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Meron Yomcwiny on why women need greater access to finance

03 November 2020

Meron Yomcwiny on why women need greater access to finance

Meron Yomcwiny, Coordinator of Farm Africa’s Livestock for Livelihoods project in Uganda, visited the Nakapiripirit district to see the Kalekede Women’s Livestock Group.

The project has supported the group to set up a Village Savings and Loan Association where women can unite and save together to support each other’s businesses.

In this vlog, Meron discusses why it’s so important for women within the region to have better access to finance.

“We are here in Nakapiripirit district with a group of women called Kalekede women’s group who are being supported by Farm Africa. Here the group conducts their weekly savings.

"Members contribute to the goat fund, which is to support the group’s care of the goats: they are able to use this money to buy medicine and ensure the Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) spray their goats.

“They also save to the welfare fund; this is an emergency fund that supports the members to manage emergencies such as sickness of a family member or any other need that requires them to have some money to spend. Members borrow from the emergency fund and pay it back with no interest. That is the beauty with the welfare fund: it enables members to pay back without any additional charges.

“After the welfare savings, members save in the savings basket. After the savings, the total is tallied and the treasurer announces how much has been saved for the day and also announces if there are members who are willing to take loans. Now, currently some members are taking loans for the various businesses that they have.

“The unique thing about this group is that most of the members have small businesses. With the loan they take they are able to invest in these businesses. 

“One important thing I would like to say about giving women access to finance is traditionally it’s a woman’s role to ensure there is food for the family, the children have clothing, the children are going to school and when they are sick they access medical services.

"Once a woman accesses finances she is in a better position to meet all the needs of the family. Giving a woman access to finance means empowering her to access the basic needs of the household, and that’s what Farm Africa strives to do.”

With support from Jersey Overseas Aid and UK aid from the UK government, Farm Africa’s Livestock for Livelihoods project helps pastoralist women in Karamoja, Uganda, and South Omo, Ethiopia, to set up goat-rearing enterprises in order to improve diets and economically empower women.

Want to find out more?

Farm Africa and photographic agency Panos Pictures have launched the exhibition Goat Power, a collection of photos by Chris de Bode that explores how Farm Africa is unlocking the power of goats to transform the lives of rural women. The exhibition runs until Friday 6 November at More London Riverside, London SE1, or is available to see online here.