There are over 50 savings groups in the camps, many of which were started by the people themselves.
SAVING GROUPS|REFUGEE CAMPS|FAMILY CONFLICTS
"I used to fight with my husband almost everyday whenever I approached him to get money for food, but ever since I joined a village savings group, our family is now at peace," Rebecca Lalama, 30, a Sudanese refugee at Kiryandongo settlement camp in Bweyale, Kiryandongo district, said.
Lalama, a tailor and a farmer, said she saves sh20,000 per week, together with her son, and recently, their group of 25 people shared their annual savings. Each walked home with sh700,000.
She added that savings have helped her to start a business, whose proceeds help her to meet her financial obligations, such as paying their children's school fees.
"As a group, we meet every Sunday at the chairperson's home to make deposits on our accounts. Each person decides on an amount they can be able to save weekly. Those who do not attend our meetings are fined, so women are pushed to work harder," Lalama said.
Lalama is not the only one who has benefited from the savings group.
Forty-year-old Grace Akillu says after Enabel, a Belgian agency, carried out an educative and counselling session about the importance of forming Savings and Credit Co-operative Organisation Societies (SACCOS), she joined the Kiryandongo SACCOS, where she saves sh5,000 per week.
"Because of the savings, I was able to buy two pigs, I built for them a sty and now they have grown and given birth. I sell each piglet at sh50,000 and when the season is good, I can sell one piglet at sh60,000. Through my savings, I have bought chicken that I sell to boost my family income," Akillu said.
She says usually, at the end of the year, her savings accumulate to between sh300,000 and sh400,000. She lauds the SACCOS for giving her a loan, which she used to hire land for farming.
"Many of us are getting out of poverty and stopping to beg because of our savings. When you need a loan, you do not need to borrow from people, you just go to the group and you get all the money you need, as long as you have been saving," she added.
There are over 50 village savings groups in the camps, many of which were started by the people themselves. Angeth Makoro Garang, 26, testifies that saving is the way to go.
"I used to rely on loans to buy items, but ever since I learnt how to make cakes and mandazi, I started saving. Now, I can afford to buy the things I want using my money, and not loans. At first, I never used to like the idea of saving, because I thought to save, you needed a lot of cash, but I started small, with sh5,000," Garang said.
Many leaders of SACCOS called upon the Government to continue sensitising people on the advantages of savings.