On Wednesday we went to visit a community in Bududa District in the mountains. After walking amongst the coffee plants, of which is their main cash crop, we arrived to find a coffee grinder laid out in front of us. One of the group had travelled to Kampala to buy the grinder, and they were proud to show us how it worked. 5 large spoonfuls of coffee each later, Damien and I were buzzing. As a utensil too expensive to buy as an individual, the group had pooled their savings together to buy a communal grinder. Due to the value of the grinder, ground coffee is worth more than selling coffee beans, and thus could be bought by members for personal consumption or to sell on, with the money being placed in the savings box.
Next to the grinder lay some basic household items. Due to their remote location basic household items can be more expensive and harder to access. They had decided, that if they used their savings together and bulk bought the items as a group, they could buy the items at the normal price, and the profit would go back into their savings box.
Finally, they had agreed a communal ambition to buy a bodaboda (motorcycle taxi) at the end of the year- long cycle. They perceived this as not only providing a constant income for the group, a mode of transport with which they could more easily access their basic items, but also provided one of their children with a job. They were looking at the bigger picture.
It is our role to help them save and loan money, it is not our role to tell them how to spend it. So when you see a group with entrepreneurial spirit, it is awesome to see that they have done it using their own initiative. They were working together as a community, to bear fruits as a community.