John also met members of Igombe’s second Busega Scotland women’s group, called Tusaidiane (in English ‘ to help each other’). The group currently has 11 members and 7 were present, with the absentees at a funeral. The group has so far received £95 capital into their vicoba (credit union or informal bank) from Busega Scotland and the women have been taking loans to grow their businesses and for family expenditure. The loans have varied from £2 to £14, with an average of about £8. In addition, the women contribute small amounts to the vicoba every week and have so far saved £80 between them. When this is added to the capital and loan interest their savings are growing well.
6 more women will join the group in June and as well as receiving the normal grant of £45 each, a total of £50 will be added on their behalf to the vicoba capital. This model allows women to establish their businesses initially, and then take loans to grow them further. The current Tusaidiane members sell fish, fruit, firewood, gravel and charcoal.
Julieth Godwin, Busega Scotland’s Assistant Project Leader, supports the group with training, which has so far concentrated on health issues – malaria, cholera, HIV, clean water and basic hygiene. The women are keen to learn and to develop their curriculum further.