Namukasa Kasolo Tayiha, at just 10 years old, is investing in her own education and future after participating in The Hunger Project Uganda’s training on microfinance at her primary school. These types of workshops, led by volunteer animators, encourage youth to start saving and are often the first steps towards economic empowerment.
In Uganda, microfinance supports the reduction of poverty by improving people’s standards of living and economic self-sufficiency. It also offers a pathway to education, health care and gender equality. While it is often adults who make these types of investments, Namukasa– who lives in the Iganga district of Nakalama County of Uganda–was ready to start planning for her future after participating in a workshop!
“I remember the teacher who came from The Hunger Project saying that most girls these days drop out of school to get married at a young age because their parents can no longer support them,” says Namukasa. “But if they set aside some of their money in a savings account at the bank, they can support themselves by later being able to buy what they need to stay in school.”
The teacher inspired Namukasa to immediately open a savings account with her community’s cooperative. She then started putting part of her lunch money into an account on a weekly basis.
Namukasa’s father Kasolo Isma was happy to learn of his daughter’s initiative in planning for her own future. “This is something new that I have not heard of happening in Iganga,” he says. “When Namukasa told me she had registered with the bank to start saving, I was very happy and I am currently thinking of ways to ensure her savings grow.” Kasolo Isma says he is very proud of his daughter and is now sharing the news with other parents in the community.
So far, Namukasa has managed to save 75,210 shillings ($21USD) in her account and tries to deposit between 500 to 3000 ($0.15 to $0.85 USD) shillings a week. Even when Namukasa is not able to make it to the bank, she uses a savings box from The Hunger Project-Uganda to deposit money next time she visits her local saving cooperative bank.
This is just the beginning for Namukasa– one day she hopes to become a nurse while continuing to save for her future!