A resident of Rugyengyezu village, Madibira ward, Bukiti Town council, Sironko District, 31-year-old Esther Namudosi is a mother of five children aged between 11 and eight years.
Three years ago, Namudosi was an illiterate stay home mother. “Life was very hard. I was shy, I could not buy myself an item of Ugx1,000. I would wait for my husband to provide and whenever he failed, I would feel disappointed and quarrels were the order of the day.”
When Share An Opportunity Uganda (SAO U) expanded its work Sironko District in 2019, Namudosi was one of the women in the community who benefited from the project.
“When SAO came into our area in 2019, they taught us about group formation and the importance of being part of a group. We were ranked and from the ranking, my family was graded by the community members to be among the poor of the poorest.”
After the ranking, members were advised to join the groups that had been formed within their communities and for Namudosi, it was Kolereadwera Self Help Group.
She explains that once she joined the group, the livelihood of her family started changing.
“The change was because, in the group we were taught about social behaviors, child upbringing and nutrition and most important for me, we were taught about saving and loaning plus how to start income generating activities.”
Namudosi adds that in the group, they would save UGX500 but after a few months of saving, they increased the savings to UGX1,000.
“After saving for a few months and get information on how to start a business, I borrowed UX10,000. I used this money to buy two bunches of banana. These I sold and got profits of UGX3,000,” she explains adding that,
“When I realized that the banana business was lucrative, I continued getting small loans from the group and expanding my business. After a few months I diversified into selling silver fish, tomatoes and onions.”
With this business, Namudosi was able to supplement on what her husband brought at home. “Our meals increased from one to three meals a day. I could even buy snacks for my children. The quarrels at home stopped because most of them were about money. I also started looking nice because I could afford a lotion for myself.”
COVID challenges and recovering from them
However, when COVID hit, Esther’s business was affected since markets were closed. She then resorted to selling the items from her home but because business was slow, the family would end up eating what she had stocked for the business.
“I decided to present this challenge to our group leaders who advised me to open up a stall near my home. I opened up a stalk and while business is still slow, it’s not as bad as it was towards the end of 2020.”
Looking to the future
“My future plan is to start a retail shop and I have decided to get money through the coffee trade since it is in season now. Currently, I buy a kilo of coffee at UGX 1,000 and dry it. I plan on selling the dry coffee in November 2021 at UGX8,000 per a kilo.”
Esther will use the funds from the coffee sell to start a retail shop in January 2022. “I intend to start with capital of UGX500,000 with items such as sugar, posho and rice.”