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Miriam is a member of IIRR’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Community Conversation Facilitator’s (CCF) team in the Gulu district of Northern Uganda. She took advantage of the Village and Savings Loan Association (VSLA) program that IIRR initiates for its Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Community Conversation Facilitators (CCF’s) where we empower women socially and economically at home and in the communities. Miriam borrowed UGX650,000 ($200) and bought two young piglets for UGX100,000 ($30). She took good care of her two female piglets and in time each gave birth to 10 and 12 piglets, increasing her herd of pigs to 22. With more pigs giving birth in just a matter of months, Miriam is currently the owner of 32 pigs of all ages and sizes worth UGX5,000,000 ($1,550).

She used part of the loan for quality feeds and veterinary services for her rapidly expanding herd. Being a wise entrepreneur, Miriam invested the remaining borrowed amount on 2 sewing machines and an assortment of materials and craft tools. She creatively makes sandals, ladies’ beads and leather bags to sell. In a community where per capita income is less than one dollar a day, she completes one bag that she sells for UGX50,000 ($15) at the end of an ordinary working day. This is in addition to her fully laid out schedule of business activities. With a keen eye on high~profit endeavors, this enterprising woman paid off her loan in 3 months and brings in additional income from her productive flock of ducks and chickens. She is now a proud employer of her 4 brothers who take care of her pigs and poultry; and two tailors who keep her two sewing machines productively humming away. She is expanding her piggery shed to accommodate more than 100 pigs and plans to set up her own foundation in the near future.

When asked what is your vision for the future? Miriam said,

I will form my own foundation.

which we understood to mean a business in the local context.