Empowering rural Ugandan women through village banking & business skills

In rural Uganda women not only bear the responsibility of raising children, but also the burden of looking for the economic welfare of the family. The village banking program is a way to empower these women financial resources to enable them sustain their families.

salon business started with loan from village bank

One of the women used her loan to set up a successful salon where she employed 4 other women.

URF has been supporting a village banking program for over 5 years providing women in rural Uganda with access to credit without needing to provide collateral. This is part of a wider women’s empowerment program designed to give women in rural communities the chance to invest in themselves starting small businesses to facilitate their independence. In addition, women receive training in small business management skills.

The program currently supports 250 women in rural South West Uganda and is already having a positive impact on many lives, below are just some of the inspirational stories of the women involved.

Name: Sarah;  Children: 2

Before joining village banking Sarah had begun to set up a small salon in Kyetume but she had little money to spend on stock, after joining village banking she was able to invest in her business. She can now afford to employ 4 people as well as providing training to three other students whilst still having savings in the bank for her family. She has many plans for the future of her business, most impressively of which is her aspiration to build a house in the area to accommodate the students that she teaches, which will allow her to teach more youths and provide them with housing.

Village banking has provided her with the means to become independent, creating a successful business and providing employment to the surrounding community. She has been able to place both her children into private education and improved the security of her lifestyle.

“I now have the money to buy what I need, I can eat the food I want, I can pay school fees for my children and I have saved more money in the bank.”

Name: Florence;   Children: 3

Florence has used the village banking program to gain access to small amounts of credit and start three small businesses in her village and local market. Her first loan was used to set up a small store selling grocery goods. More recently the loans have also allowed her to buy and sell petrol in rural areas as well as the opening of a second hand clothes stall in the main local market.

Village banking has allowed Florence to set up three small and successful businesses that have supported herself and her family. Allowing her to build a home, place both her children into private education and treat sickness.

“Village Banking helps me pay fees that I couldn’t before …… I was able to start this business and build a house for my family.”

Name: Milly;     Children: 12 (many of them orphans)

Mary has been part of village banking for 3 years and has used the program to improve her own life and that of 12 children (7 orphans). Her first loan was used to buy a small plot of land for agriculture, the second allowed her to move from her rural village to a larger house in Kyetume, she then used the next loan to start a small store. She often reinvests in her business and dreams to expand her store, investing in capital such as weighing scales.

Village banking has provided her with the opportunity to improve her life, she has also improved the lives of 12 children, providing them with a home, an education and healthcare that they would otherwise go without.

“Village banking has allowed me to pay school fees and take the children to hospital, I couldn’t afford to before.”


These women have made the most of the scheme and have used their skills to develop businesses to support their families. The positive changes have touched the lives of many people outside of the program who have been able to gain employment in the businesses of these women.  To see more on the stories of these inspirational women you can watch the short documentary/interview of these women and their lives by following the below link:

(Stories were collected by Alix and Chris from UK on an internship assessing the impact of the program)

Business skills class

Business skills class