Thursday, October 22, 2009


Poultry Microfinance Project

Uganda SPACE's first economic empowerment initiative is to implement a sustainable Poultry Microfinance Project for rural women. We believe that the microfinance model will help move away from the donation style of just giving products away for free and will give women a sense of ownership and dignity. By partnering with a reputable Microfinance organization (MFI) and establishing credit among the villagers, we will overcome the hurdle of covering upfront startup costs and create a program, which is both sustainable and scalable. FINCA Uganda and various other MFIs are being considered as possible partners. Volunteers are engaged in discussions with FINCA both in Uganda and the United States. We are being advised by the staff of Arcfinance ( as to the best funding alternatives for our organization.


In March 2008, we initiated a pilot in order to valid our model for the poultry project. Thorough a local women's group called “Tweyambe”, we identified a needy 65 year old woman named Divina from Kyamuyimbwa Village to test the program in her home. Divina is a single mother of three and grandmother of two whose husband passed away 10 years ago. Prior to the project, Divina earned a maximum income of $1.5 per month from the local sale of chicken and produce from her garden.

We provided Divina with 150 exotic breeds of layer chicks, five bags of growers feed, four bags of layers feed, necessary vaccines and drugs, a charcoal stove, feed troughs and a poultry house. We gave her the responsibility of supervising the project and she received monthly visits from our Uganda SPACE project coordinator, Nalubega. In three months, the chickens were full grown and producing eggs. Divina was able to collect 150 eggs per day, which she could sell for $1 each in the village shops. Three months later the birds were ready to be sold as off layers and each was sold at shs. 6,000 (US $3). This translated to a total profit of $4 per bird ($600). This could sustain a village family in a month. A rural family needs only $2.5 to be sustainable When asked about the benefits of the poultry project, we were surprised and inspired by Divina's story. Divina uses the monthly salary to pay for paraffin, soap and salt, but could not afford to buy sugar. But with the poultry project, Divina explained that her life had changed completely because the profits she got from selling eggs alone could help her to buy home basic needs and she could now afford to buy sugar. Uganda SPACE confirmed that women like Divina could potentially earn $40 a month from this project when the number of birds are increased to 500 and Uganda SPACE would retain $50 a month from each participant to expand the project.

Uganda SPACE leaders met with the community members in November 2008 to evaluate the project and develop a project plan. We agreed to provide 500 chickens, 6 bags of growers feed, 5 bags of layers feed, 2 feeding troughs, drugs and medicine to 60 women in the first phase of the project. In return, each woman would agree to construct a poultry housing for herself and purchase lanterns to enable her to extend her work day. The women will retain 20% of the income from the sale of eggs; 70% will be reinvested by the women to purchase more birds and supplies and 10% will be retained by Uganda SPACE to expanding the project. The same percentages will be applied when the birds have stopped laying eggs and are ready for sell. The community leaders and project committee members will share the responsibility of collecting the money and eggs and recording each woman's payment records.

The Poultry Project has 20 active participants and 40 other women have expressed interest in joining. Five student volunteers from Makerere University have been recruited to train the women in modern poultry farming, management and marketing of products and project committee members will supervise and evaluate the project on an ongoing basis. We are seeking an advisor to teach us about natural/organic poultry raising methods. We plan to begin training 20 other women in September to November of 2009 and begin the expanded program by January 2010. We seek to have a total of 60 participants on board within five to eight months of the launch.

Girls' Education Program

We believe that quality education is the key to overcoming poverty in a single generation, and is fundamental to creating a secure future for individual communities and our country. To meet this enormous challenge and immense opportunity, Uganda SPACE is planning to open an education center and health care program at the Kyamuyimbwa village project site to meet the needs of girls ages three to 17. We aim to eventually provide basic educational and residential facilities for 200-250 girls. In addition to a well rounded academic curriculum for primary and secondary schools, we will offer the girls personal development opportunities, English language training and the chance to expand their talents in fields such as the performing arts and handicrafts. The education center will also offer community education classes on such issues as the eradication of child labor, literacy, and the right of every child to attend school. The health care program will offer quarterly health checks for all children, including those who do not study in the center and will also serve women in nearby slums with preventive, curative and referral services.

In it's first year, we were able to raise $ 3,700 from individual donors in Uganda and provide full scholarships for eight girls to attend primary and secondary schools. Next year, we seek to raise $10,000 for this program and expand the opportunity to 30 girls. By 2016 we would love to have 250 girls and an estimate of $81,000 will be needed for this.


Our organization serves impoverished women and children in Kampala and the Kabonera sub-country of Uganda. Kabonera is one of 12 sub-countries in the Masaka District and has a regional population of more than 37,000. A large portion of the women in this community are primarily caretakers of their families and depend on small scale agriculture for a living. The region has very limited resources with respect to electricity, clean water, healthy facilities and schools.

We are initiating our initial pilots with the Tweyambe collective, a group of 40 rural women formed to support one other with financial assistance, food and firewood in times of need. The group, whose name literally means “let's help ourselves" comes together to assist with family emergencies, lifecycle ceremonies and for community-based initiatives such as road clearing, planting trees, water collection and to renovating homes for the elderly.

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