Teachers in Uganda have been advised to consider finding an alternative source of income besides their formal teaching jobs in order to have some kind of survival means in case their jobs are no more.
Since the closure of schools as a result of Covid 19 early this year, teachers especially those in private schools have found themselves in a very hard economic situation after losing their only source of income.
The Chairperson of the Uganda Cooperative Services and Credit Union (UCSCU), Asiimwe Joan says most teachers do not have any side income and hence the reason why a lot of them have been crying to government for help after the closure of schools.
“A teaching salary alone cannot fulfill all your dreams even in normal times. That is why you must have an alternative source of income. Have a small side business as long as it does not interfere with your job. You can start small with the little savings you have. It does not matter what business it is, start a small hotel, a chapatti stand, bricklaying, anything that can bring in a little income,” she said.
This was on Friday during a field visit to some teachers under the Entebbe Municipality Council Private Teachers Initiative who have hindered this call and started up some small business. The Union handed over a Shs 5m revolving fund inform of seed capital to the Initiative so that the members can use it to start up something for themselves
UTCSCU in partnership with the Microfinance Support Centre (MSC) has been encouraging and training teachers to start up some kind of businesses so that they can access financial support from government through loans at a small interest of about 11% annum.
Mrs Asiimwe, who is a teacher at Ntale School said government through the MSC has put a side Shs 5b that will be loaned out to teachers in their Saccos and individual capacities to help them thrive in their small entrepreneurs.
“Even as a government school teacher, I have experienced a lot of hardships. As teachers, we need to think about ourselves and how to get ourselves out of poverty. Saving is one way of doing that. We must minimize our expenditures.” she noted.
Nadala Edith, a teacher at St Vienne High School Entebbe and a mother of two children who has now turned to selling sugarcane on the roadside noted that at first, she was embarrassed to be seen doing such insignificant business. however, she has realized that it’s a source of income for her and now she is able to take care of her family.
“In private schools, we are paid with what the pupils bring in, if schools are closed, there is no way a school owner is going to pay you a salary because he too is not making money. That’s is why I have not received any money for the last 4 months and it was very hard at first to look after me and the family and so I decided to start up a small business with the little money I was left with. I see this as a good business now and will continue with it even when schools open,” she said.
According to Sendi Davic Mcleen, the Project Manager UTCSCU, the project will be expended to other districts in Uganda starting with Arua, Sorotu, Jinja, Mbarara and Kasese.
“We want to sensitize these teachers on how to start and sustain a business but also offer them alternative source of credit that is affordable. MSC has been very supportive and have given us money to support our members. We also want teachers to be organised so they can benefit from other government projects like Emyooga presidential initiative on Wealth and Job Creation that was recently launched,” he said