In 2014, one year after initiating the school sponsorship program, LWOSO started two micro-credit groups with 7 women in each, to help local widows start-up small businesses so that they could earn some income to help support their families. This project had grown to over twelve micro-credit groups assisting over 90 women, until the pandemic forced staff to put it on hold in 2020. LWOSO staff have restarted the groups in 2022.
The women in the LWOSO micro-credit groups are trained by LWOSO staff and have started small businesses such as selling pancakes, second-hand clothing, and opening small canteens. A few of the women have also been able to add fix up or build small homes for their families, and some women in the groups have pooled their money to work together to raise pigs and grow vegetables to sell. The groups have also provided a source of support for the women when they need help around their homes, with medical needs, or just to share experiences. The groups meet each month at a different members home, and thus share not only business plans and updates, but also food and news. Women in the groups also learn to write their names and phrases in English if they don’t already know this. A graduate student from San Diego State University in San Diego, California, conducted a research project on the LWOSO micro-credit groups in 2017, and found that across the board the women who participated in the LWOSO groups or were still participating in one were very thankful for their experience and felt they had improved their situation, learned about starting a business and managing money, and made friends. One of the researchers’ main recommendations was that the alumni from these groups also have a program where they can continue to support each other and join together to produce and market goods.
If you or a group you belong to would like to support a woman or a micro-credit group of 7 women through LWOSO, please contact either Peter Kitayimbwa at firstname.lastname@example.org or Judy Shepherd at email@example.com. Your help would be greatly appreciated and you could learn about the projects of each member of any group you sponsor.