How a rural community in Uganda is mobilizing to access banking services

Almost 60% of the African population does not use a bank because it is beyond their reach.

As International Banking Day draws near, on December 4, a unique partnership in Kasasa, Uganda, helps community members, including farmers, access banking services, the majority of whom participate in the economy agricultural.

The InteRoots Initiative, a nonprofit organization based in Denver, USA, has partnered with the Kasasa community to create the Tat Sat Community Academy (TaSCA), an educational and cultural institution integrated with programs and services. of financial literacy.

Although the school will not open until next year, the Tat Sat Community Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (TaSSCOS) is expected to start operations before the end of 2021. The cooperative is owned by the community and, among others. services, facilitate access to the banking system – often acting as a liaison between members and large urban banks. By pooling the risks and resources of the community as a whole – or of small groups within the community (there is currently a businesswomen’s guild, for example) – this makes funding viable from a standpoint. large financial institutions. This approach has been successful in other rural communities around the world.

Ms. Namayega Agnes is a member of the TaSCA Kasasa community council and a farmer. Married with four children, she is excited about the possibilities the cooperative will have on the community, especially the effect it will have on women and girls.

“Women and children have not had an equal chance to progress and develop financially,” she said, adding that the cooperative was going to change that, “You can’t imagine how much this helps our community! When a true community program like this, without any strings attached, develops here, you can be sure that we will give it our all.

Community farmers are interested in investing in a mill through the cooperative, which will be used to process produce locally instead of having to outsource at a high cost. It will also provide locally sourced food for students and staff. In addition to providing financial services to local entrepreneurs and families, the co-op will work hand in hand with the school and the community at large to provide financial literacy programs and educational opportunities related to business and finance.

In another approach to making TaSCA sustainable, community members came up with an idea for the Graduate Enterprise Fund. Whenever a student pays tuition, the majority of the funds go into a fund that will be used to help students pursue their dreams after graduation. These set aside funds will be used directly for students who request to use them to further their goals, such as starting a business or continuing their education. If the plan is approved by a community board overseen by the cooperative, the student will receive direct financial support – about one to two years of stability – to pursue their dreams after graduation.

“The financial model that the Kasasa community has developed through TaSSCOS enables continued investments in people, institutions and infrastructure. It links existing economic and social sectors – both formal and informal – with financial tools and resources otherwise difficult to access in this context. The vision is truly innovative and has the potential to serve as a model for other similar initiatives around the world, ”said Scott Frank, Executive Director of The InteRoots Initiative.

About Keneth T. Graves

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