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Karimojong quit saving groups as poverty bites

A village savings and loan association (VSLA) group in the northeastern sub-region of Karamoja. File Photo

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Several village savings groups in Moroto district have collapsed following the withdraw of many members due to biting poverty in the region.

A survey carried out by URN in Moroto district found that most members have opted to stay away from saving groups because they are failing to raise registration fees.

Speaking to URN on Thursday, John Dengel, the chairperson of Aimono Savings group in Moroto municipality said the culture of saving that the Karimojong families had embraced was failing due to poverty at household level.

“Members have left saving due to poverty and the situation has been made worse by the recent total Covid-19 lockdown that affected very many businesses,” he said.

According to Mr. Dengel, several members in his group have pulled out after realizing that they could no longer afford two or even a meal a day.

Grace Tikol, one of the members of Aimono Savings group said contributing for the savings has become difficult especially in families headed by single mothers.

She said some members who borrowed group loans have even failed to pay back because they were forced to eat all the capital.

“For me, I find it difficult to continue with savings because I cannot even afford salt of 1,000 shillings, let alone 3,000 for the group weekly, so I failed,” she said.

URN learnt that this situation is not in Moroto district alone but other districts in the region are also facing the same challenge.

The commercial officer of Napak district, Joshua Risa said Covid-19 affected many groups in the entire region.

According to Mr. Risa, most members used to rely on small businesses like bars where they could generate money for savings but these have been closed as a preventive measure to fight Covid-19.

Joshua Risa appeals to government to support some of the registered saving groups with capital to start their savings again.

“Many saving groups have collapsed because people ate all the savings and even the capital during the total lockdown, and now they don’t have anything to restart with, I wish government could help these groups with some little capital to start savings again,” he said.



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