The Krochet Program is currently working to lift over 150 women and their families out of poverty. Conceived by our Ugandan Directors and with the beneficiaries as our advisory board, we've developed a truly innovative approach to job creation in Northern Uganda. The program combines a fair and consistent income to alleviate poverty immediately and capacity building training to address the future needs of the beneficiaries. We commit to working with each crocheter for a minimum of 3 years in order to ensure that we provide the highest quality of training and mentorship through personal budgeting, savings, loaning and business management topics. Our goal is to equip the women of Northern Uganda with the financial assets and knowledge to enter into the local economy and thereby end their dependence on humanitarian aid.
Village Savings and Loans Association
In 2008 10 beneficiaries launched a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) at the conclusion of their training. The original intent was to offer small loans to other women in the group and collect and divide any interest incurred. As word spread about the benefit of low-interest, non-formal loans the group has grown to not only include all 87 beneficiaries, but also family members and neighbors. Currently on any given week there is roughly $10,000 being saved in the VSLA. What started as the dream of 10 empowered women has led to a small financial institution that will fund the future endeavors of the beneficiaries and their communities.
History of Northern Uganda
After enduring years of political instability and violent struggles for power, most of Uganda has enjoyed stability and relative development since the mid 1980s. The story has been drastically different in the country's north, however, where the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, began its campaign in 1986. The brutal slaughter of civilians, burning of homes and property, and abductions of over 30,000 children to be used as soldiers, laborers, or wives for the rebel officers serve as a testament to the horrific actions of the LRA over the 20 years of fighting, the ineffective protection offered by the Ugandan military, and the resilience of the incredibly nationalistic and independent people.
In an effort to reduce attacks on villagers in rural areas, the government mandated mass relocations to Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps, forcing over 1 million people to leave their homes. Even with the increased faith in national security, the path of recovery has proven to be a long and exhausting one, and entire generations of people have been born and raised within the walls of these camps. Numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations have worked and are currently working in the region to assist in the process of returning hundreds of thousands of people to their homes, settling land ownership disputes, clearing away land mines, re-integrating returning abductees, and helping the victims of this 20+ year war overcome their trauma and begin making efforts toward a better, more hopeful future for the citizens of Northern Uganda.