Stories from the Kaze Mwendo savings group in the Nduta Refugee Camp
When visiting a group of refugees in the Nduta camp, I tend to experience some mixed feeling of embarrassment, curiosity and hesitation at the beginning. A thin soap-bubble barrier through which someone has to poke a finger. With a timid smile, I say: "MWAKEYE!" (Good morning in Kirundi) and I look around, trying to read in my interlocutors' eyes if I have said it right. "MWAKEYE!", they respond, laughing and looking at each other with complicity. I feel that now we are together.
Nyarugusu Refugee Camp
One year and a half ago, Stephanie didn't know Lea, and neither of them knew Simeon, nor Enrique, nor Celine. They were living their lives day-by-day, with their own loopholes and coping mechanisms, until they were brought together during a UNCDF-organized training with GNTZ (our field-based partner) on savings groups in a UNHCR multipurpose training centre. This center was established as part of the Kigoma Joint Programme's Youth and Women Economic Empowerment (YWEE) initiative. They were taught about life skills, entrepreneurship, budgeting, savings and record-keeping. This is where, Stephanie tells us, she and the other 19 refugees met and started their own savings group and decided to try to become entrepreneurs together.
UNCDF in Tanzania
In Tanzania, UNCDF's Financial Inclusion Practice Area (FIPA) team works to advance access to finance, strengthen savings, and improve financial capability in the Kigoma Region. Our target groups are small farmers, refugees and surrounding host communities, and our focus is women and youth.