KAMPALA — Kamwokya 1 Village B Women Tailoring group, a village savings group comprising of wives of policemen stationed at Kira Road police barracks has realized growth in their collective community business following a boost from the MTN Uganda staff community empowerment initiative.
Launched in 2015, the tailoring group was created as a way for the women to raise their household incomes and complement to their husband’s earnings so as to support their family livelihood. The group currently caters to over 15 households in the community through tailoring and selling different clothing apparel including school uniforms, bags and casual wear.
Despite the zeal of the women to make money, as most businesses, during the country wide lockdown caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, the group faced dire challenges as their main source of business was schools that had been closed for over a year leaving them without a readily available market for their goods.
In response, the group decided to diversify their business and expand their product portfolio with the inclusion of new products such as making liquid soap and body oil but none the less, they were not able to meet their financial targets.
As the lockdown eased, the group found that it required to recapitalize the business for growth in recovery of the two-year lock down period when the business was not performing.
MTN Uganda through a recommendation from KCCA’s directorate Gender and Community services provided UGX 8 million to the group in June this year under the 21 Days of Y’ello Care campaign to help quicken the recovery.
With this support, the group purchased equipment to boost production in line with the increased demand for school apparel after the lockdown.
In a period of just two months, the group has reported increase in production of school sweaters from 42 to 240 per month.
“With the MTN Uganda contribution, our business has really experienced quick and heightened profit turnover. We have been able to buy a new knitting machine, 3 sacks of thread and industrial sewing machines that have now spontaneously increased our production volumes” said Lillian Cheptoyek the group Chairperson.
With increased production to match their market demand, revenues have improved, attracting more women in the community to join the business venture as a source of income. With growth the group has high hopes for the future.
“As the business grows, we are in the process of opening up a new training section to carter for newly registered members, with the long-term plan of buying land and setting up a permanent structure that will house more policemen’s wives beyond just Kira Road police station.”
Bryan Mbasa, senior manager at MTN Uganda Foundation said they are excited that the campaign has created a positive impact on the communities in which the company operates.
“We consider sustainability a very key part of our initiatives both as Corporate Social Responsibility and as a business in general,” he said, adding that they look forward to reaching out to more communities for skilling, work readiness, and innovation culture for start-up and Small and Medium Enterprises.
Other groups that received MTN support during the campaign include; the Tesobar deaf carpentry group in Lira, the Masaka Diocese Youth, the Jinja-based Tabulera Kawuma deaf carpentry, the disabled association of Fort Portal, the Bunusya Abarema Twetungure association in Mbarara, the glorious widows of Makindye, Focus for Life Development Link in Kawempe, Missionaries of the poor in Rubaga and the Nakawa Market Vendors association.
The MTN’s 21 Days of Y’ello Care is an annual MTN staff volunteerism campaign observed by all MTN employees across all its markets to make a difference in the lives of the communities within which they work. The campaign that dates back to 2007 is always executed within the first 21 days of June every year.