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How savings groups have led Kigali women to profitable businesses

Savings groups help Kigali women venture into profitable vegetable businesses. / Photo: Courtesy.

Women in Nyamirambo Sector in Nyarugenge District are reaping big from different businesses they ventured into thanks to three created savings groups.

At least 60 vulnerable families made up of 434 people meet regularly to save together and take small loans from those savings which they eventually invest in small businesses such as vegetable and fruits vending


The accumulated savings and the loan profits are distributed back to the members after every year according to Marie Rose Mukambungo, the treasurer at Ubumwe-Karukaro savings group.


“We started in 2017 as 20 members although the number reduced later. We were in extreme poverty and our children were also suffering from malnutrition. Each member had to save Rwf500 per week per one share and a member with capacity was allowed to save up to five shares,” she said.


She said that after one year, Rwf1.5 million accumulated savings and the loan profits were distributed back to members.

The second year, the group also shared over Rwf1 million and currently it has Rwf746,000 in bank account, which is a drop  due to the impact of Covid-19.

 “As a member, I also got back Rwf117, 000 savings in the first year and this helped me to start a vegetables vending business in Miduha Market in Kigali City. The business helped me to look after my children,” she said.

Mukambungo said that thanks to income from vegetable vending, she also joined four other savings groups as a way of saving her income.

“I save in these groups every week. In total, I save Rwf25, 000 in these groups every week amounting into Rwf100,000  monthly savings after deducting rent, food and other basic needs despite having started from a very small capital,’ she said.

She said that some of her children who were stunted have recovered.

“I am planning to build my own house and expand my business,” she said.

The group is one of three savings groups that have been able to save up to Rwf7.4 million in three years.

From June, 2020, the three savings groups have already saved Rwf2.4 million.

At least 50 children who were stunted have recovered.

Covid-19 impact

The average monthly income of the savings groups members is currently between Rwf16, 000 and Rwf82, 000 and this average has been impacted by Covid-19 as it was around Rwf100,000 before the pandemic according to Emmanuel Habyarimana, the Executive Director  of  FXB-Village Model Program ,  a community-based, scalable, and sustainable response to the poverty crisis .

At least $200,000 had been invested in getting vulnerable people out of extreme poverty while vulnerable families’ children were returned back to school.

Each family that was In saving group got additional Rwf120,000 to start income generating activity and each saving group received Rwf200,000 to run collective income generating activities.

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