“Our husbands do not give us that much support to sustain us; they are not up to the task of catering for the families’ financial needs inclusive of the children’s education, feeding, medical bills rent and the like and I do not know why,’ Ms Fausta Nnaku muses.
She is one of a ten-member group, Kanyaya Komamboga Piggery Project which they formed in 2016 for the express aim of addressing their households’ financial hardships.
“By the time we heard of a government programme that sought to assist women like ourselves to fight household poverty, the group had been active for a while, although with quite limited working capital,” Nakku points out.
Each member would weekly contribute UShs2000 for one of the group to inject into their chosen venture or solve whatever challenge they had. By the year 2017 when the Ministry of Gender project was introduced to them, they were cohesive and easily worked together, and hence they decided on piggery.
The women raise the ‘white large’ breed, chosen for its ease of management and disease resistance; it is fast multiplying, delivering up to 15 piglets at a go. The group periodically seeks the services of a veterinary doctor and when there is need.
Chaired by Ms Robina Kayanja, the groups’ other members are Treasurer Mugyenyi Sarah, Jane Zawedde, Robina Walugembe, Yiga Robina, Robina Nanteza, Nabukeera Leocardia, Leila Nalumansi and Fausta Nnaku who explains, “Most of us are married; two are single and one is widowed but all of us are mothers.”
Ms Nakku says the group diligently attended and participated in the sensitization prior to receiving the UShs6million start-up capital from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Services. Given to understand that if the money was paid back within the first 12 months of the project, it would be interest free, they signed up.
The group is however conscious of the other provision that whatever balance is outstanding after the initial 12 months will attract five per cent interest.
Nakku elaborates that from the savings the women pulled together before the contact with the government, “We bought a gilt (female pig) for UShs200, 000 and not long afterwards a boar for UShs350,000, which we had determined were of a good breed as we waited for the Ministry to get set.”
And hence when the government’s money became available, “We had had a head start with a litter of nine piglets, thus a total of 12 pigs.” With the extra funding, they built a more capacious pigsty, bought feed and four more pigs.
The offspring piglets of which six were boars were sold off, earning some money and reducing the cost of feeding. The pioneer pig delivered 15 piglets at its second littering, which were also sold off at the right time for UShs1.2 of which UShs1m of the six million was paid back. Over seven months, the group has paid back UShs3.54m.
With the group’s monthly payment of UShs150,000 to the pigsty attendant and since December 2017 each member monthly earning UShs20,000 and the host of the pigsty earning UShs30,000, it has resolved that with the second injection of government money, each member will keep one pig at their homes besides the maintenance of the groups’ pig stock.
Nakku says the members have maintained and even refined the income avenues they originally had. They are appreciative of the monthly UShs20, 000 additions from the piggery and with a further injection of UShs6m when they fully pay back what they took, “We shall be okay.”
The group likes the care and attention the responsible Gender Ministry officials have accorded them; “They have visited to see our progress and encouraged us to remain steadfast in the pursuit of the attainment of our objectives.”
Kanyaya Komamboga Piggery Project Treasurer, Ms Sarah Mugyenyi stresses that, “Having managed to pay back more than fifty per cent of the money to the government, we clearly see light at the end of the tunnel. We are determined to repay the balance. We do not want to forfeit the opportunity for more support.”
She adds that the members have always been committed to being productive and never engage in women’s idle pass time gossip, “None of us has time for idling and when we convene, it is for productivity and value addition to the project through ideas exchange. We look forward to constructing a better pigsty when we complete the repayment of the initial UShs6m. We shall expand to cater for a bigger pig population. We are transforming for the better.”
The group’s pigsty is on Ms Nakku’s land to which they pay rent, “We have an agreement with her under which we operate and to whose terms we have lived and intent to be compliant as we expand.”
With the pigsty droppings, the members manure their vegetable gardens.