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Maria Munyes’ Journey to Economic Empowerment through USAID Small Grants

Maria making a female dress at their working center

Maria Munyes, a resident of Losilang village and a mother of two girls, knows firsthand the hardships of providing for her household’s basic needs. For years, she had struggled to save in a village group but lost hope due to the lack of tangible benefits and the inability to save consistently. However, everything changed when the DDS-NK USAID ICAN project intervened in her village, introducing a community structure called the Business Service Provider.
Encouraged by the Business Service Provider, Maria decided to join a savings group called St. Teresa Patience Pays, affiliated with her church. The importance of small group savings and its potential to improve social cohesion among community members resonated with her. With renewed hope, she started participating in regular savings, which not only improved her livelihood but also provided her with opportunities to acquire new skills in knitting and bead making.
In September, Maria’s savings group received a grant from USAID, consisting of items such as beads, Maasai sheets, sewing machines, and more. Leveraging her newly acquired skill in making dresses using Maasai sheets, Maria was nominated by the group chairperson to create dresses priced at Ugx 5,000 each. This venture proved to be a turning point for her as it boosted her savings and enabled her to borrow funds to meet her family’s basic needs.
During the launch of the Improved Resilience Building (IRB) project in Kotido on November 30th, 2022, Maria and her St. Teresa group had the opportunity to showcase their products to the community and various stakeholders. They exhibited their beautifully crafted beads and female dresses made from Maasai sheets. The response was overwhelming, and they managed to sell goods worth Ugx 923,000, which will be added to their group savings account.
Grateful for the support she has received, Maria expresses her heartfelt appreciation to USAID-ICAN for empowering her and strengthening her economically. The various trainings provided by community structures have equipped her with valuable knowledge and skills. Additionally, she applauds USAID-ICAN for supporting her St. Teresa group with grants that boost their capital fund, ultimately leading to improved livelihoods for their households.
Maria Munyes’ story is a testament to the positive impact of the USAID small grants facilitated through the DDS-NK ICAN project. Through the opportunity to join a savings group, Maria not only experienced economic empowerment but also gained new skills and found a way to contribute to her family’s well-being. The support from USAID-ICAN, both in terms of grants and trainings, has transformed Maria’s life and provided her with a pathway to achieving a better livelihood.
As the DDS-NK USAID ICAN project continues its mission to empower individuals and strengthen communities, success stories like Maria’s serve as powerful reminders of the tangible change that can be achieved through targeted interventions. By providing opportunities for economic growth and skill development, the project is creating a foundation for sustainable livelihoods and empowering individuals to build better futures for themselves and their families.

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