Betty Lamunu, LWF Uganda, Jan 2011
Joweria Kizito, 50, a widow, walks to Kisenyi III Community Hygiene Unit clutching a couple of books in her hands, for the meeting of her savings group. She is the Collector of the members’ daily savings and keeps all the records which she carefully hands over to the group’s Treasurer. Kisenyi III Zone is located in the center of Kampala with a population of about 9,000 people. Joweria lives here, in two rooms together with 12 of her dependants. Six of them are her own.
The concept of daily savings was introduced in 2002 to the Kisenyi III Zone. Joweria joined the scheme and worked tirelessly to sensitize others to join. A year later, tragedy hit the family when her husband died. She solely took up the responsibility of catering for her children and dependants who had nowhere else to go. “Somehow, I have raised all the children, and educated them up to the level of Senior Four.”She says.
After receiving training on sanitation and hygiene, Joweria now spearheads the activities of the Health and Hygiene Committee in her saving group. She also volunteers in a Government run Non-Formal Education Program, teaching school-drop-out children. To raise income, she keeps chickens and sells them at interval, and she also pounds groundnuts for sale. “In this way, I can get some money to save, however little” she says. “I intend to re-roof this house and after sometimes buy land to build my own home.”
She still owes 1,200,000 shillings ($ 550) to the school where her last three children sat for their Senior Four exams in 2010 she now saves to clear this debt. “After clearing this debt, I will save for buying land outside of Kampala and build a house. No matter how long it takes, I have learnt to keep my hope fresh against all odds” Joweria asserts. Her daily savings is 200 to 1,000 shillings. Her children support the family by doing casual jobs as she says, “we all support one another and share all that we get happily. This makes us not to feel so much the pain from poverty”.
While the slum project helps urban poor women to manage their cash flow through daily savings, the basic capacity-building components of the program provide equally important benefits. “Interaction with other women during sensitization enabled me to make more friends, share experiences, give encouragement to one another and engage in other supportive activities that would not have been possible” she says.
LWF Uganda, in partnership with ACTogether, facilitates the process of empowering Uganda Slum Dwellers Federation to implements community-driven projects that improve the quality of life in the slums through savings and credit schemes, land tenure security, house upgrading, enhanced livelihoods and better access to services.