WEKEMBE:

Championing The War Against Poverty

WEKEMBE means to “work hard and pull out of a certain condition.” It is also an acronym for:- W-Women’s E-Empowerment with K-Knowledge E-Evangelization M-Management and B-Basic E- Entreprenual Skills.

Wekembe was founded by His Grace Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga to provide financial and related services to low income members of society to enable them improve the quality of lives of their households.

BACKGROUND

Wekembe was founded after a baseline survey was conducted and it was realized that there were very high unemployment and under employment levels as well as inadequate financial resources for small businesses. This was most prevalent among women whose access to financial services was limited by lack of collateral, low education levels, proximity of financial institutions to villages and intimidating bank procedures. Wekembe was then founded by His Grace Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga with a loan of 4,000,000 Uganda shillings only from Centenary Bank.

OUTREACH

Operating in 8 (eight) Administrative Districts of Kampala, Luweero, Nakaseke, Wakiso, Mpigi, Butambala, Mukono, Buikwe Districts. Reaching out to18,062 members organized in 562 community based organisations of which 68% are women. We reach out to all people irrespective of their religious affiliation. We currently have 22 staff with a portfolio of 2,262,000,000 Uganda shillings.

PROJECT AIM

To increase the family income through sustainable integrated development methods in a gender and environmentally sensitive manner.

– Capacity building of self-help groups (group formation/ dynamics) and gender.

– Generating income through development of common marketing structures.

– Promoting of sustainable agriculture and market access (Sustainable livelihood)

– Enabling access to financial resources and inputs (savings and micro credit system.)

– Promotion of environment protection and renewable energy.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION

Community mobilization meetings leading to self-selected group clusters of 5-50 people forming a village Bank that undergo seven days training in saving, group dynamics, leadership, business appraising, entrepreneurship, record keeping and loan management.

– Use of NGO ideas for target populations to analyze their situations; set indicator based goals, participatory planning, priority setting and inbuilt monitoring.

– Collateral free loans however, use of group guarantee mechanisms to minimize risks.

– Weekly/monthly meetings of group members

– Registration of Village Banks at the District Community Development office and opening of Independent Bank accounts in Centenary Bank.

– Formation of producer associations and training

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

– Micro saving

– Micro consulting e.g. business plan, development, business counseling, entrepreneurship training.

– Commercial loans.

– Agricultural loans

– Renewable energy loans: – solar, Biogas, fuel saving stove.

– Cottage industries: Processing/value addition

– Marketing: Formation of marketing associations, marketing collectively, linkage to reliable markets and provision of market information. Bulking of produce through the ware house receipt systems.

Formation of Wekembe Producers and Manufacturers Association for marketing, product standardization, exposures and skill improvement. Association has the following group categories Fish farming, piggery, poultry, crafts, Bakery and cottage industry, grain association, diary association and home improvement. –

CONCLUSION

Wekembe has proved a powerful instrument for poverty reduction. (Voices of clients) The company’s long term plan is to scale up / expand Its services. Sustainable financial services that improve conditions of the poor depend on sustainability of Institutions, efficient operations, understanding the needs of clients through reviews and scaling mass in clientele and loan portfolio. Wekembe has achieved that.