SEP beneficiaries receive a grant of 70 million shillings from UMU

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Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) has today Wednesday 21st October 2020, officially closed the Social Enterprise Project (SEP) with a grant of 70 million Uganda Shillings.

The closing ceremony was held at Kankobe – Ssenero in Nindye Parish, Nkozi Sub-county in Mpigi district by the Vice Chancellor Rev. Prof. John C. Maviiri. He led a team of Management members and staff who attended the function.

The grant is meant to ensure that the successes registered and activities of SEP are sustained and even expanded among the SILC groups and entrepreneurs in Nindye where it is expected to benefit a total of 12 groups and 30 entrepreneurs at the start. Since it is a revolving fund, it is expected to benefit other group members (over 600) in form of loans.

The 70 million Uganda Shillings grant was given as seed capital support provided by the Ford Family Program as the loans’ fund which was being managed by UGAFODE. At the start of the project, the funders and the implementing partners agreed that, at the end of the project, the seed capital shall be returned by UGAFODE to one of the implementing institutions – UMU.

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The Vice Chancellor was happy to learn that a lot of people especially community members have been able to engage in profit generating activities ever since the Social Enterprise Project (SEP) started in 2015 to 2019. After a field tour, it was found out  that although there are individual projects, majority of the members are running group projects and these are mainly in agriculture (particularly banana plantations) and service projects like catering; tents and chair hiring, salons, farming among others. With this grant, more members are encouraged to do group enterprises.

Prof. Maviiri advised the community to always educate their children and send them to Uganda Martyrs University, for quality education. He announced an offer of half-tuition bursaries to all SEP members who will send their children to UMU.

The Head of Department of Education for Sustainable Development and Community Engagement, also coordinator of the RCE for Greater Masaka, Bro. Aloysius Byaruhanga explained that the University implements such projects like SEP, as part of its efforts in supporting the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals that aim at addressing today’s global challenges.

The Project Team Leader and trainer of the SILC groups, Francis Ssekijjo highlighted that the purpose of the Social Enterprise Project (SEP) was to increase people’s incomes through improved access to financial capital. The objectives were; increasing access to credit and building entrepreneurial skills among SILC group members. The main activities were provision of loans to selected entrepreneurs and trainings in entrepreneurship. The loans to the entrepreneurs were managed and disbursed through UGAFODE – a microfinance institution.

He also added that the project was implemented in Nindye Parish as a build up on the successes of the establishment of micro- saving groups in the area that were supported by the Ford Family Program and implemented by the University Partnership for Research and Development (UPFORD) of Uganda Martyrs University and University of Notre Dame in US since 2015.  Nindye was selected because it had the highest population in the sub county; largest in size (12 villages); was low in terms of group organization/participation and easy to access (on Masaka-Kampala highway).

The funds that have been received will be distributed directly through the SILC groups. The groups will then give the loans to the individual members using the existing group guidelines on loan management. He also advised members to think of starting a village Bank for smooth running of their financial activities.

During the same event, a new Project known as Community Lending and Outside Capital (CLOC) was launched.

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