By Hellen Nyamweru:
Communities in Mbarara municipality under the National Slum Dwellers Federation have by far and large benefited from the Community Driven Development Funds in their locality! Talk about using fish to catch fish; the communities have used their little savings to attract more money by lobbying for the CDD funds available at their municipality. The funds mainly support small income generating projects and are meant to sustain innovative micro-projects at the lower level. They aim at sustainable development, the fight against poverty and the fulfillment of underprivileged essential needs. At the same time, these funds promote capacity building of the communities and the responsibility of local actors, most notably local authorities and associations at the heart of the civil society. The supported activities have also generated incomes and employment for the group members and also initiated plans to secure the sustainability of the impact of the projects.
Mbarara region under the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda has 7 networks which consist of an average of 7 savings groups each. They are; Tuharo, Kamukuzi, Nyamityobola, Kakoba, Kakoba central, Nsikye, and Kakika networks. The region has a total of 44 groups and most of them have managed to secure the Community Driven Development funds from the municipality which they have invested in different livelihood projects to boost their income and uplift their living standards.
It is important to note that the groups managed to get the Community Driven Development Funds due to their credibility; being members under the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda as organized groups of communities with one cause; championing for development. Their initiative to organize themselves into savings groups, building their financial capacity in the process and trust also serve as additional points towards benefiting from this fund because it shows good organization, sound management of funds, a common target/aim and commitment to development .The Community Development Officer monitors these groups on a regular basis before and after funds are disbursed to ensure the money is well utilized and serving its purpose.
Below is a short list of some savings groups and the activities/projects they are involved in;
- Ruharo saving group; bakery, charcoal, crafts and loaning project.
- Kamwe-kamwe Nigwomuganda ;basket,bags,craft, mats out of banana fibers, brick making
- Kiyanja saving group; Adult Literacy classes project, confectionaries, necklace making, Kitenge making, tie and die project
- Kuharo saving group ;food baskets making, mats weaving, selling of second hand clothes
- Ruharo Iqra foundation saving group; Hand bags, files, table mats, chairs, flowers projects, wall mats, pottery. Baskets, school bags, outside catering business
- Kiyanja women and youth association ;poultry project
- Kiyanza Kamukuzi decorative clothing, necklaces, basket and briquette charcoal making.
- Kiyanja Catholic Women saving group ;decorative clothing and cultivation of sweet potatoes for sale in Kampala and other urban areas
- Ruti Moslem Development group –Metal fabrication, adult literacy
- Kataba Aniswali saving group; mushroom production, tree nursery project
- Kitebero Kizungu saving group; mushroom and livestock project.
- Nitima Kwaga; mushroom and livestock projects.
- Kakoba market venders; candle making, knitting, soap making, a loaning project.