Building a Business Through Affordable Credit

Demita with her chicken that she bought with through a loan proved by her the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) in her village.

From looking after her grandchildren to caring for her livestock, Demita loves to stay busy. These days, she is more active than ever now that she finally runs her own business – a dream she has had for years. 

Demita’s village, Karukonjo, is a last-mile community in Western Uganda’s Rukungiri District, where formal business and employment opportunities are scarce. To feed their family of five, Demita would care for the household while her husband would walk long distances to neighbouring villages, scouting for casual labour opportunities. Reliant on others for income opportunities, the family lacked consistent income and struggled to meet their daily needs. Each year, they planted their small garden, hoping their seeds and limited resources were enough to fight challenging climate conditions and provide a sufficient yield. Unfortunately, that was not always the case, and Demita’s family struggled with poverty and food insecurity for years.

When her village partnered with Raising The Village, Demita participated in several training programs on livelihood skills, including agricultural techniques that utilized existing resources and minimized costs. “From the seedlings I received during the program, I created my vegetable garden,” she shares. “Selling vegetables to other community members became profitable!”

For Demita, contributing to her family’s earnings felt rewarding. But always looking for an opportunity to stay busy, but she decided not to stop there. Having participated in RTV’s financial literacy training, Demita grew her understanding and know-how of how saving extra income, accessing loans, and participating in the Village Savings and Loans (VSLA) could enable her to invest in new projects. She joined the Karukonjo Women’s VSLA established by RTV and knew it was her opportunity to pursue the change she wanted.

Demita in her vegetable garden

Demita borrowed UGX 30,000 ($8) from the group and bought two chickens. “The financial literacy training focused on the importance of saving, and that was how I was able to start my chicken-rearing business,” Demita proudly shares. With time, this small investment grew into an even more significant opportunity. “I kept selling chicken and making a profit, so I started buying more chicken,” she remembers.  

“I knew chicken is great food, but to me, it is now a profitable business,” Demita shares, laughing. For an active grandmother like Demita, this success is just the beginning. With the profits she made from the chicken business, she bought a goat, which recently had two kids. She plans to use these goats to grow her livestock business. When she has enough savings, she will buy more land, use the animals’ manure and organic pesticides to increase her vegetable production and sell the surplus harvest. “I want to continue with this business,” she proudly says. “With the profits, we finally have an income our family can rely on.”

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Raising The Village (RTV) partners with last-mile, rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and develops holistic initiatives that pave the pathway out of ultra-poverty towards economic self-sufficiency within 24 months. Our programs focus on improving agricultural incomes through training and providing agricultural inputs, diversifying income streams, removing barriers to participation such as lack of access to health, water, financial inclusion, and food security, and promoting healthy behaviors including adopting healthy WASH and gender equity practices. Since 2016, we have impacted the lives of more than 665,000 people in last-mile villages in Uganda and increased household incomes and earnings by 138% in 24 months.