Uganda: For a self-determined life

Berlin / Kampala, 28 January 2022

Hundreds of thousands of people have found refuge in Uganda in recent years after fleeing violence in South Sudan or the DR Congo. In Kyangwali, our partner ACORD has supported the new start of those who had lost relatives or are particularly disadvantaged. 255 people were able to start their lives over again.

Felicity trained as tailor and now sells clothes.

The initial situation could hardly have been more difficult: At the age of 38, Felicity Mwisha is already a widow and HIV-positive. She fled the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she had lost her husband and five children after being attacked by a rebel group. The trauma and shock affected Felicity for a long time. Depression and grief weighed on her shoulders like a leaden coat. Neighbours in the settlement cared for her as best they could after her arrival.

When ACORD started a project in Kyangwali in late 2019, Felicity enrolled. She got on the list for the resilience building and income support programme. "One of the first things I was linked to was the World Food Programme (WFP), where I received a ration card and was able to get rations for my large family," Felicity remembers. Her family are relatives for whom she had taken responsibility.

Training for a fresh start

Felicity Mwisha has her hands busy selling her clothing items.

ACORD staff then trained her on livelihoods and how to set up savings and loan associations in the neighbourhood. They taught her how gardening and tailoring clothes can turn into income generation. "We received a small start-up capital of 100,000 Ugandan shillings (about 25 euros) from our savings group," Felicity recalls. With this, she was able to open a clothing shop, which she says is doing very well today. "I was able to make a monthly profit of 250,000 Uganda shillings after deducting all expenses - including food and clothing. I can save part of that," she calculated.

In addition, she now grows vegetables on farmland that she has leased. She passes on her new skills and the enthusiasm she has gained to community members, whom she encourages to join community savings groups. "The trainings have been very rewarding as I have been able to work through my trauma, adapt to a new life in Uganda and make friends outside my household," says Felicity.

255 people reached with training

She is one of 255 people ACORD has successfully supported over the past two years. Since Uganda does not maintain camps but accommodates refugees in open settlements, not only are the economic capacities of the refugees low, but those of the locals are also quickly exhausted. ACORD focused on people with special needs from both groups, who live alone with children, are ill or have a disability.

The activities covered six villages in Kyangwali settlement and Kikuube district. The selected people learned carpentry and tailoring, became car mechanics, hairdressers or electricians. The project was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

With flour and thrift to success

Peter Safari was able to pay back the loan for his grain mill after only four months. Today he employs four people.

Peter Safari also used the opportunity provided by the project. The most important thing, he says, was the close counselling. "I learned to appreciate how important it is to save consistently. It has given me a lot back," says the 38-year-old from Kentomi village, who had already tried small-scale business. With the support of his savings group, he took out the equivalent of about 400 euros in credit and invested the money in a grain mill. After only four months, he paid back the money. Today he employs four people in his small business.

"The counselling sessions improved my business skills and management. They encouraged me to live a full and successful life while protecting the people around me," Peter says today. Instead of permanently worrying about his HIV disease, he says he now enjoys life again, that he lives in a more self-determined way.

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International Assistance in Uganda

In Uganda, we support refugees and the local communities in refugee settlements.

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Secure income and food

To strengthen the resilience of vulnerable people before, during and after disasters and crises, we implement comprehensive income and food security programmes together with our partners.