This man is showing the number of Ugandan Shillings his savings and loans group of 25 community members (some, a part of the New Life Medical Center's HIV/AIDS programming) has collectively saved in the last 12 months (equivalent to nearly $850). Uganda is in the top 20 poorest countries in the world, and this community is in one of the regions of Uganda most affected by war in the last two decades. We find this remarkable...and it is! But, it should be the norm.
Africans don't need our pity, our charity, or our high-tech solutions. For those that have the vision and commitment, teaching African's how to discover, develop, and use all the resources within their reach creates dignity, hope, and lasting change. "McDevelopment" may be sexy, and it scratches our western itch for instant deliverables, but it's not impacting. It forces an ongoing dependency on western assistance. Our partners, Food for the Hungry Uganda (FHU) have developed a Village Savings and Loans (VSL) program, that gives dignity, and creates lasting change.
VSL is an important part of helping HIV+ people have healthy sustainable lives so they can buy medicines, afford transport to health centers, and buy nutritious foods - as well as all the other things in life like paying school fees for their children. FHU has integrated VSL groups (Village Savings and Loans Groups), meaning, rather than creating separate VSLs for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs), they integrate PLWHAs into existing VSLs - this helps them interact with their community, the community sees they are healthy, productive people, and overall reduces the stigma associated with being HIV+ and builds relationships within the community.
Blog post written by: Barak Bruerd - Africa Programs Director
Discuss September 25, 2012