Since 2019, the ECHO – APEAL Consortium project has been implemented in Kyangwali and Kyaka II Refugee Settlements in Kikuube and Kyegegwa Districts respectively. APEAL is Access, Protection, Empowerment, Accountability and Leadership, a project aimed at enhancing multi-sectoral responses by providing targeted life- saving protection, mental health, Psychosocial support and inclusive services to Congolese refugees and vulnerable host communities.

In the consortium, KRC Uganda has since worked with refugee and host communities using the VSLA plus methodology to mobilise financial self-help and social protection to the most vulnerable people. Here is one success story of Dada Aline.

Dada Aline 30, a Congolese national, Refugee and a mother of one, survived the onslaught of civil and ethnic wars in Congo in 2018, fleeing to Uganda with a few members of her family. Aline is now a mother of one child. Her family was resettled in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement in Kyegegwa District.

Aline recalls the dark days and suffering before she joined one of the KRC supported VSLA Groups, named Tuiniwane VSLA Group in Bukere. The group is made up of 30 members, of which 27 are women.

She was taught how to save, where she started by saving UGX 6,000/=, a portion of the World Food Program cash transfers for refugees (mupokero). Before joining the VSLA group, she was using her own small money to buy and vend tomatoes from house to house in the trading centre to find buyers and the small profits that she made would be used to grow the business.

After saving three times with the group, she requested for a loan of UGX 100,00/= which she use as capital to increase her stock. All profits that were generated were keep aside payback the loan, which she cleared without much struggle. After clearing the loan, she borrowed more money which she was given due to her good established credit worthiness. She borrowed UGX 250,000/= which she used to pay three months’ rent for her business kiosk and also stocked more items.

As time went on, and her business starting to expand, Aline felt that she needed to move her business premises from a kiosk to a spacious place, which she did. After some time, the landlord decided to sale off the house. Aline went back to the VSLA, borrowed more money and bought off the house which she currently owns. Together with her friends, they celebrated the achievement and hard work. She furnished the house with more stocking shelves and added more items such as soap, salt, water, cereals and other basic home items that people always buy.

According to Aline, the VSLA was a game changer, first by providing a financial boost to her business idea, and then a social belonging to a group from where she derives emotional support to confidently face life’s challenges that come with forced migration. She now uses her success story to inspire young people in the settlement to hope again. Aline is also able to support the extended members of her family.

Title: Success story: VSLAs empower refugee girls to integrate and participate in the local economy for better livelihoods

Author: By Winnie Kobusinge, Information Systems Administrator, KRC Uganda

Category: KRC Past Researches

Publish Date: 2022-03-30

Brief Story

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