When we launched the microcredit programmes in Jinja in 2008 and then in Gulu (a post-conflict region) in 2010, we were convinced that this type of programme, properly implemented, was the key to effective development. At the outset, many of the beneficiaries embarked on this venture with a certain amount of doubt. Would they be able to repay? Would it really enable them to increase their income? After receiving training, mainly in entrepreneurship, from motivated loan officers, they were given access to loans, initially for a maximum of €40, gradually rising to €250. This enabled them to develop their income-generating activities.
During recent visits to families receiving microloans, I was able to see that this concept really did have a lasting impact on their quality of life. One beneficiary expressed her joy by saying that she felt like she was growing wings! You only have to look at their homes to see this. Many of them have developed their livestock and can testify to a clear improvement in their standard of living, whether in terms of nutrition or access to education for their children. They have gained in self-confidence and do not see themselves as mere victims of war, poverty or AIDS. 2,320 families received microloans in 2013, and many more are hoping to benefit from them. Much of the credit for this goes to the local project managers, Achan Immaculate and Anna Sanyu, two dynamic and dedicated women. We will continue to develop these programmes alongside them, so that our work to ensure the dignity of young Ugandans gives those who look after them the means to do so independently, and so that they can then pass on their wings to their children!

Adrien Genoud