The majority of HCU beneficiaries are between the ages of 4 and 13. As HCU children have exceeded this age range, we have noticed a decline in their HCU engagement – a common trend among Gulu youth within vocational programs. This often occurs as the youths assume more responsibilities at home – some even starting families of their own. We want to keep this particular group engaged and supported through their adolescent ages.
We have recognized the lack of support for young adolescents in Gulu.We have recognised that a child’s welfare is dependant on their family life as much as the education they get outside of this. Therefore the Uplift program is aimed at supporting the families that support Gulu’s youth. The program will provide micro-loans to households to assist them in achieving their small-businesses goals and the financial stability that we recognise as the foundation of healthy homes.
The program will aim at self-intervention at a community level through group-loans to encourage responsible financial planning and foster businesses outcomes. A small interest rate attached to the micro-loans will allow it to be self-sustaining while also providing a source of income for other programs that HCU is implementing in Northern Uganda. Beyond this we encourage mothers to use the financial security achieved through the program to contributed to the basic needs of their children and those within their communities. It is our aspiration that this program will create powerful entrepreneurs that will be role models within their communities and families.
What’re the programs goals?
While the primary objective of the Uplift program is one based on micro-loans and business outcomes we see the benefits of it reverberating throughout communities.
- Assist community members in achieving their business outcomes
- Create role models of successful entrepreneurs within communities
- Achieve self-sustainability within the program
- Create a viable source of income for other HCU programs
- Contribute to eradicating poverty
How it works:
As the Uplift program is focused on empowerment ahead of purely financial reward we have developed a tailor-made methodology that aims at achieving this with the mindset that compassion and understanding as key tenets.
- The project team will work with local leaders and stakeholders to identify individuals within communities that will form groups within the program.
- Business training will involve two hour sessions over five days that will aim at introducing the concept, business planning, developing customer relations, explaining the business environment and explaining the savings and investment scheme.
- Following the business training, individuals will form groups of 5-10 that will create the basis for the supportive group loans. These new loan groups will determine group leaders and take responsibility for each other for the remainder of the program.
- Conduct a detailed baseline survey that will determine personal data, current financial status and other pertinent information.
- The project team will undertake individual assessments for businesses and business plans, ultimately determining their loans and other relevant criteria. Following this project team members will verify, approve and release the loans to the program beneficiaries.
- Every two weeks project team members will follow-up with program groups for repayment and address any issues that may have occurred. Additionally team members will maintain that savings and other financial due diligence is being implemented within groups.
- At the end of the three-month loan period project team members will check of all debits and again address any issues that may have surfaced. Following another survey, which will aim at determining the success of the program against the original baseline survey, beneficiaries are eligible to re-apply for loans in the next three-month period.
Program Participation Requirements:
In order to participate in the Uplift program a number of criteria must be met that are intended to convey commitment to the program and also assist in the function of it. These include:
- A membership fee of 10 000 UGX, which is nominal and exists purely as an indicator of commitment to the program as opposed to a revenue stream.
- An additional t-shirt fee of 8 000 UGX will be required during the program. We believe that an HCU t-shirt will create an element of community within and solidarity with the program.
- An introductory letter will also be required to join the program that should outline which community you are a member of and an expression of interest in the program.
- The loan groups of 5-10 that are formed after the business training is complete will be required to have by-laws dictating their behaviour and a leadership structure to oversee the group internally.