• +256 (0) 486-435626
  • bmct@bwinditrust.org
  • Plot 4 Coryndon Road, Kabale, Uganda

Resilient Livelihoods

Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs)

VSLA Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT) is implementing a Health Education Agriculture Livelihood and Land rights (HEAL) project under a sub grant from CARE international from 2015 – 2017.

The major aim of HEAL is livelihood improvement of the poor marginalized Batwa women and girls (aged 10-14 years) through socio economic empowerment. The major approach used in the project is Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) where communities are mobilized in groups, trained on VSLA methodology and they start saving with the aim of mobilizing local financial resources for development. 

The VSLA methodology is to benefit both Batwa and non Batwa in groups to pool their own funds as savings, access loans for investing in micro projects for generating sustainable incomes at household level. 

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Project outcomes 


 

  • Establishment of IGA at household level: It is important to note that most group members have appreciated the benefits of VSLA. Most VSLA members rejoice because of the benefits they got from the funds they loaned from VSLA and started IGAs. They are proud to have started projects such as goats, sheep, chicken rearing, potato, cabbage and carrot growing and some bought scholastic materials for their children.
  • Social integration: Discrimination among the Batwa and non-Batwa has reduced. During VSLA saving meetings both Batwa and non-Batwa sit together without discriminating one another. Batwa usually go to meetings when they have bathed and washed their clothes thus unable to be segregated as dirty people
  • Batwa empowerment in decision making: Batwa are empowered to make decisions during VSLA meetings. The inclusion of Batwa on VSLA executive committees has empowered them to have self-esteem thus able to contribute in decisions making of group matters. 26 groups out of 40 included Batwa on executive committees
  • Improved savings: Both the Batwa and the non-Batwa have developed a saving culture. Group members strive to save some money on a weekly basis (1-5 shares) unlike before the introduction of VSLA methodology where nobody bothered to save. Integration of Batwa families within the VSLA groups leads to recognition of Batwa leadership skills. 26 out of 40 groups elected Batwa on executive positions.
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VSLA groups formed
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people in VSLA
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women involved VSLAs
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IGAs formed from VSLA groups
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shs group savings

Agriculture

Bee keeping 

 

Kigezi region where BMCT operates is one of the areas where bee keeping is restricted besides West nile and Teso. Beekeeping has been a part of agriculture programming at BMCT since 2016. Most of our farmers use the traditional basket or hollowed-log hives with only 1 farmer trying to adapt the Kenya Top Bar (KTB) hives.

Two years of steady effort on the part of our field staff, the apiary beneficiaries are beginning to see good results as the project has thrived to honey production. One of our model Apiary farmer Mr. Silver Baguma of Kashasha Parish received 46 hives from BMCT in 2016. He sells some of his honey to BMCT office for staff consumption. Another farmer, Ms. Twinamatsiko makes lip balms as well as lotion from the wax.

We have hopes of training more farmers to manage the KTB hives which have more advantages over the local hives. We also plan to scale up the business angel of bee keeping through the FFS groups.

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apiary groups

Livestock farming

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Livestock farming for BMCT beneficiaries is used majorly as a source of income for more than 60% percent of the households. Under our annual project funding disbursements, we normally give out between 60-100 heads of livestock including sheep, goats, pigs and a few cows. Our farmers have been trained in livestock management including disease control and nutrition to boost productivity.

Farmers that have been able to meet their economic setbacks through the sale of some of their livestock hail BMCT for the livestock project.

Since 2016, we started the revolving heifer project, for sustainability of the livestock project. To date, 16 families have already benefited from the project.

I think, my daughter would have lost her leg when she got an accident had it not been for my cow, I sold its calf that took care of the hospital bills” reminisces Grace Bimanywoha one of the Heifer beneficiaries from Kisoro district.

We see a steady stride in the Heifer project and we hope to start cross breeding to improve project outputs especially for income generation.

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Livestock/Heifers disbursed
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Livestock/heifer beneficiaries

Vegetable growing 

In the villages of Mpungu, Buhoma and Mukono are groups of ex-poachers engaged in vegetable growing. They grow cabbages, carrots, cauliflower and Sukuma wiki as the vegetables of their choices. These groups sell the vegetable harvests to the neighboring hotels for income. The Buhoma mukono community development association (BMCDA) has a contract to supply two schools with vegetables termly. Their vegetable supply contract to 1 hotel has been running, for now, 2years and this has boosted their income.

Besides the farmers selling these vegetables, they have been encouraged to feed their children on these vegetables for their health benefits.