Microfinance is more than just loans and savings and business—it’s a way forward for many families with few resources and little hope. Opportunity strives to understand the local communities and to get to know the families who are improving their lives through our tools. This is my second post in a multi-part blog series about a new branch in Kyenjojo, Uganda, to give you a firsthand look at how and why we serve the local community there.
In February of this year, I traveled to Uganda with an Opportunity colleague to learn about our work there. It was my privilege while there to meet several of our clients and visit many of the branches which serve them—including the wonderful staff who work so hard to help our clients attain their highest potential. When we visited, the Kyenjojo branch was preparing for its official opening—the building was not yet complete, and signs of ongoing construction were everywhere. But from the balcony above the branch we could see the community spreading out before us, and we were delighted to learn more about Kyenjojo’s residents, including their hopes and concerns, from a radio station that shares space in the building. Like many places in the developing world, Kyenjojo is a place of both great challenges and great potential.
Kyenjojo is a community of approximately 20,000 people, only 25 miles from the city of Mubende. Situated in the beautiful rolling hillsides of western Uganda, the town of Kyenjojo is comprised of a combination of rural residents and a diversity of traditional storefront businesses. One attraction of Kyenjojo for Opportunity Uganda is that there are very few finance companies in the region, and even fewer of them that address the unique needs of people in extreme poverty or of subsistence farmers. Opportunity is taking steps to make a significant contribution to the overall health and development of the Kyenjojo community.
Kyenjojo is a community of people with minimal knowledge of financial management, disease and nutrition. Financial and social education will be critical areas of impact. Few other banks in the community offer training, whereas Opportunity Uganda continues to view social transformation as critical to clients’ ongoing success in all areas of life.
Communities like Kyenjojo are ideal places for Opportunity to introduce its work because it has a great potential for positive change. When people are given access to resources and training that help them build a strong future, they realize the strength that is within them and begin to lift themselves up. We have seen this happen with countless clients around the world, and we work with hopeful anticipation toward this goal for our friends and clients in Kyenjojo.
Stay tuned for Part Three: Meeting the Needs of Farmers in Kyenjojo, Uganda.