Entrepreneurship and Livelihoods Development Program (ELD)
In 2016 Give Us Wings launched its Entrepreneurship and Livelihoods Development Program (ELD). The goals of the ELD program promote development that will help Uganda meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Specifically, our program is designed to help end poverty, improve nutrition and food security and promote sustainable agriculture. Our focus, although not exclusively, is on helping women and girls achieve gender equality and become economically empowered. Ultimately, ELD is designed to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth for our partners.
In 2015, members of some community-based groups that we have worked with since 1999 asked Give Us Wings to help them form a cooperative society. Cooperative Societies help their members identify profitable cash crops, establish marketing chains that make it possible for members to access farming equipment and inputs at lower cost, improve their productivity, and bulk their harvested crops together so that they get a higher price at market. The cooperatives also serve as savings and loans for their members because vulnerable people living in rural areas do not have access to traditional banks and credit unions.
Over the years we have expanded the number of cooperative societies we work with. We are currently working with 10 cooperatives located in 3 districts in Eastern Uganda. The membership of the coops exceeds 3,500 people, 80% of whom are women. Give Us Wings' Ugandan staff has led leadership and governance training for coop members. We have helped the farmers identify what crops to grow as a group so that they can bulk their harvest together and get higher prices at market for their crops. And we are assisting with financial literacy training and helping the cooperative leadership manage their finances.
Development of successful cooperative societies will help our partners increase their productivity and improve their economic sustainability.