What can you do with ten pennies? Probably not a lot.
But, for a community in Akadot village in Kumi District, Eastern Uganda, a weekly contribution of ten pennies has enabled them to have a functional clean water source.
Last year, the Akadot community were excited to receive their new borehole and finally have clean, safe water within 500 meters. However, they were also a little bit concerned about how long the borehole would remain fully functional.
Maintenance, functionality and operations of rural water facilities remains a big challenge in many Ugandan communities. In order to address some of these concerns, Fields of Life piloted the establishment of a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) in Akadot village.
The VSLA empowers the community.
They can now effectively take charge of the operation and maintenance of the community well.
One year later, the Akadot Village Savings and Loans Association has 30 members. Each week every member saves at least 500 Ugandan Shillings (approximately 10 pennies). As the savings started to accumulate, the VSLA provided loans to others in the community for income generating projects. The interest accrued from paid loans has enabled the community to maintain the functionality of the borehole.
“When our borehole broke down last year, we used some of the profits from the VSLA to pay for the repairs,” said Okebesi Moses, the Village Savings and Loans Association’s Secretary, with a wide smile.
James Opio, a VSLA member, is delighted with the savings initiative. “We are grateful for this Water Source and the idea of this saving group because we have seen other communities who cannot pay for repairs when their water facility breaks down. Our well will always be functional because we have money in the group to repair it. People do not ever have to walk back to the unprotected spring.”