• SIA Team

How do their lives change?

Reposting this roundup of the ways peoples’ lives change after receiving a SIA Small Business Fund grant.

In [June 2015] I highlighted the 5 most common businesses that Small Business Fund (SBF) grant recipients typically start. The groups receive $150 and are mentored over the course of a year. This week I received a batch of final One-Year Reports from our two SBF local coordinators in Uganda. These are short reports that check in to see how each business is doing one year after receiving the grant. The report also asks how the lives of the groups members have improved and what they have used their profits to buy. The responses generally fall into one of five categories.

These are the five basic needs that families are empowered to meet after starting an SBF business:


Paying for school fees is by far the most common goal and use of SBF profits in Uganda. There is supposed to be free universal education in Uganda, but the public schools quickly fill their limited spaces and the families must pay for private schools. School fees for the average private school near Kasozi Village, Uganda are about $12 per term for each student (with 3 terms per year). This adds up quickly with many children and with the additional costs of uniforms and school supplies!

Yuba Robert (right, standing) and his extended family show us their pottery, including a clay savings box. They have been able to pay for school fees, build a house, and pay for another person to plow their fields. Godfrey Matovu, local SBF coordinator, is seated on the right. (Uganda)


Ziba and his wife Annie started a furniture business this year. The profit will help cover their medical bills and to feed their 6 children. (Malawi)



House with a thatched roof and dirt floor in Uganda.


A new house in progress. We visited this potter in Uganda. They are slowly building the house that will also have a storefront for their pottery. Bricks for the project are piled in the front yard.


Completed brick house with a tin roof in Malawi! Kondwani’s family has both a photography and a retail vegetable business. The family now has a solar panel and wiring for lights in their house. They are waiting for the electrification project to reach their neighborhood.

More stories about improved housing:

  1. Success Story: “Darkness is Cured”

  2. Rental Market in Malawi

  3. Success After One Year in Business! (2010)


The diet in Uganda is mostly ugali (maize meal, like a dense polenta), rice, and some vegetables such as kale, collards, and tomatoes. Improved diets means having enough food to eat and also adding animal protein, like this chicken dish.


A new table for the the Phiri family! Other business groups have been able to buy beds and couches – simple, yet profound, dignities.

  1. Read more about the Phiri’s road to success, read Positive Change in Mary’s Family.

#Empowerment #SmallBusinessFund #SuccessStory


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