Let's Talk Business
At HOCW, we believe in helping others to help themselves. By learning marketable and entrepreneurial skills, our clients are able to develop ways to provide for themselves and their families.
HOCW provides business trainings in time management, financial literacy, budgeting, and financial planning. Understanding the basics of finance allows students to better monitor spending of their household and businesses.
The Women's Collective
One of HOCW's first initiatives, the Women’s Craft Collective is made up of both local and refugee women, who sell their wares to the greater Ndejje community. Their handmade crafts include beaded jewelry made from recycled paper, baskets and bags woven with dyed banana fibers, hand-bound books, soaps, and more. The Collective enables women not only to learn new skills but fosters friendships among members. By way of craft and conversation, members of the Collective are able to find both financial and social support.
Our students learn by doing. In a workshop outfitted with multiple sewing machines, women learn how to measure, cut, and sew fabric to make beautiful garments ranging from women's dresses to headbands to men's pants.
Like the tailoring workshop, students have a hands on experience learning hair dressing. At our salon onsite, they observe, practice on mannequin heads, and do actual clients' hair.
SACCOs (Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization) are member-owned saving and lending societies where members come together to pool their savings and take out loans. It works similarly to a commercial back, as members who save in the SACCO earn interest on their deposits. In addition to saving, members can take out loans for various purposes ranging from family or medical emergencies to starting a new business venture that must be paid back with interest; this covers the cost of administration and saving. The SACCO members are the owners, so they decide how their money will be loaned out, agree upon an interest rate, vote on board members, and hold each other accountable for any loan. The received interest on their savings incentivizes continued investment. SACCOs are democratic, community-oriented financial institutions that offer an alternative to people excluded from commercial banks due to high bank fees and interest rates or lack of collateral for loans. SACCOs educate their members around financial literacy by teaching how to manage money, track spending and income, and budget. This model enables community members to save and access capital, while simultaneously creating a sense of community buy-in.
WOMEN'S SAVINGS GROUP
The Women's Savings Group is similar to the SACCO but smaller; it is a Village Savings and Loan Association. Each week a group of about 30 women meet and agree on small-scale loans from their group, which will be paid back over an agreed upon time at an agreed upon interest rate. The main differences between the SACCO and the Savings Group is size: the loan amounts are much greater and there are many more members of a SACCO. Loans from the Savings Group tend to be smaller and more relationship-based. The bonds between the members facilitate accountability and the sense of responsibility. Nevertheless, both savings initiatives build trust and solidarity within the community.
The Mushroom Collective
Funded under a women's empowerment grant from the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, the Mushroom Collective is a unique undertaking that focuses on creating a sustainable source of income for its members. HOCW was able to purchase land, seeds, and materials; build a structure to house the mushroom crops; and hire an expert to advise. Responsibilities are shared equally by members in the community farming model. Members created a watering, packaging, and harvesting schedule amongst themselves. This project is innovative because mushrooms are not a commonly farmed crop in Uganda.
The Canteen has quickly become one of the most social spots on HOCW’s compound. Community members prepare delicious, local food at affordable prices for the people of Ndejje. This restaurant space houses a small eating area and a storefront, where the Women's Collective displays their handmade goods. Stop by the Canteen for a meal, a soda, or a look at the beautiful crafts displayed inside.