Building refugee self-reliance through business management training in Kampala
18 September 2017

Sheka Kilumbu, from Congo, explains to her colleagues the business cash flow statement (Christina Zetlmeisl, JRS Kampala)
JRS builds on its experience to develop the sustainability of its livelihood activities by focusing on: marketable vocational skills, entrepreneurship training, access to affordable capital and microfinance, advocating for a favorable policy environment, diversifying livelihoods, and business development services such as market development and mentorship.

Most asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Kampala are in a destitute condition, challenged by language barriers, with no means of earning a livelihood, lack of sellable skills and start-up capital for those who might wish to engage in small businesses.

JRS builds on its experience to develop the sustainability of its livelihood activities by focusing on: marketable vocational skills, entrepreneurship training, access to affordable capital and microfinance, advocating for a favourable policy environment, diversifying livelihoods, and business development services such as market development and mentorship.

Since 2014, JRS Kampala, in collaboration with the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services (UIB), has offered business management training to all skills training beneficiaries. Skills training are currently offered in following areas: Fashion & Design, Hair Dressing, Arts & Crafts, Catering and Carpentry.

Forming entrepreneurs

The entrepreneurship training offered by JRS Kampala equips refugees and asylum seekers with fundamental skills and requisite knowledge and provides them with the tools and resources they need to start and run successful small businesses. Overall, this training is aimed at developing positive attitude towards entrepreneurship and improvement of financial literacy and numeracy skills. The training addresses three areas critical for entrepreneurship: mind-set change, skills development and networking. Specifically, the objectives of the training are four-fold:

  • To increase refugees’ financial literacy
  • To improve basic financial skills, such as recordkeeping and cash flow management
  • To complete a business plan for each participant
  • To learn about business financing sources and improve networking skills key to a successful business

The training runs for two weeks and consists of four modules, each delivered through a variable number of sessions.
The modules are:
- Managing personal finances
- Business planning
- Completing a financial plan
- Sources of finance including mentoring session regarding loan application, loan interview and field visit to a MFI (Microfinance Institution)

Participants need to attend more than ninety percent of the sessions and score a fifty percent minimum mark in all assessments to obtain an officially recognized and registered certificate. Weekly assessments are conducted at the end of each week to gauge the performance of beneficiaries.

Boosting existing businesses through mentorship

As a value addition to the business training, a business mentoring program for beneficiaries with on-going businesses was initiated in 2016. The purpose of this program is to provide mentoring to promising graduates of JRS’ vocational training who run established businesses and have the potential to grow their businesses. Through hands-on training and mentorship, the entrepreneurs are equipped with relevant managerial skills to run their businesses.

Towards more refugee financial inclusion

The majority of the refugee population lack entrepreneurship skills and do not have bank accounts with formal financial institutions. This has meant financial exclusion of refugees from mainstream financial services. Therefore, JRS Kampala in collaboration with the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services (UIB) would like to further explore the possibility to increase financial inclusion of refugees in Uganda in the near future through involvement of other relevant stakeholders.

Through financial inclusion, refugees are enabled to become active participants as opposed to passive ones in contributing to the country’s social-economic development.

By Christina Zetlmeisl
Programmes Officer, JRS Kampala







Press Contact Information
Endashaw Debrework SJ
endashaw.debrework@jrs.net
+254 20 3874152