Uganda client
Piloting Refugee Microfinance in Uganda

In May 2019, VisionFund Uganda opened their first branch in the town of Moyo in the West Nile, where they assist host and refugee populations to access financial inclusion products in an innovative pilot program.


savings groups assessed


members represented

US $1.35-$2.70

average weekly savings
Uganda Pilot 1

Piloting Refugee Microfinance in Uganda

The financial services community has long questioned how best to provide refugee populations with access to financial inclusion products. Refugees are often seen as too risky to lend to, because they may not have documented credit history in their new country, and have few fixed assets or limited collateral. At the end of 2018, VisionFund participated in a UNHCR facilitated assessment to ascertain the capacity of existing refugee savings groups to access and use a savings group linkage loan.

Uganda Pilot 2

Piloting Refugee Microfinance in Uganda

A Savings Group Linkage Loan provides a loan to the whole savings group, as an injection of cash to the overall pool of funds, usually kept in a locked box. The group keeps following their savings and lending procedures, but with improved capacity to lend to the group members. This in turn will help members of the group to expand their economic activities, and generate a more stable income for themselves and their families. VisionFund Uganda is partnering with NGOs, such as World Vision, that support these savings groups to pilot the linkage loans and provide financial services to refugee communities. VisionFund Uganda field officers will help to assess, assist and monitor the group to help them pay back their linkage loan.

Savings Group Linkage Infographic


Uganda Pilot 3

Piloting Refugee Microfinance in Uganda

Technology plays a key role in our pilot to ensure the best client service and comfort for the savings groups. Using mobile technology, savings groups can be registered in the field, receive their loan and repay their loan using mobile money transfers. This means that group members don’t have to take valuable time and money out from their businesses to travel to a physical VisionFund branch: instead, we help support the groups to upskill in mobile technology in their communities, making financial access even easier.

Uganda pilot 4

Piloting Refugee Microfinance in Uganda

In May 2019, VisionFund Uganda opened their first branch in the town of Moyo, in West Nile. The branch is staffed by newly trained field officers who were recruited from both host and refugee communities, so they understand local needs. In July 2019, the first linkage loans were made to savings groups in Ukuni East Village after they were identified and trained by our staff. VisionFund’s aim is to provide accessible financial products to other refugee populations, learning from our pilot program to eventually scale economic livelihoods for all.

Fragile Context-header

Report: Contextual and Financial Assessment of Savings Groups in West Nile, Uganda

The assessment report includes results and business opportunities in West Nile that 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. 

group of girls walking

Our Partners

Our work in the West Nile is made possible with thanks to our trusted partners.

With special thanks to our donors: Agriculture Business Initiative (aBi Trust), Austrian Development Agency, Grameen Credit Agricole, Financial Sector Deepening Trust Uganda, Financial Sector Deepening Africa, Swedish SIDA and UNHCR.

With special thanks to our partners in the field: CARE, Sheshire, DCA, Diocese of Kajo Keji, Mercy Corps, World Vision, ZOA and OPM (Office of the Prime Minister).