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A Women's Group- ten years on

Updated: Nov 7, 2018

These are the women who are members of the BUTINDUWE Self-Help group in the Manafwa district of Uganda. They began as a Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) group of 20 ladies in 2007. They have continued meeting and changed themselves into a self-help group.

The group now comprises of 13 original members and 7 new members. They have re-started the FAL training material for the benefit of the new members. More ladies want to join their group but this would upset the balance and particularly their savings kitty which belongs to the members. But they do accept new members at the start of each year to replace any who have moved, died or stopped for any reason.

The women sell vegetables, firewood, etc. to generate some income and then they save until finally they can buy poultry or goats for each member. The final result of their efforts is that they can afford to pay school fees for their children. So, although most of these women grew up illiterate, they are going to make the next generation literate.

80% of the women in their area are illiterate. They are one of 20 groups which started in

Manafwa in 2007 and they are still all there progressing. Others who failed to join in at that stage are regretting as they've seen the original members come out of poverty.

Negotiated at this meeting on their request was some support to give three orange trees to each group member as a reward for their faithfulness and success. But of more importance was the agreement with the umbrella body, MECDO, Mount Elgon Community Development Organisation, now a registered CBO (community based organisation), to receive some training in tree grafting so that all 21 groups in MECDO can start benefiting from a joint tree nursery with grafted trees which mature more quickly to bear fruit. The organised nature of the Manafwa FAL groups and MECDO is their strength. Afrinspire has assisted Rose Ekitwi in starting 77 FAL groups since 2007 (twelve in the past 18 months) and the groups persist a long time after completing the initial 3 to 5 year course.

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