After six months of training in financial literacy, agro-business entrepreneurship, foundational skills such as healthy choices and governance and leadership, the youth association “Youth with Vision” in Dokolo, Uganda, invested in group and individual businesses.
Two years later, we caught up with the group of 31 members to see how that investment has grown and, through the support of each other and their mentors, what longterm plans they are starting to develop.
With an initial investment of two pigs through the Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Project (YETA), which NCBA CLUSA is running in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation and support from Youth Alive, Reproductive Health Uganda and Making Cents, the group now has 10 pigs, consistently rearing and selling piglets at 120,000 Ugandan shillings each (about $40 USD).
From there, they invested in mango grafting and expanded their red chili pepper garden.
“We have a vision of supporting ourselves and moving out of poverty,” said their elected Chairperson Gilbert Wacha. “We can plan ahead, and do many things.”
They recently opened a bank account as a group and have consistently been saving together through their group’s Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). Their longterm goal is to invest in a grinding mill to process feed for their pig business. They can also grind feed as a charged service for their community.
With these goals in mind, each member had a vision for themselves for two years from now. “In two years, you will be able to see people with assets,” Gilbert said. "We will be celebrating our success.”
Here are some of Youth with Vision members’ visions for themselves and their group over the next two years:
“Two years ago we had no knowledge. Now, I am knowledgeable and in the next two years you will see a very serious business,” said Felix Okapa. “The group will also be strong and still working together.”
“After two years I will be driving a car,” said Janan Ocen. “If you keep your small money each week, you can save for something big.”
“We all have vision,” said Tonny Ogwang, who is also secretary of the VSLA. He had some practical ways to keep strengthening the group and professionalizing their meetings. “In the next two years we will all have nice plastic chairs to sit on and we will get a public address microphone system.”
And Kenneth Obete has a grand plan. “Next time I see you, I will invite you to my house in Dokolo town,” he said.
As each member continues to invest it their personal businesses and with support from each other, these goals are becoming more real every day. They continue to seek out new investment and business opportunities as a group and have continued to grow their group businesses. So far, each round of profit has gone back in to the group re-investment to grow the businesses, a decision they made together.
Last year, NCBA CLUSA supported the formation of more than 160 youth associations and groups going through intensive agro-business training, expanding economic opportunities for rural youth in northern Uganda.
Learn more about the Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Project.