To help you get an inside look at Seed Effect, for the next stop on our Virtual Trip to Uganda, we’re taking you to a savings and loan group meeting!
We’d normally be hosting a trip to Uganda in July to visit our staff and members. But, as Uganda is still under a 42 day lockdown and we can’t travel with you to one of our most beloved places, we would like to virtually take you there.
Without access to banking services, refugees and those trapped in material poverty don’t have a safe place to save for lump sum expenses, like school fees, or a way to access affordable credit to support income generation.
Seed Effect’s Christ-centered savings-led micro-finance program provides a safe place for poor households to save and borrow money in order to generate income, as well as Christ-Centered community and spiritual discipleship.
“Seed Effect has opened our eyes and ears. Before we didn’t know how to do business. We didn’t how to get money.”
– Natalie, Amanzora Savings & Loan Group
Each Seed Effect Savings & Loan group receives a secure metal box filled with the necessary tools for establishing a safe place to save.
(Click here to get a detailed “Look Inside the Box!”)
These tools, combined with the long-term guidance of our indigenous staff, promotes holistic poverty alleviation.
Each savings group elects their own leadership team from within their group, putting the control and power in the members’ hands along with the guidance from our indigenous staff.
“That is why we are very happy with Seed Effect because now they have given us power. Because if you put your money in the bank, at the end of the month when you go to withdraw, they are going to take some and reduce your balance.” – Natalie
After facing the the trauma of being forced to flee their country and the insecurity of starting over in a new land, the reassurance of having a safe place to save to provide a secure future for their children brings great hope to our members.
Selena Juan is a member of the Amanzora group. She said,
“When I came from South Sudan, I encountered a lot of difficulties. I am here alone and I am caring for my children by myself. The good thing is that I joined a Seed Effect group and my group is helping me in the difficulties that I am going through.”
As those of you who have traveled with us to South Sudan and Uganda have seen, there is immense joy and love in the group meetings. It is not just a place to save money – it a safe haven to share in suffering and carry each others burdens.
Atoo Anastasia shared, “Before I joined Seed Effect, I would sit at home and was miserable, always thinking about the past. I heard about Seed Effect from some neighbors that explained the importance of the group and I joined. Then the loneliness disappeared.”
“We chose the name, Amanzora, meaning ‘We Thank You’ for our group because we have a lot of stress and have experienced so much trauma. But now that you, Seed Effect, have come, we know that you are going to help us stand firm. That is why we chose to say ‘We Thank You’.”
The most joyful time in a group’s journey is Graduation Day!
At the end of the cycle, their savings and the interest earned is distributed based upon the amount contributed. On average, Seed Effect members report a 30% return on their savings and 93% of Seed Effect groups continue to save during a second cycle!
The Amanzora group are currently in their 4th savings cycle which started in November.
- They have saved over $22,000 cumulatively across the 4 cycles so far. The amount has grown each cycle with:
- About $5500 saved in the 1st cycle
- $6600 in the 2nd
- $7300 in the 3rd
- And $3100 so far in the 4th cycle!
After saving in his group for a few months, Emmanuel Owole was trained as a Seed Effect Village Volunteer to start, train, and oversee new Seed Effect groups. He is now a part-time member of the Seed Effect team and has started four Seed Effect Savings and Loan Groups.
“At the end of the first cycle, all loans had been paid back and no one was left out. Everyone received a portion of the distribution. Now that some groups are in their second savings cycle, members are even more encouraged and are saving more this year. They didn’t expect the money from the share out at graduation to be so big. And now, they do not want to miss out because they have realized that share out is everything”
Share out, or “Graduation Day,” is full of singing, dancing and celebration as members collect their portions and share with one another what they will use their hard-earned savings on.
Susan Ifuho shares,
“Being in a Seed Effect group has improved my life. I have seven children and also care for two orphans. Now I can access money for medication and for school fees. It is so important for me that my children are in school – it gives them self-reliance and independence. I believe that when my kids are educated they will be able to take care of themselves in the future.
Seeing my children in school brings me joy.”
Thank you for bringing hope and empowerment to the hard-working South Sudanese refugees and Ugandans we serve!
empowers one person