My name is Ms Lilly Omara. I am 56 years old. I am the chairperson of Bed Iworo village savings association (VSLA), a group that was formed in 2014 in Chegere sub-county, Apac District with 38 members (37 female and 1 male). The group was formed with the main objectives of group farming and saving. However in 2015, ACFODE through the Community Development Officer of Chegere sub-county (CDO) identified our group and supported us in modern VSLA methodology. Much as the group was saving before ACFODE intervention, there was no formality in group activities. For example the group had no constitution, the group was not registered both at the sub-county and district and there was no record keeping.
The narrator, Ms Lilly Omara, with her cow
When ACFODE intervened, they started by conducting group assessment and discovered that there were a lot of gaps in our group. ACFODE helped our group to write the constitution and to register at the sub-county. The knowledge gained on modern VSLA methodology has enabled us to save for a purpose, set targets and invest in income generating activities hence increasing our savings further and it has improved the standard of living among members. The group leaders were also trained on financial literacy and later linked to the financial institutions.
The training on financial literacy has opened the eyes of the group members to invest in commercial agriculture and group produce buying. This has improved on the level of finances to individual members in the group.
Bed Iworo VSLA has also exploited the linkages with financial institutions and opened a bank account with Post bank in December, 2017, which will enable us to access finances in terms of loan from the bank.
In 2017, the ACFODE field officer in Apac, Moses Ogwang shared ACFODE’s annual newsletter of 2016 for the project entitled, “Strengthening institutions (formal and informal) to promote gender responsive social cultures in Apac and Dokolo District”, with the Chairperson Apac District local Government Hon. Bob Okae and also discussed with him ACFODE’s intervention in Apac District. The chairperson was very impressed on how ACFODE was changing the lives of women in Apac District through VSLA methodology and therefore promised to follow up with the groups. Later, the Chairperson LCV and District Community Development officer Mr Okello Tom went up to the ground and assessed the groups’ progress and they were very impressed with what they discovered.
The Chairperson directed the District Community Development officer Mr Okello Tom to pick Bed Iworo VSLA group as a model group in Apac district that will benefit from the government programmes. On the 31 October 2017, the Chairperson LCV launched the group officially as a model group in Apac District. During his speech at the launch, the chairperson said that, Bed Iworo VSLA would benefit from all the government programmes that come in the district because of their hard work
Such programmes include Operation wealth Creation (OWC), the Northern Uganda Social Action Plan (NUSAF) as well as Women entrepreneurship programme and Community Demand Driven projects.
In January 2018, the LCV chairperson lived by his words when he invited Bed Iworo VSLA group members at Cheregere sub-county headquarters where he distributed 30 dairy cows for keeping under the programme of Operation Wealth Creation. The chairperson also promised that members of Bed Iworo will benefit from Oxen, ox plough, grinding mills, tractors and Women Entrepreneurship Programme.
I am one of the beneficiaries and I am looking after my cow with guidance from the district.
Great thanks be to ACFODE for the trainings and knowledge on how best we can use our village savings to grow.