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 water source.
Last year, when the Akadot village community members received their new borehole they were very excited to 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 in Akadot village.
The Village Savings and Loans Association was established to empower the community to effectively take charge of the operation and maintenance of the community well.
One year later, the Akadot Village Savings and Loans Association has a total of 30 members and each week every member saves at least 500 Ugandan Shillings (approximately 10 pennies). As the savings started to accumulate, the Village Savings and Loans Association were able to provide loans to others in the community for income generating projects. The interest accrued from paid loans has enabled the community to address their initial fears about the functionality of the borehole.
“When our borehole broke down late last year, we just used some of the profits from the Village Savings and Loans Association to pay for the repairs,” said Okebesi Moses, the Village Savings and Loans Association’s Secretary, with a wide smile.
James Opio, a Village Savings and Loans Association member, and the Chairperson of Akadot village, is delighted with the savings initiative. “We are grateful for this Water Source and the idea of this saving group because we have seen some other communities who fail to cover even the cheapest cost when their water facility breaks down. Our well will always be functional because we have money in the group to repair the borehole so that people do not ever have to walk back to the unprotected spring.”