Microcredit programme pays off
A group of men sit outside a shop beside the main road of Wonduruba chatting and drinking cold beverages. A woman rummages through a small cooler and approaches them with another round. As she opens one of the bottles she cracks a joke that gets the crowd going.
Thirty-year old Grace Jokudo is the quintessential proprietor: She keeps people coming back not only for the service she provides but also for the affable way she provides it.
“A business person is not supposed to get annoyed, she says with a smile. “If you get annoyed, you don’t make any money.”
And making money is definitely what Jokudo has a knack for. When she was a young girl she sold tea by the side of the road; when she got older she brought sugar from Uganda so she could sell it in Sudan at a marked up price. With the money she made from selling the sugar she was finally able to open a small shop on the side of the road selling drinks and biscuits.
“I was selling things here when someone from the RRP came and asked if I would be interested in participating in a business training programme and receiving a loan,” she says. “I was ready to go.”
Jokudo was trained in business skills and microfinance and the RRP microcredit loan she received helped her make the leap from petty trader to shop owner. After receiving her loan of 1500 SDGs she was able to expand her store and sell more items.
“I learned that selling many things will earn more money – rather than just selling one type of thing. I check which things finish first and restock them. If customers go to other shops to find something I don’t have I take note of what it is and make sure I order it.”
Jokudo makes payments on her loan once a month and now has 240 pounds left to pay until her debt is clear. Her exemplary record has earned her another loan; this time of 12, 000 pounds from Sudan Microfinance Institution (SUMI) a private microfinance company that has agreed to give larger sums to traders who have proven to be reliable under the RRP.
“Since the training I have made enough money to pay for my four children to go to school in Uganda where there is a better education. I also bought a generator, a TV and some cows,” she says. “With the new loan I would like to buy a fridge,” she says as she he dips her hand into the plastic cooler to pass her next customer a bottle of coke, and breaks into a wide smile.