Microfinance & Empowerment Programs In Gulu

by Women's Global Empowerment Fund
growing mushrooms in Gulu
growing mushrooms in Gulu

“Microcredit must not replace the role of the state in providing basic services and traditional forms of aid, which can further help to alleviate gaps in food security, health and education, but a microcredit loan may be the difference between hunger and the ability to feed one’s self.”  KS

To date WGEF has given out over 4500 loans, and this quarter we gave out 277 new loans to 43 borrowing groups. It is planting season, so many of our loans were for agro projects, which is helping to increase food security at the household and community level.

Our traditional businesses include: tailoring, construction, food service, restuarants, poultry, shops, and many other endeavors. The spirals of this are immeasureable; our clients are hiring employees, their families are experiencing increased food security, more consistent school attendance, and a brighter future.

Our average loan size last quarter was $53.00 usd; while this seems like a small amount, it can be powerful, creating opportunities. Before the loan is disbursed to the borroing group, the participants attend several business trainings, creating a viable business plan, savings plan, and electing leadership.

Recently there was a fire in the Gulu market. Eleven of our clients lost their businesses but thankfully no one was hurt. We are restructuring their loans and have assigned a peer counselor to assist.

Along with loan dibursements, WGEF is offering it's literacy training again, with 104 women participating this year at two levels, twice weekly.

I hope are you inspired, we cannot provide opporutnities without support and funding. Thank you for your commitment to women's empowerment.

agro project
agro project
It's a famliy affair


Growing mushrooms outside of Gulu
Growing mushrooms outside of Gulu

WGEF's Credit Plus program in Gulu, northern Uganda is successfully creating economic activity and social capital opportunities for women and families! This year we have given hundreds of traditional and agriculture loans providing women a way to rebuild and recover their lives. Our program is unique among interventions; we offer our clients literacy, leadership development, and health initiatives, at no cost enabling them to fully participate in their communities, building self esteem and confidence. Below are client quotes from our 2013 survey: 


While in the program life was much easier because my children had enough food, my capital was bigger and I did not have to ask other relatives to support me


WGEF's loan is much more better compare to others; WGEF also does not give loan but important educational programs and through these, her life has changed.


I have learned how to do business (keeping records) how to stay with people, save money and I was able to build some courage to making good decision in my family.


The loan and the training I got from the office has really helped me to increase in my business and able to decide for myself when problems arise.


Other than improving my economic status, through the literacy program I learnt how to read and write, the event also made me discover my talents in drama and the other performances which made me very happy and in the end my health was also improved.

Our program is critical in this post conflict region and even more so now, due to the crisis in S. Sudan; northern Uganda is receiving many refugees, creating more need and pressure on services. Increasing economic activity and our loan portfolio is more important than ever, and we appreciate your support and encouragement! 

Our average loan size is $55; we continue to have a 100% repayment rate, and our farmers a doing outstanding work at increasing food security at the household and community level. We hope you are inspired by our clients and what is possible....

Peace and love in the New Year! 


a baker shows us her oven...
a baker shows us her oven...
Mango grove, bananas, papayas too!
Mango grove, bananas, papayas too!
farming, literacy and trainings!
farming, literacy and trainings!
agro project
agro project

As you know, WGEF is more than a microfinance endeavor; we elevate women's voices! We reject the status quo of accepted levels of violence and poverty women face and strive to give women and their families the tools and support they need to address inequality in the economic, social and political sphere. Perhaps best put by one of WGEF’s clients, Grace Kevin, expressing her experience as a program client:

“Thank you for the opportunity to share with you, by the way this is an achievement to me I used to fear to share but now will never be silent again.”

-Grace Kevin, WGEF client 

Our Credit Plus program has given 3400+ microcredit loans, basic business training and opportunities to participate in development programs. We made our first loan in October, 2007 and since April, 2008, have experienced rapid growth. Our reputation in the community indicates that we have a meaningful, solid, fair program, resulting in new groups applying weekly. Several indicators highlight the success of this program and where we are at this point in time. One, we have had no defaults or missed payments; two, many groups have applied for a fourth and fifth loan to expand and grow their businesses, some women are hiring assistants and employees from their villages; three, we have received very positive feedback from community leaders, our clients, and have received  extensive press coverage; and four, we have had fantastic turnouts for our reproductive health training in May, and the 5th annual Kikopo Pa Mon Gulu, Creating a Voice for Women in Gulu, drama festival in October, 2012.  

Due to the positive response and overwhelming success of Kikopo Pa Mon Gulu, it has become a regional and nationally recognized event. By encouraging the idea of traditional music, dance, and drama in the local language, the culture of the area would be preserved, and the relevance of these issues to the community would be elevated. We would like to invite you to share our excitment as we prepare for our 6th annual Kikopo Pa Mon Gulu, celebrating the theme Women, a force for peace, security and democracy!

Thank you so much for your continued support and kindness. We look forward to sharing the exciting events of these coming months with you as we work together to fight poverty and inequality.

animal husbandry
animal husbandry
businesswoman and community leader
businesswoman and community leader

The average WGEF microcredit loan is $57. This loan enables a woman to start a business, expand her business, feed her family, participate in her community and create virtuous spirals of possibilities....

To date WGEF has given over 3300 loans, with a 100% repayment rate, enabling us to continue to loan money and create new entreprenuers. Businesses include, selling produce, goods in the market, food service, small restaurants, hotels, tailoring, quarry work, beauty salons, construction, and many other viable cottage endeavors. In addition, we have given out over 240 agriculture loans, creating small/medium scale women farmers; increasing food security at the household and community level. Our agro loan program has been a great success and an important part of a healthy recovery for the northern region. 

Your donation is more than just a loan, it is a lifeline to increased economic and human security, hear from one of our clients: 

"As a mother of seven I had no idea about how my life would be after the impact of the LRA War. I was abducted at the age of six and returned with two children, I hardly knew what to do with my life because my parents were gone. After a few years I met a man whom I thought would provide me with all the security I needed, all was a myth because he kept beating me each time I asked for money and whenever he came home drunk causing even more pain and suffering. With all the pain I wanted to return to the bush where life was much easier but whenever I looked at my children I felt they needed me because no one could look after them after I was gone. It was then that I started growing vegetables and selling but the money was not even enough to cater for our upkeep because my husband could even take it away from me.

I had one problem after the other, with no one to turn to but one day I met a group of Women Benefiting from WGEF, after several days, a peer counselor shared with me a lot about what I was going through and introduced me to the Program, due to my low self esteem I feared to be among other women but gradually I gained the courage.

 My life has now changed not only because of the loans but also the trainings that I received. I managed to start up a business and a live stock project which is helping me pay school fees and other basic needs; I also bought a bicycle from the profits which has eased the transportation of my products to the market. At this point the relationship within my family has improved and we are working together to provide for our family, people in my community now respect me and I am now even a community leader, something I thought wasn’t meant for me. At last I have the hope that was long gone."

 “Please fellow women, do not think whatever you went through or are going through cannot change – we can rise above poverty once equipped with the right tools”

“Akello Beatrice – Bungatira”  God Bless WGEF 

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to equality and women's empowerment! 



WGEF client and family in the market
WGEF client and family in the market

The Credit Plus program creates sustainable human development. By focusing not only on economic activity, but critical educational and political opportunities as well, enable women and families to increase human security and empowerment. 

We have made over 3300 hundred loans, 500+ women have learned to read and write, 5 women ran for political office in 2011 with 3 successful. Poverty is the result of inequality in multiple spheres, WGEF addresses inequality by focusing on the social and political dimensions critical to systemic change. 

We have not lost a loan, I believe this in due in part to the program, staff and integrity of women, wanting to create a brighter future for themselves and their families. 

As we move forward into our 6th year and beyond, our program continues to be transformative, provocative and relevant.  We hope you are inspired and continue to support WGEF and the women we serve in northern Uganda.

Client Quote:

My hope is back! And I have no worries now, my children will appreciate and I have started receiving thank you notes from them. Sarah said to me “thank mother for being there for us all the time even when things were hard during the war, Mumy I have learnt a lot from you and I promise I will be a perfect Mum like you in future”.  I cried because of joy and happiness that my daughter brought into 

"My name is Grace Arach, 29 years old, I have 3 children and a member of Kwo Aye Lonyo women group, I joined WGEF in 2008 and together with my members we have received 5 loan cycles. I sell fruits in the market and do some agriculture for home consumption. It was my first time to join any loan program and I feel preveraged to be part of the WGEF. I m so happy that I can now read and write my name an opportunity which I lost when I was young but when WEGF opened the free literacy program I was among the first one to register."

WGEF clients - quarry businesses are popular
WGEF clients - quarry businesses are popular



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Organization Information

Women's Global Empowerment Fund

Location: denver, colorado - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.wgefund.org
Project Leader:
Karen Sugar
Founder and Director
Denver, Colorado United States
$6,670 raised of $15,000 goal
106 donations
$8,330 to go
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