Empowering communities to build a sustainable future
LIRA & MBALE
MAPLE Uganda is the first branch of MAPLE, started in 2008. Initially, MAPLE served as a way for students to learn from Ugandans living in rural areas with very low incomes about financial and ecological resilience. Today, with the strong support of several partners, foundations, granting agencies, members, and donors, MAPLE’s 10 Ugandan staff members now work with over 60 villages in hard to reach rural areas, 2000 members of community-managed savings and loan groups, and over 150 children and youth. MAPLE Microdevelopment Uganda operates two branch offices, one in Lira, Northern Uganda, and the other in Mbale, Eastern Uganda.
Community managed savings groups are indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa and to Uganda. When MAPLE arrived in Uganda, it became clear through community dialogues that people wanted us to help them strengthen their own approaches to community banking. They asked us for education, not money, so they could generate more income, grow their self-managed funds, start new businesses, reach larger markets, and keep their children in school. Over time, as groups became stronger, many invited MAPLE to help them design linkages, through a membership-based model, to create additional funding for larger income generating projects.
By working closely with community members, MAPLE learned the importance of developing programs for youth to break the cycle of poverty. An astonishing 50% of the 36 million people who live in Uganda are 15 years of age or younger. Further, MAPLE learned the importance of developing programs regarding healthy agricultural practices, thus building ecological stewardship and supporting basic needs such as healthy food and clean water.