During the period of September to December 2018, VisionFund assessed 215 groups, representing more than 6,700 members in West Nile, Uganda to analyze their savings and lending activity, the primary sources of income and livelihood activities, and the opportunities and challenges the population faces. Because of the increasing importance of mobile payments, we also looked at the presence of mobile money agents as well as their liquidity in each of the locations (Arua, Adjumani, Moyo and Yumbe).
The assessment results and business opportunities in West Nile merit providing financial services to host population and refugees, especially in those areas where there is currently limited or no presence of formal financial institutions. Due to the oversight of OPM (Office of the Prime Minister) and UNHCR, as well as the implanting partners (NGOs) in the settlements and villages, we have seen strong support for future investment, capacity building of refugee and host population and a strategic shift from humanitarian response to self-reliance, which includes improving access to financial services and boosting livelihoods and income of families. For the next few months, VisonFund Uganda (VFU) will engage in product development, capacity building and investment in opening a branch office in order to bring financial services for the population in West Nile.