Bunango villagers in Bugarama ward, Kahama district, have started benefiting from the 50m/- donated by IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi by forming village community banks under the umbrella of Vicoba-Msalala.
Vicoba-Msalala treasurer David Mwaigwisya told a delegation of news editors touring African Barrick Gold Mines to observe various activities of the mines that already, through funds given to them by the IPP chief, they had purchased a plot on which sdtands an unfinished hostel, an office and a parcel of land planned for the construction of a hall at a cost of 20m/-.
“We have already formed 30 groups of entrepreneurs and registered them with the Kahama district council since December 6, 2011. We managed to establish these groups after being challenged by Mengi when he visited Bulyanhulu Gold Mine two years ago and left 50m/- with the gold mine management for the formation of Vicoba,” he said, adding:.
“Mengi told the gold mine management that because there were no Vicoba in the area, he would not return home with the funds (50m/-),” said the treasurer, whose remarks were echoed by Bulyanhulu Gold Mine supervisor for community relations Lolence Kasekenya.
Kasekenya said that Mengi had left the funds with the mine for the specific aim of enabling people in the area to venture into entrepreneurship.
Mwaikwisya told the news editors that the IPP chairman had told the management to hand over the said funds only after the people had established vicoba.
“We formed many groups, but some died and we are now remaining with 30 groups, headed by a 30-member board to which of 30 member , which means each group is represented by one member,” said the treasurer.
Mwaikwisya said there was a great urge by people to join their groups.
“But we have said let's wait and see how we can manage the current situation before allowing more people in,” he said.
The treasurer said after buying the area for 20m/- they now expected to establish a bank that will he dealing with vicoba groups under the auspicies of Vicoba-Msalala.
Aother project to be financed by funds from the donation are a hostel with 12 self-contained rooms which will be leased to an operator.
“We have also a big plot on which we want to build a hall. This will also be leased to a private individual to run it and pay rent to the bank,” said the treasurer.
He said the remaining 30m/- was distributed to the 30 groups, each receiving 1m.
“They will pay back to Vicoba-Msalala with an interest of 5 per cent in six months,” said the treasurer.
He said the major challenge they were facing was how to manage the vicoba groups, although they had received training support from African Barrick Gold and Bulyanhulu Gold Mine.
He said they held a fund-raiser and were planning to hold several more in order to secure funds for the construction of the hostel and the hall.