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Projects > Uganda_Apr94

The reading of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen’ s work on “Credit Unions as an instrument to produce relief of poverty of the rural population” and the friendship with African students during my doctoral studies at the University of Notre Dame, USA, inspired the strong desire to see if Raiffeisen’s principles - applied in an appropriate form - could also help in the Ugandan context.

A letter outlining my ideas that I had sent to Fr. Albert Byaruhanga, the local development coordinator for the diocese of Fort Portal in the West of Uganda who simultaneously served as an advisor to Uganda’s president Museveni, was well received. Having finished my degree, two years later the way was free to undertake field studies together with Fr. Albert’s team.

Staying at the homes of the local people for one month and visiting all kind of women clubs with income generating activities as well as revolving funds, farmer cooperatives, teachers and credit unions across the diocese allowed gaining a deep inside into the opportunities and challenges of estalishing a rural financial network for savings and loans.

Above: Women club producing honey.

Left: A women club doing handicraft; Right: Production of clay bricks by members of a revolving fund

Almost all people in the diocese of Fort Portal could be reached due to its excellent organizational structure linking the Small Christian Communities with Sub-Parish Committees which in turn were linked with Parish Development Committees and the Zonal Coordinators who reported to the Development Coordinator. Working through this network the idea was to educate the people at the grass root level about savings and credit for small business in accordance with Raiffeisen’s principles of Self-help, Self-organization and Self-responsibility realized in form of small saving and credit societies. The latter ones should be affiliated as a society on parish level and the sixteen Parish Savings and Credit Societies should in turn be affiliated with the at that time still to be established Fort Portal Branch of the well known Centenary Rural Development Bank (CERUDEB) with headquarters in Kampala.


Rev. Fr. Albert B. Byaruhanga (12.06.1951 – 26.10.2009)

In memory of his incomparable commitment and outstanding work for the people of Uganda.

Even though this project could not be funded in 1994, Fr. Albert never abandoned the ideas developed. In 1998 he manages to get support from the Catholic Relief Service in the establishment of a village banking program for Fort Portal as well as two neighboring dioceses. In 2003 these three village banking programs in the dioceses of Hoima, Fort Portal and Kasese merged to become the microfinance institution HOFOKAM.