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Akram Accounting Services Launches Project FinGrow!

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

On Saturday, October 22nd, about 30 women from Kisugu market in Kampala convened in a nearby school to participate in the official launch of a monthly series of financial literacy workshops.

Project FinGrow is a Financial Empowerment and Adult Literacy Programme that sits under the Social Impact leg of Akram Accounting Services. In attendance last weekend were women who do a wide range of informal jobs ranging from selling in the market, cooking at school kitchens, hawking, selling bananas on streets and washing clothes for money. The aim of this initiative is to promote Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa.

In October 2017, Uganda launched a new five-year National Financial Inclusion Strategy. The strategy seeks to reduce financial exclusion from 15 to 5 percent by 2022 by ensuring that all Ugandans have access to and use a broad range of quality and affordable financial services. Despite progress over the past few years, there are still many barriers to accessing financial services in Uganda.

One of the participants shared that they rarely receive information on business development and financial resources funded by the government and development partners.

The Founder, Akram Mpagi, shared, “the ladies asked me to put much more emphasis on the savings opportunities; they want to acquire more skills in that regard and believe better understanding of it is a recipe for them to raise their standards of living.”

Mpagi teaches fundamental personal financial skills like budgeting, saving, credit, and debt management. The Financial Foundations workshop series empowers these female market vendors to:

  • Increase understanding of digital financial resources in Uganda

  • Meet one-on-one with a Peer Counselor to better understand their personal finances

  • Learn how to budget and balance long-term goals against short-term needs

  • Manage any debts and avoid common pitfalls

There is a gender gap when it comes to uptake of digital payment services - men are more likely than women to access digital payments as women are less likely to have digital payment accounts.

According to a report by the International Finance Corporation, women are significantly less likely than men to be prepared to learn to use new technology and slightly more likely to prefer to deal with people rather than technology regarding money matters. They are also more likely than men to prefer to pay for something using cash rather than digital payment systems, even though they are equally likely to claim that they do not like to carry large amounts of cash.

The financial inclusion gender gap not only impacts women’s financial independence and ability to manage their financial resources but also their employment prospects and business growth. 70% of the ladies in the Financial Foundations workshop were single mothers; they single-handedly provide for their families starting from school fees all the way to basic needs. 10% of the ladies were widows. Majority of the women expressed that their biggest motivation for attending the workshop was the thought of gaining financial stability; during the breakout sessions, many shared that moving from job to job was just too risky.

Another goal of Project FinGrow is to collect gender-lensed insights that shed more light into the needs of women, women’s mobile money use cases, women’s financial behaviors, as well as barriers and facilitators of mobile money use, which providers can take into account when designing and providing services.

Uganda’s National Financial Inclusion strategy’s focus on simple user interfaces and on educating customers throughout the customer journey will be key to increasing the use of digital financial services, especially given the low levels of digital literacy in Uganda.

This aspect of the strategy points to the need for financial education and informational campaigns about financial options. This aligns with the values of Akram Accounting Services; Project FinGrow is a fundamental way to drive up the level of financial inclusion for women, at least in the case of Uganda.

Many of the ladies at the workshop had children that had dropped out of school as a result of teenage pregnancies, lack of money and other situations. One lady was on the verge of crying when speaking with the Mpagi; she shared that her daughter dropped out of school after her high school just before college because she got pregnant and because of shame, she ran away from home.

There is a strong need to build the financial capacity and economically empower women to lead independent lives. If you are interested in learning more about our financial education programs and or volunteering to support our informational campaigns about financial options as a fundamental way to drive up the level of financial inclusion for women, kindly reach out to learn more.


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