After their training, these men and women return to their home communities and assist people to establish their own self-help groups aimed at improving living standards through savings and credit, income generating activities and other group initiatives.
These trained Change Agents are now working with over 3,490 such groups having a total membership of over 85,306 (30,058 men and 55,248 women). UCAA's experience indicates that women more than men are responsive to the self-reliant participatory development methodology.
Stimulating Economic Development Processes: A sample indicates that of those groups reporting 76% of the groups have their own internal savings schemes; and 59% have their own internal credit schemes for members. In 2002, 46% of the groups reported having paid dividends to their group members during the year. Reported cash dividends amounted to Ush 216,453,063/=.
In 2002, 42,539 members of self-help groups that change agents are working with responded to the questions as to whether they felt that their standard of living had improved in the past year. Of them, 84% (35,538) felt that their standard of living had improved.
Nurturing Social Development Processes: Perhaps the greatest achievement of UCAA with regards to social development is fostering of the volunteer spirit of the change agents and ensuring gender equality. All the work that change agents do with the self-help groups they do voluntarily. UCAA does not pay them to work with groups.
Amongst the membership of UCAA we have come to expect gender equality and so in all of the association's structures at alllevels, our simple policy of equal participation for both men and women is actively implemented, without resistance.
Nurturing Political Development Processes: Within UCAA, the members of UCAA respect the UCAA Constitution and ofter refer to it befor major decisions about he association are taken. We trust that the change agents are also trying their level best to inculcate constitutionalism among members of the self-help groups that they are working with.
During the local council elections in 2002, a total of 587 change agents and UCAA Working Partners contested the elections and 70% (414) of them were elected at all levels from village committees to district councils. Men and women were roughly equally represented. In addition, a total of 627 change agents and UCAA Working Partners assisted as plling officers, civic educators, campaign managers, etc. During the elections for members of parliament and during the presidential elections in 2001/2002 change agents were also actively involved.