When the Suubi Secondary and Vocational College opened earlier this year in the Ugandan village of Lubanda, the school’s director introduced a unique idea to help the students pay for their education. The school would loan each of its students five Kuroiler hens, and the students would repay the debt over time with eggs from the hens.
The students are instructed in how to raise and care for their chickens by a local poultry expert. The students’ parents are encouraged to get involved in the project as well. The students, parents and instructors meet once a week to discuss their experiences and share ideas for how to make the program better.
Because the hens typically mature within a month of adoption, students are able to start paying their loan off in eggs very quickly. A modest interest rate on each loan is used to pay for more hens for next year’s students.
The program offers multiple educational opportunities for students at the school. Because the community in the area is largely agrarian, learning how to raise livestock is a valuable skill for the students. It also encourages collaboration between the students, parents and teachers.
In addition to agricultural knowledge, the students are able to learn some very beneficial lessons about personal finance during the course of the project. Interest rates, payment schedules, and loan structures all play into the students’ experience.
Perhaps the best thing about the program, however, is that it provides the school with a viable way to give their students a quality education at an affordable price.
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