Strengthening Families Through Financial Literacy Training in Uganda

Holt photographer Micaela Rahimian shares photos taken during a recent trip to Uganda of Holt-supported village savings groups — an initiative that empowers women to build financial stability for their families.

In the rural villages of Uganda where Holt sponsors and donors support children and families, Holt leads savings groups that teach parents, particularly mothers, how to earn money and save together. Through financial literacy training, these women are learning as a community how to make and sell goods, grow crops, buy and raise livestock, and become businesswomen in the hopes of bettering themselves and supporting their families.

With a small initial investment from Holt donors, these groups of women then pool their money together and are then able to take out loans from the group to grow their business or address an urgent need such as a home repair. They pay the money back on a schedule, thus replenishing the fund so other women can borrow as needed. Some Holt savings groups have existed for longer than three years and experienced the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the savings and loan groups, many of their businesses would not have survived financially — and their families would have struggled to afford food and other basic necessities.

A village savings group in Uganda that provides financial literacy training to women
One of our most successful groups — Mukono District Savings Group — named themselves “Grace of God.” Together they have saved nearly 4 million Ugandan shillings (a little over $1,000 USD) since October 2021.
Each woman in the savings group has their own book (pictured below) where they keep track of the money they have saved and contributed to the group account as well as any loans they have taken out and when they’ve paid it back. The books are kept in a grey safe (pictured above) that has four different locks on it, and four different women from the group each keep a key so it can only be opened when everyone is together.
As part of financial literacy training, women in village savings groups keep track of their earnings, contributions and loans in these notebooks
The women speak so highly of their group, not only because of how much it has taught them, but how it has brought them all together as friends, united their children and made their children “really happy.”
The Bazadde Kujagaana Village Savings Group named themselves “Group of Happy Parents,” and it truly showed when the members spoke with such pride about their accomplishments as a group. Their savings have gone towards buying livestock, starting microbusinesses, and school fees and uniforms for their children.
Members make and sell woven crafts at local markets to earn and save money for their group. What started as a craft club turned into a means to add to their savings.
Through financial literacy training, one group learned to grow crops to sell and earn money, which they then invest in the group savings.
Twekembe Village Savings Group displays all of the different types of crops they grow and sell to earn money — including sugar cane, squash, coffee beans and much more. This group has graduated from Holt’s support and operates completely independently!
Parents from our “graduated” savings group display some of the crops they grow and sell at the local markets.
Boy carrying crop in Uganda

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