Banding together to lend each other a hand

KAMPALA (UGANDA) - If you walk into Springs of Goodwill Community Development Group in Makerere with nothing but hope and determination, there's a promise that things can change for the better.

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The small savings association encourages members to save money to start a business to take care of themselves, and every shilling counts. Its 48 active members meet twice a month and pay an attendance fee of 1,000 Ugandan shillings (48 Singapore cents) per head for each meeting, as well as a one-time membership fee of 5,000 Ugandan shillings. With these funds, they can help any member caught in a bind, such as facing a big hospital bill.

Each member is part of a "cash round", a savings scheme that groups them according to amounts they are able to save weekly and gives a week's collections to each member in turn.

Goodwill Community Development Group was started in 2012 by Mr James Tenywa, 46, who wanted to do something to improve the livelihoods of those in the community. "We may still have problems, but we have solutions too now... If one of our members has a problem, now they have somewhere to go. It gives us some dignity and hope."

CHRISTINE W. WANJALA

THE MONITOR (UGANDA)