Women carry the heaviest burden of poverty in Uganda. Women’s empowerment is key to ending that poverty, and that’s why it is one of the top priorities of Kerith Ministry. The church stands out as a grass roots institution through which change and development can be realized.
Rather than giving women food or money, Kerith Ministry focuses on training and educating women to find lasting solutions to the challenges they face – hunger, poverty, and disease. They have created a nurturing environment that gives a voice to women and helps them discover who God created them to be. Weekly Bible study and fellowship encourage the women to grow in their faith. Sometimes, it can be challenging for the women to step out in leadership when don’t believe they are capable, but through these meetings many discover that they can effectively minister to others.
Kerith Ministry created the Bugaga foundation with the objective of encouraging economic empowerment for women by providing financial loans to create or boost small businesses. To date, 12 women have benefited from this program, with many already earning enough to repay their loans! In 2015, they hope to extend interest free loans to 50 additional women totaling $2,125.
Amagoro Eflance received a 100,000 shilling loan – about $35 US – to boost her business of selling spices and onions at the Pallisa Central Market. She was able to purchase additional supplies and increase her sales. She now earns enough to meet all of her needs, as well as some to save.
In November 2014, women’s ministry leadership created SACCO, a saving and investment entity for women. The required weekly savings contribution is 5,000 Ugandan shillings – about $1.75 – per week. They intend to invest the money in income generating activities like piggery and poultry, all geared towards increasing earnings for the women. To date, 23 women are participating. They expect that number to grow as more women become financially stable.
Kerith Ministry also provides health education including instruction in the basics of caring for children and personal hygiene. Free or reduced cost medical care is offered at their recently opened Health Centre.
Women are trained to become volunteer community health experts allowing them to work with families in their communities to improve health. They are able to share their knowledge and encourage others to seek appropriate medical care when needed.
Women in Uganda are experiencing the freedom that comes with knowing that they are able to provide for the financial and physical needs of their families. It is our prayer that they also find freedom in a relationship with Christ as a result of the care and attention they experience at Kerith Ministry.
Goals for 2015
- Provide additional financial education to help women make informed financial decisions
- Extend interest free loans to 50 women enabling them to build their businesses
- Encourage women to participate in SACCO
- Provide health care training and encourage women to utilize the health center