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Bookkeeping for Change - Phase 2
$6,743 raised
112% of $6k goal
46 contributors
0 days left
Ended Sep 11, 2017
Learning how to keep track of their sources and uses of cash, as well as credit sales, purchases and loans, is enriching the lives of women and their families in rural Uganda. This campaign raises funds to print bookkeeping ledgers and train 1,200 women.

August 2017

Dear Supporters

For the past 2 years I have been working in Uganda with a local accounting firm. In my free time I meet with groups who want to learn how to improve their financial situation. One such group is the Osukuru United Women's Network in Tororo, eastern Uganda.

This summer we ran a pilot program with half of the 40 savings groups in the Network to test if keeping a financial diary of their cash and credit transactions would lead to improved accountability and better financial decision making. 

The pilot's success was due, in a large part, to the commitment and passion of the Project Coordinator - Stephen Okolett, a retired teacher and husband of the Chair of the Osukuru Network.

Stephen and I developed a program to train 16 unemployed high school graduates, who live in the same area as these women, in basic bookkeeping and financial management. Working in pairs these trainees met weekly with the savings groups to teach the women how to use the Cash Book and Credit Sales and Purchases Book. 

The results have been amazing. I visited the project this week to meet the interns and half of the 20 groups. The women described how bookkeeping has brought harmony and unity to their families and their communities. With transparency and accountability, husbands no longer accuse wives of mismanagement. Mothers no longer accuse their children of stealing. And loans between friends, credit sales and purchases no longer result in loss due to forgetfulness or arguments over amounts borrowed and paid. 

The simple act of record keeping on a daily basis engages the entire family. Many of the women are illiterate, except for numbers, so each night, the children, and sometimes the husbands, will help to update the ledgers.

Using a simple coding system, the women can see how their businesses are doing. For some it was a revelation to find out they were actually losing money. Making the decision to find a better income generating activity immediately improved their financial circumstances.

Keeping a financial diary has also managed to reduce spending. Because they have a code for 'unnecessary expenses' everyone is much more conscious and careful with how they spend their money - which means there's more money available for food, medicine and school fees. There was an interesting discussion over whether they should code 'payments to husbands' as 'unnecessary'!

The trainees were also eager to share how the program has affected their own spending habits. It's given them new insights into how they can control their purchase decisions and take responsibility to improve their financial circumstances.  

Our first Fundrazr campaign raised $4,000. This covered printing 2 books for 650 women and the 3 month trainee program. 

We need to raise another $2,000 to print books for the rest of the Osukuru Network and run a 1 month training program.  With 3 months experience under their belts, the trainees can now complete the training in 4 weeks. 

I hope you will join in to support Phase 2 of Bookkeeping for Change. Once this is successfully completed, the next step will be to write a grant to scale up implementation. Thank you for your support!

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at rhoffman@ahuganda.com 

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