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Village Community Banking (VICOBA)

We are happy to report that over the past four years, the Village Community Banking (VICOBA) program has transformed lives and communities. It also supports the main objectives of the Kitega Community Centre.

Our five-year plan (2013-2017) includes a commitment to provide education and vocational skills to 100 disabled children and 100 orphans, and to expand credit and entrepreneurial training to 600 families.

What is VICOBA?
VICOBA is a tailored micro-finance program. It is designed to provide credit to low-income people who need capital to start their own businesses. The program brings together groups of 25 to 50 people, mostly women, and allows them to combine their savings to create a community-based bank.

Members can then take out loans to fund micro-enterprises and self-employment initiatives. VICOBA is a community-based system that provides mutual support and encouragement to empower community members to work together to create sustainable development.

1. To increase the ability of community groups to identify, utilize and develop their local resources
2. To provide increased access to credit to community initiatives
3. To increase off-farm employment and self-employment opportunities
4. To ensure long-term success by providing participants with accounting and business management skills
5. To help individuals fulfil their dreams and to improve living standards for the wider community

In 2014, we conducted a survey to assess the impact of the VICOBA program over the previous four years. The results showed:

  • The number of VICOBA beneficiaries has increased four-fold since 2011
  • The total number of people who have benefitted from the program is 294
  • Over 50 members are currently undergoing training to join the program
  • The number of men joining the program has increased from 4% in 2011 to 12% in 2014
  • Women are taking the lead in influencing community development.

Of those involved in the VICOBA program, 10% are parents or guardians of children with disabilities. These families are being empowered to fight poverty, supporting the Kitega Community Centre’s primary objective to support disabled children.

vicoba2In terms of funding, 51% of participants have borrowed from the VICOBA community bank. They have used the funds to start up their own businesses and create self-employment opportunities.

Businesses established through VICOBA borrowing include: Farming (pigs, poultry and cattle), crops, retail shops, vegetable stalls, tailoring businesses, restaurants, and the construction of rental houses. Around 90% of VICOBA participants are involved in farming.

Over 250 businesses have been established during the past four years, with a number of beneficiaries establishing at least two businesses. Some participants have up to five businesses.

Participants agree the knowledge and skills they acquired through the VICOBA training has helped them to expand their businesses.

In terms of sustainability, 80% of businesses started are still in operation after three years.

The VICOBA program has led to a great improvement in participants’ household incomes, which has helped families meet their basic needs such as food, shelter, and education.

For every business started, around 10 lives are transformed (this is the average size of VICOBA participants’ households)

In terms of community development, 72% of VIOCOBA participants are actively supporting local initiatives. We see this as a clear sign that the VICOBA model trains leaders who are capable of bringing about real and lasting change within their communities.

VICOBA beneficiaries also report their attitude towards Kitega’s disabled children has greatly improved. They now look upon these children as special and valuable people who can actively contribute to the development of the whole community.

If you would like to help us expand this valuable program, you can donate to VICOBA using the donation button at the top of this page.

Supporters are encouraged to donate and support VICOBA business startups, training, or even the revolving loan fund.

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