BRAC Uganda’s new Youth Loans

13 June 2010 at 00:01 9 comments

By James Allman-Gulino, KF11 Uganda

Starting this coming week, BRAC Uganda will begin posting a new loan product onto the Kiva website.  This new product will fund borrowers in BRAC Uganda’s Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) program, and gives Kiva lenders the chance to invest in an exciting new sector within microfinance.

These new ELA loans are unique because the borrowers are actually adolescents, usually young women aged 16-21 who have dropped out of or never attended school.  Many of these borrowers are too young or lack the minimal collateral needed to participate in traditional microfinance, so the ELA loans offer them a unique way to access capital and become economically productive at an early age.  These “youth loans” can serve as a stepping stone that encourages the borrowers to seek more capital in the future, and to expand their businesses into larger enterprises that provide great benefit to the young women and their communities.

ELA livelihood training on hairdressing

Another important part of the ELA program is that it doesn’t simply disburse loans; just providing first-time adolescent borrowers with loan capital could be risky for obvious reasons.  Instead, these loans occur in the context of a holistic program.  First, all ELA borrowers are part of an ELA “club,” which is comprised of 20-40 members in villages throughout Uganda.  The clubs provide a variety of services for the members, including educational materials and discussions on societal and health issues.  Those members interested in obtaining loans must first participate in livelihood training, which provides the participants with skills in income-earning activities.  Clubs’ livelihood trainings are preceded by market assessments which examine local villages’ economic climates and tailor training accordingly.  This helps ELA borrowers’ first businesses to be successful, well-run, and likely to succeed in the local community.  Finally, ELA borrowers must receive financial literacy training, which familiarizes members with concepts of profit, savings, and budgeting, helping ensure that borrowers can use loan capital responsibly.

ELA members beginning financial literacy classes

These trainings all help to empower ELA borrowers with the knowledge they need to start successful business, despite their young age.  ELA microfinance loans then serve as a sort of capstone to the program, enabling borrowers to put all their knowledge to use and create businesses that will benefit themselves and their families.  These are the loans that Kiva lenders will now be able to fund!  ELA borrowers on Kiva will be posted as individual loans, with a typical loan term of 40 weeks; repayments and journal updates will occur just as they do for regular loans.

Kiva and BRAC Uganda are excited to offer this new opportunity to Kiva lenders, and hope that the Kiva community will be eager to fund the new ELA youth loans.  I’ve visited several ELA clubs in the field, and have been very impressed with the trainings that the borrowers receive and the professionalism which they all run their businesses with.  If anyone has any questions on the new loans, please feel free to leave comments and I’ll try to respond.  Look forward to the ELA loans going up on the Kiva site sometime in the next week – they’ll be posted on BRAC’s fund raising page, so keep checking on it!

Entry filed under: blogsherpa, BRAC Uganda, KF11 (Kiva Fellows 11th Class), Uganda. Tags: , , , , , , .

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  • 1. Sophie  |  26 June 2012 at 05:37

    I would also like to get a loan from brac and invest in my business, whom can i contact? But iam 24 years

  • 2. robinah nanyonjo  |  8 February 2012 at 22:05

    how does this loan work? cant i apply when am 24 years? who should apply?

  • […] receive a loan, a girl between the ages of 16 to 25 must join a local adolescents club (called an ELA club, which stands for Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents). She pays 2,000 Ugandan Shillings […]

  • […] that match their environmental values. Just as when Kiva first announced another new loan product, BRAC Uganda Youth Loans, by the time I got to the Kiva website to check it out, the Green Loans had already been fully […]

  • […] produced eggs and broiler chickens for her whole neighborhood; adolescent women in BRAC Uganda’s ELA program had started productive hairdressing enterprises, despite being all of 17 years old.  Stories like […]

  • 6. mollygenevieve  |  13 June 2010 at 21:12

    Very exciting! I look forward to updates on how these loans and the ELA clubs develop. I would be interested to know how they select club members. I know it can be a real challenge (especially for young women) to find the resources to attend school–are there fees or other requirements to participate? How does BRAC fund this program?

    • 7. James A-G  |  13 June 2010 at 23:47


      Thanks for your comments, glad to hear the loans sound interesting to the Kiva community. As to your questions, club members are found and selected through the preceding market assessment, and also through the club mentors; those wanting microfinance loans also have to be approved by an ELA credit officer.

      Regarding funding, for the broader ELA program BRAC has a few government/NGO-type funders, but it’s primarily financed through the interest paid on the loans. BRAC charges a flat 22% annual fee, which is very reasonable in the microfinance world. Hope that helps!


  • 8. Neal Camp  |  13 June 2010 at 20:13

    Encouraging! Vital to get young people on the road to success!

  • […] rest is here: BRAC Uganda's new Youth Loans « Kiva Stories from the Field Comments […]

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