’s finances. She works with the Business Mentors on evaluating women businesses and loans and provides necessary feedback to the Business Mentors about each individual borrower. She also works hard to ensure that all women who apply for loans receive them on time.
Our Vision: We dream to see a community where women businesses thrive to sustain lives. We believe that the growth of women businesses will enhance their capacity to support and provide for their families and increase household incomes.
Our Mission: To empower, transform and sustain communities in God’s way through the provision of Finance, Education, Social support and Business Opportunities.
Our Core Values:
What we do
At Sustain Micro Enterprises, we take pride in being the first microfinance organization to work in the most neglected and underserved communities in Uganda. Although Microfinance is our core activity and program, Sustain Micro Enterprises also provides others services to achieve a holistic transformation in the lives of the vulnerable women. The extra programs that our organization does include Adult education and Reproductive Health support.
Provide Small Loans to Women in Business, Sustain Micro Enterprises offers micro loans to the vulnerable women in hard to reach and underserved communities where most financial institutions have neglected. Sustain Micro Enterprises provides all loans to the women without security being provided but we use the group as security for the loans. Our loans are collateral free because most of the vulnerable women do not own any property, land or valuable items at their homes which are most times required as collateral. The vulnerable women we serve do not entirely qualify for a loan anywhere in the bank because they do not have the collateral required. While providing the micro loans, our approach is to ensure that each vulnerable woman gets an opportunity to access finances regardless of where they are located.
Our Approach to providing the Small Loans
Recognizing that most of the vulnerable women in the communities do not have any collateral or security to support their loans, Sustain Micro Enterprises decided to provide micro loans to the women without any security required. To achieve this, we use the group loan approach to support the vulnerable women to access micro loans.
Sustain women groups
How does SME Group Loan Approach Work?
Vulnerable women living within the same community and clearly know and trust each other, come together to form a group and achieve the same goal. A total of 12 women become members to a group, they come up with simple bye-laws to guide their group and undergo business training from the organization. The group of 12 women agrees to work together and support each other during the loan and saving process.
It is through the group that Sustain Micro Enterprises is able to provide the small loans. The group therefore acts as security for the loan that the organization provides, thus loans given out are based on social capital and the trust that the women generate between each other. In case of any challenge in repayment, the women work together to solve the challenge.
The group of women meets weekly to repay the loans, attend adult literacy classes, share the challenges and successes and of course seek advice to improve their businesses.
The group acts as a conduit through which Sustain Micro Enterprises communicates with the women several social or economic issues. It is through the group that we provide counseling to the women, communicate loan policies, provide adult literacy training, collect loans and support the women undergoing challenging situations, members save and overall empowerment. The group therefore is vital tool where positive relationships are nurtured, women supported and empowered holistically.
Some of Sustain Women groups
Provide Adult education, Most of the vulnerable women in the community cannot read or write due to the fact that they grew up in poverty stricken communities. As we work with them especially in business, it is important that they learn simple mathematics and simple English for easy communication and numerical application. Therefore, we engage the vulnerable women into adult education using simple education materials which are easily understood and interpreted. We are proud to see most women get to learn some numerical and little grammar. In addition, some women are now able to sign on their documents due to this adult literacy program.
Women undergo the adult education sessions
Business, Financial and Entrepreneurial trainings for women, Sustain Micro Enterprises supports and empowers the vulnerable women in small businesses with business, financial and entrepreneurship skills. When our women join the Sustain Loan program, they undergo business trainings before they qualify for any loan. The business training helps the women to attain key skills required to operate their businesses and also manage the small loans efficiently.
The business, financial and entrepreneurship trainings are provided in the local languages which are easily understood by the women. We realize that most women who are in small businesses lack essential skills which are vital to keep their businesses flourishing. Sustain Micro Enterprises provides the women with business and entrepreneurial skills in how to start and sustain a business, savings, skills in calculating their profit-Loss margins, customer care, marketing and business choices. To Sustain Micro Enterprises, business trainings for the women are a continuous process. Women undergo simple refresher trainings every month to keep them informed.
Some groups undergo Business, Financial and Entrepreneurial trainings
Reproductive health & Family planning
Most of the women we support lack reproductive health and family planning advice; they give birth to a high number of children who they cannot support. Henceforth, most children end up with poor health and unable to go to school. On average, majority of the women we work with have more than seven children, this is a big number of children that they cannot support with good education and health. And to worsen the matter, the women are not informed with reproductive health and family planning.
Therefore, Sustain Micro Enterprises uses the opportunity of the weekly meetings to communicate reproductive health and family planning information to the women. Through this service, our focus is to provide simple and clear messages that can help the women take care of themselves and produce the number of children they can take care of with the resources available at their exposure.
Women undergo a reproductive health session
Sustain Micro Enterprises is dedicated to supporting the vulnerable women here in Uganda who would otherwise receive no financial support anywhere without us. With the small loans provided to the women, many are now in position to feed their children, make a profit, save some money and live a meaningful life in regard to their dignity.
*For Sustainable Lives*
Sustain Micro Enterprises Uganda