Local bureaucracy permitting, TradeRelief will open it’s second office in Jinja, Uganda, this week! It has been a long and arduous journey from idea to final execution, but this week we will (hopefully) finally be able to say TradeRelief is operating in Kenya and Uganda. This comes at a time when our funds in Oyugis, Kenya are approaching self-sustainability with new loans being entirely financed by recycling repayments from old ones, allowing TradeRelief to direct our limited funds to this new office.
TradeRelief believes in working through and with local people and this office is no exception. Daudi Mutalya, a bright, young Ugandan, recently returned from working in the UK, has gotten together a group of nine qualified people, all heralding from the area and trained in fields as diverse as finance, engineering, hotel management and NGO management, and who will be overseeing the day-to-day running of TradeRelief in Jinja. They realised early on that sometimes the entrepreneurs with the biggest social impact might not be the most financially literate and put together three ‘modules’ that they offer to applicants, free
of charge of course, covering issues such as bookkeeping and risk management. This ensures that not only does the borrowers gain financially from the loans but by becoming more financially literate, they will also be in a better position to deal with the issues that inevitably will arise, making their businesses – and thus the jobs – more sustainable. Needless to say, at TradeRelief we’re very excited about this recent development and keen to see this take off the ground. In Daudi Mutalya’s own words: “It’s not a question of whether we can grow TradeRelief here; it’s a question about how to make it grow in such a way that we can maximise social impact while at the same limiting losses.” Full of ideas, he has talked with other NGOs, local councillors and the like to catch a wider net
and learn from others; microfinance institutions are plentiful in Uganda, even though few cater to our target group: existing business with the potential to grow from small to medium sized and create employment in the process.
The first borrowers have already been identified and as soon as the paperwork is in order, they will receive their loan. Hopefully, that’ll be within the week, so be sure to check back to read their story once it’s official.