How does the Bank for the Poor work best ?
The Aduku model from northern Uganda

In northern Uganda we had banks in three villages but two of the schemes were wiped out by terrorism a couple of years ago when a lot of people lost their lives in just one night.  Aduku village was not touched by the violence, thankfully.

In late 2003 the DCI Trust provided an initial capital fund of 500,000 Ugandan shillings which is about 160 or $200 to a local community group working for the benefit of widows and orphans from previous insurgency and violence, as well as from the HIV-AIDS problem which has also taken many lives and left a whole generation without adult men to work and provide. Children are brought up by elderly grandparents, or by the community or by no-one at all.

The local community group of five ladies and two men under the chairmanship of a local pastor lends from 50.000 shillings to 500.000 shillings depending on the business plan and experience of the borrower, primarily to poor widows, ladies and orphans. Around 6 to 8 projects at any one time. Most of the micro-businesses involved buying and selling clothes, food and a variety of products in the markets as well as tailoring, all of which produce daily cash.



Typical Bank for the Poor micro-businesses
Tailoring shop, charcoal production for cooking and shoes from worn out car tyres, 

Every loan is repaid monthly and all the loans have been repaid from earnings within six months maximum, often in less time than that.  The community group ask for a 2% interest on the loan amount and this increases the capital fund. This extra is given very willingly by the borrowers because they know that the 2% will help others to borrow and start a micro-business.

The local commercial banks charge at least 18% but never give loans to the poor anyway.

By 2006 the community group had grown the fund to 2,500,000 shillings and have had no business failures at all. We were able to add a further 1.000.000 shillings to the capital fund as we were very pleased with the management and the accountancy.

It was very impressive to see how these widows and their children had prospered through micro-enterprise. Children can go to school because there is money to pay for their school fees. With education they will be able to get good jobs and provide for their families.

It was everything we had hoped for, and more.

We have Banks for the Poor in Uganda, India, Burkina Faso and Cameroon. If you would help us with a gift we will be able to open more projects for widows, orphans and for poor people who are more than willing to work, and have skills but have no hope of getting any help at all from a commercial bank. There is no better use for money than using it to give hope to the poor.

We are the bank that likes to say Yes.

Les Norman
Founder, The DCI Trust in England
From 1985-2006
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