Project information

Empowering 1,500 households in northern Uganda

Karamoja is an area of extreme poverty. We want to work with our local partner to begin a sustainable microfinance programme. We will offer simple financial literacy and business skills training along with access to a safe place to save and borrow small loans.

February 2017 - February 2022

Charity information: Five Talents

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  • Need


    Karamoja region is an arid area located in north-eastern Uganda. Following decades of conflict, the area has the lowest development indicators of any of Uganda’s regions; over 80% of Karamoja’s population live below the poverty line compared to around 30% nationally (OCHA, 2011). It has the highest percentage of people with no education, the highest rates of infant mortality, and the highest rates of female genital mutilation within the country (UBS & ICF International, 2012).


    The programme will provide basic training in financial literacy, agricultural methods and business skills. Building on this foundation, 1,500 households will be provided with the means to build resilience through savings and access to small loans to invest in their businesses.

    The majority of members will be women who are most likely to be financially excluded. Nearly all members will be illiterate, live in rural areas, and be under the age of 30.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Train 1,500 members in basic financial literacy, business skills, and agricultural methods


    » Local staff will be provided with training to enable them to become better trainers themselves.
    » All 1,500 members will receive basic financial and business skills training.

    The uptake and use of their skills will be measured using pre- and post-tests to assess level of business skills knowledge before and after the training.

    Aim 2

    All 1,500 members will have a safe place to save, many for the first time.


    » Groups will be trained in the importance of saving and provided with a safe place to begin saving small amounts.

    Members will have a safety net of personal savings they can access in case of an emergency. We will measure growth in savings per member annually using our Musoni technology.

    Aim 3

    Members borrow small loans allowing them to make significant investments into their businesses.


    » After 6 months, members will begin borrowing from their combined savings. They repay with interest which will be shared between members as dividends.

    We will measure the number and size of loans taken as well as the repayment rates of loans. As in our others programmes, we expect repayment rates to be high (above 95%).

  • Impact


    Communities in Karamoja will have a safe place to save, meaning they are no longer forced to sell productive assets during difficult times. Members will have access to small loans enabling them to make proportionally more significant investments in their businesses.

    This will mean that more children will be able to attend school, the household will have better diets and better access to healthcare. We will use the PPI+ survey (integrated within our Musoni technology) to track these changes.


    The biggest risk that we don’t raise enough money to support this programme. To mitigate this risk, we have a fundraising plan and like all of our new programmes, expect the branch to become self-sustaining after around five years.

    Another risk is conflict. Our programme would itself mitigate some of this risk by encouraging all, regardless of background, to join our Trust Groups. Members savings will act as a buffer during any conflict by protecting their households and businesses.


    We will send two reports to donors from the Big Give Christmas Challenge in the year after the appeal. We will also keep our website and social platforms up to date with news from the programme and include these in our regular supporter communications.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £52,221

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      Amount Heading Description
      £13,650 Field Expenses – Training Includes training of trainers, training manuals, fuel to visit groups and evaluation of training
      £7,140 Field Staff Salaries 1 Branch Manager, 2 Training/Loan Officers
      £5,250 Capacity building Support offered from Five Talents Kenya who have ten years experience of running savings programmes
      £8,734 Operating costs & Musoni Office rent, audit and utilities. The Musoni system to allow cloud-based record keeping.
      £4,200 Office staff salaries Part-time Office Manager and Accountant
      £8,500 Capital purchases 3 motorbikes, 5 laptops, tablets and printer
      £4,747 Five Talents UK support Annual evaluation visit, scrutiny of quarterly financial and narrative reports and technical advice
  • Background


    Karamoja sits in the north east corner of Uganda. The majority of the population are agro-pastoralists. Frequent drought and armed cattle rustling mean that many communities find themselves stuck in a cycle of violence and constantly at risk of losing the income streams they rely on.

    Over the past decade the UN has been engaged in a disarmament process but food shortages, limited access to markets, climate change, and tribal tensions mean that development has largely halted.


    Nearly all of the project’s beneficiaries will be female. In Karamoja, women often have no land or property rights meaning they cannot improve the lives of their households. The programme will support women to increase their economic productivity, become economically empowered, and enhance their decision-making power within the household.

    The majority of the beneficiaries will also be illiterate. This will mean that initially the focus will be on basic financial literacy training.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have 10 years’ experience setting up village savings, loans and training programmes in marginalised communities in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. This programme in Karamoja will benefit from the support of our experienced staff in Kenya who have been using this model for the past ten years.

    All of our programmes are Sustainable, Transformational, Inspirational and Replicable (STIR) and we measure impact so donors know their gifts are well used.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rev Joseph Lomongin

    Joseph will oversee the programme. He has over 7 years experience of managing Development programmes in Karamoja.

    Peterson Karanja

    Local oversight. Over 10 years’ experience of Five Talents’ programmes. Now runs Five Talents Kenya; a hub to support new programmes in East Africa.

    Rachel Lindley

    12+ years’ programme management of microfinance programmes. Will provide oversight, ongoing monitoring, and long-term evaluation of the programme.