Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

Cleophus with his livestock

Recently, Cleophus faced a tough choice and had to drop out of school. With his father being ill, Cleophus had to take up the mantle of being the breadwinner for his family, which included his four siblings. While he had many ideas, his first hurdle was the lack of credit and financial literacy to run a business. “We have little knowledge of how to create capital. Most of us have not gotten a chance to go to school. So many grow old and don’t know how to run a business”, said Cleophus. Not one to be bogged down by obstacles, Cleophus soon found the answer to his dilemma at a training session conducted by RTV. 

When RTV partnered with his last-mile community to build sustainable pathways out of poverty and improve household incomes, Cleophus and his fellow community members signed up for training on financial literacy and Good Agronimoc Practices (GAP). Realizing the potential of a savings and credit-providing group, they soon formed a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) to pool savings and fund income-generating activities. With members saving small amounts each month to build a larger pool, Cleophus could soon access credit for his business. “Our group has 27 members, and we save money every month. Each member saves UGX 6000 a month, of which UGX 5000 is for buying animals for every member, and UGX 1000 is assigned for emergencies”, Cleophus mentioned. With access to affordable credit no longer an issue, he soon started translating his ideas into reality. 

He bought some goats and hens to start an animal-rearing business. Technical support from RTV helped him care for his animals, including providing suitable feed, timely vaccinations and market linkage for selling. Cleophus also started making bricks for construction and selling them for additional income. With the knowledge gained on modern farming practices, he began preparing organic manure for his banana and bean plantation and saw good results. Cleophus was not only able to provide for his family but also started investing in his VSLA and planning for the future. 

Cleophus working on his compound garden that fulfills his family’s food security needs.

With the new found confidence combined with his entrepreneurial spirit, Cleophus plans to complete his education and expand his business simultaneously. “I want to grow my animal business and earn money for my education. I stopped at O-level, but I want to study up to university,” he said. “I want to become a doctor. I am interested in Biology, Chemistry and Math”, he further adds when asked about his favourite subjects. 

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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.