Christopher represents the minority of Kleos members, as he is one of the roughly ten percent of members who is male. In an effort to support the most vulnerable in society, Kleos places an emphasis on women’s centred development. However, the organization is not exclusive to women and Okulu Christopher represents the exact type of development that Kleos aims to support.
Christopher’s story with Kleos shows a long term focus and plan that is helping not only himself, but his entire family. When he first approached Kleos about a loan, he was looking for help to repair his motorcycle, which he uses as a boda boda (the local term for a motorcycle taxi). Since his bike was in disrepair, it was putting a financial strain on everyone in his family. With his parents, wife, four year old daughter and one seven year old cousin that he takes care of, any money he had went towards putting food on the table with little left over to get his bike, and his only means of making a living, back on the road. With a loan of 450,000 UGX (about $150), he was able to fix his bike and again provide for his family.
Immediately, as Christopher was back on the road, he felt the pressure to provide for the family ease off his shoulders. After repaying his loan, he again approached Kleos. This time however, his bike was still operational and instead he wanted to get a loan to start up a farm at the family’s home in Wilacic village in neighbouring Amuru District. The family was now living on the land and had been farmers in the past, but they lacked the capital needed to start the farm again. His plan was to give the farm to his family as a way of earning more income and providing better food for everyone. He received a loan for 650,000 UGX (less than $250) and the family has now just started farming. While he can’t yet show any income from the farm, their stomachs are already benefitting from the first harvests of corn, beans and cassava root that they have planted.
Beyond the improved diet, the family as a whole is also benefiting as the family is earning enough income to afford both children’s school fees. Christopher himself has used the opportunity financial flexibility has provided him and has completed an Accounting Diploma on the weekends! Looking to the future, he hopes the family can secure one more loan from Kleos, so his wife can open a corner store in their village, which is still quite remote. He also has another dream – to work for Kleos! He wants to put his education to work and help with the accounting side of Kleos Uganda operations. If his work ethic is any indication, he’d be a welcome addition.
Also published on Medium.