Short update of SYPO's microfinance project in Uganda. Read about our migration to mobile money transactions, and why it caused our website to be down
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Our website is down because of an IT system migration, but the project is doing well

Thank you again for your support to our microfinance project in Uganda through our website The website has been down for several weeks now, and we would like to explain why.

We are in the process of migrating to a new IT system, which will allow us to switch to 'mobile money' payments to and from the women in the project in Uganda. When a microcredit is approved and sponsored, we will be able to send the microcredit to the recipient's mobile phone, and she will be able to make weekly repayments through her mobile phone back to us. We will be the first 100% mobile money microfinance organization in Uganda, which offers enormous advantages to the women and to our team (see below). Mobile money is exciting new technology, which East Africa is spearheading. You can watch a video introducing the concept of mobile money here.

Unfortunately, during the migration to the new system, the link between our microfinance database and the website broke, so that you can no longer see new approved microcredits or repayments made by the women whom you sponsored. We are working hard to restore this link, but for now we are prioritizing the complex work on the ground in Uganda, getting the team and the women ready for the mobile money technology. We hope and expect that the website will be back online by late August (see timeline below).

The project itself however is doing very well, and even though you can't it on the website right now, the women are all repaying their microcredits. We have already given out hundreds of new microcredits this year, and are opening a new 'zone' in the village Katosi next month.

An overview of the advantages of switching to mobile money payments; the reasons why we're switching IT systems:

  • Outreach - SYPO aims to reach women that never before had access to financial services, in remote villages of Central Uganda. Mobile money will allow us to reach women that live on hard-to-reach farms, because they no longer all need to travel to our field offices. 
  • Safety - Our team of talented loan officers visits the women and their businesses every week. They collect repayments and disburse microcredits in cash in remote areas of the country. Once we switch to mobile money, they will no longer need to carry around cash, making their work safer.
  • Expansion of support - Having a mobile connection with the women expands the things we can do to help them. We can send the farmers weather reports or commodity price info. We can send health information - in August we're running a pilot to see if we can help women in the project who tested positive for diabetics with information on lifestyle and how to seek treatment; later in the year we will add pregnancy information to that campaign.
  • Fraud management - Sending money directly to the women's mobile phone makes fraud with loan disbursements or repayments much harder.
Apologies for the fact that the site is down, and that you didn't hear from us before. We will start to send more regular updates on progress. Please email with any questions.

So what's next? 

  • We will send around the 2015 annual report in the next couple of weeks - the financials are currently being audited. 2015 has been an all-round successful year with good growth and impact.
  • In August this year, we will be piloting a 'Diabetes Pilot Project', leveraging our new technology to help women diagnosed with diabetes with a targeted information campaign.
  • Late August we hope to have the website up and running again, so that you can see how well the women as microbankers have sponsored are doing.
  • While the website is down, you can still support us through the donate button below, or by buying a 'Philo Project' handbag - a percentage of each sale is donated to our project, and the bags are pretty awesome! 
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