3 programs: 1. Kituntu Womens Org. Buwama; 2. Special Children Special People Mpigi; 3. Katosi Women Mpatta

Project location: UGANDA
Project start date: January 2019 - Project end date: January 2024
Project number: 2019-021
Beneficiary: Foundation Open Hand

Foundation Open Hand (FOH) focuses on a targeted selection of poverty-stricken regions without access to self-help programs. 
In cooperation with local organisations FOH promotes Micro-enterprises for poverty reduction with the objective to develop villages and small towns in rural areas. FOH's activities include a combination of 
intensive training with an entrepreneurial focus, the assignment of small credits, counselling and assistance. Through these efforts, FOH enables primarily proactive women and their families in profoundly 
poor regions to pursue independent activities, allowing them to secure their livelihoods. FOH's target group is the lower level of the active poor people. The clients should like to start build-up or to develop 
a small business as a main occupation. The program focuses on the sector of productive micro-enterprises, like small scale manufacturing, tailoring, brick making, handicraft, food processing, l
umbering, cultivation of plants/seedlings, rearing cattle, etc. The main feature of the program  is to enable poor people at to become self-reliant and to get independent of loans. The number of consecutive 
loans per client is therefore limited. New programs are added on a regular basis, others again become self-sustained and independent.
1. Kituntu Women’s Org. Buwama: 75% of the population of Buwama Community is living with high levels of poverty, where youths and women are unemployed, backed by poor health services. Most of the area is enclosed with swamp reclamation, deforestation, soil degradation. Agriculture contributes only 22% of Uganda’s overall domestic production, and food production barely satisfies the demand of the rapid growing 
2. SCSP Mpigi: primarily a rural district where small scale farmers and business holders do not have access to Micro credit services. Poor women, Hiv+ persons and poverty-stricken families are trained on vocational skills but are not able to start their own business due to lack of startup capital. 
3. Katosi Mpatta: Mpatta sub-county is hard to reach and has no access to public transport. FOH's partner KWDT is working on hygiene and sanitation projects as well as women engagement in fisheries sector.

Establishing a new micro credit program in the region will enhance trained women in working in groups, business and fish processing skills to engage in income generating activities through increasing their access to credit.  

Swisshand Promic (Promotion of Micro-enterprise) is a specific type of development program for poverty reduction. It delivers: information, advice, business training, micro-credit and follow-up for individuals and groups. 
Before a program starts there must be promotion and information meetings at grassroots level for the potential clients and local leaders at community level, according to the Swisshand Guidelines. It consists of mainly two parts: 

- Information, training and guidance of the clients to enhance personal competences and managerial knowledge and skills to ensure the sustainable success of their small business ventures;
- small micro-credits for income-generation through market-based self-employment.

Each program will be based on a group lending methodology where solidarity groups of between 5 – 15 people form a borrowing group, but each person has her own business to start or run. The group members co-guarantee each other’s loans. There is no collateral, as the poor women and youth lack assets to stake for the loans. But the group members use peer pressure to ensure loan repayments are done on time and in full. The loan duration will be 4-6 months. The average loan amount should not exceed $ 140 in the first year of the program, $ 160 in the second and $ 200 in the following years. In extremely poor regions far from the country’s capital and for individual loans to members of a solidarity group the average loan amount should be lower. At least 10% of the required loan should be saved before loans applied for are processed and disbursed. Training continues throughout the loan term provided by the local partner team. Loan approval by the Program Committee or rejection with information about the disapproval to the applicant. Conclude written individual loan contract, or group by-laws for solidarity-groups. The repayments depend on the duration of the loan and must be fixed accordingly. The clients must repay their instalments on time. As the programme is working with small entrepreneurs with daily or weekly income, the repayments can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Normally the repayments are made in monthly instalments and for loans to members of a solidarity group on a weekly basis. Maintaining good financial records and updated information systems is important for the successful implementation. The partner institution, the Program Committee and the Program Coordinator make sure that there is a reliable book-keeping system.

The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project, that aims to lead poor women and families out of poverty by encouraging them to start or extend a small business activity, to give them more self-confidence and improve their housing, health care and the use of  educational opportunities, and supporting small shops, tailoring, carpenter factories etc. As a result, the whole communitiy profits from a better infrastructure. 

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