Happiness and Hope Can Help

Senior Director of Development, Jennifer Nixon, reflects on an update on the CGAP graduation model. To see the full article, Happiness Up, Poverty Down, by Dean Karlan, click here.

When I was in the field last year, interviewing our clients about how their lives have changed as a result of our program, I saw the dramatic effect of improved self-confidence in the lives of these courageous people. As Dean Karlan notes, seeing a pathway out of poverty is an important factor in leaving the poverty trap. Recently, our business mentor Stella Ikiring shared this story of a group she’s working with—the Alakara Business group, in Uganda. I want to share it with you.

African family and their pigsKetty Agwang, Christine Alungat, and Georgina Aguti had ambitions to start their own business before they joined Village Enterprise. However, they knew that finding someone to lend them money for seed capital would be impossible and they lost hope of improving their lives. They struggled to pay school fees and their children went to school in tattered uniforms. Their lives were hard and seemed they would forever stay that way.

When the three women heard what they could do through the Village Enterprise program, it seemed like a miracle. They finally had a way of changing their lives. They received their seed capital (grant #24206) and started their own business with five pigs under the name Alakara Business Group. With the help of their Business Mentor Stella Ikiring, the women have seen their business flourish. They are currently working with their Business Savings Group to purchase a cow, and they are excited about the new opportunities this expansion will bring. They have embraced a habit of saving, which has helped plan for the future. They also have the comfort of knowing they can go to their Business Savings Group to borrow money if they ever run into financial trouble.

The group says Village Enterprise provided the encouragement they needed to work hard to sustain their families and improve their lives. The three have become a unified group through their time spent working together and attending Savings Group meetings. They value these meetings as a way to share business ideas and also resolve any conflicts among themselves. Ketty, Christine, and Georgina are so grateful for the opportunity to realize their dream of being business owners. Their families now have hope. Their basic needs can be met and their children have hope of breaking out of the cycle of cycle poverty.


Jennifer Nixon
Senior Director of Development

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