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Cohort Graduation Day!

One of the best days in recent Man Up organizational history happened during our team’s time in Uganda back in August. The men who participated in the Authentic Masculinity Program reached the culmination of the program, and our team was there to witness the first ever Man Up and Go AMP Cohort Graduation Ceremonies in three different locations throughout Uganda.

Not only did we hand out certificates, but we heard testimony after testimony of how the program had bettered them as men of God and as husbands, fathers, and community members.

We also heard from several of the wives, who expressed their extreme gratitude for the program, but more importantly, how their husbands had changed so dramatically as a result.

These men began their journey in July of 2018, and participated in three different phases of the program:

  • Phase 1 – 12 lessons on Authentic, or Biblical, Masculinity;
  • Phase 2 – 10 lessons on Income Generating Activities, plus 2 weeks to write and rewrite a business plan;
  • Phase 3 – Distribution of the micro loans, then a 26 week repayment period, including continuing lessons on authentic masculinity, accountability, and Cohort Covenant.

When we started this program, we had no idea what the Lord would do. Our goals were guesses, because we know the historical data that says men will not pay back their loans.

In spite of all this, we are thrilled to report to you these numbers.

# of men – Actual # of men – Goal
Men Enrolled – Phase 1             63               60
Men Graduates to Phase 2             57               45
Men Graduates to Phase 3             56               34
Graduation: Certificates of Completion             17               9
Graduation: Certificates of Attendance            24               9
Amount of Loans Repaid           51%              50%

To those in the West, a 51% loan repayment rate would be considered below average. But since men in the developing world rarely have access to loans (without paying 200-300% interest), we were thrilled to see this number. Truth be told, 50% was a lofty goal, so we give God the glory for empowering these men to find a way to pay back their loans.

So what’s next? For the men who repaid their loan in full (completed the course), they have the opportunity to form a Collective Savings Group (CSG) or a Joint Business Venture (JBV) with their graduating members. Man Up is committed to seeding each group – savings or business – money to start their endeavor. They have been faithful with small things, and thus we know God has much bigger things in store for them.

For the men who received a certificate of attendance, we are encouraging them to pay back their loans. Once they pay back in full, they become eligible for future benefits from Man Up.

Of course there were several men who did not grow as we had hoped. In many ways, however, we made it too easy for them to make it to the loan distribution phase. We have adjusted accordingly and will strive to mitigate future non-repayments.

With all that said, we’re most excited by the reports from the wives of these men! So many gave encouraging testimonies of how AMP had impacted their marriage and family, and regardless of loan repayment, those are the stories we long to hear.

Thank you to everyone who has given to this critical initiative. There are over 250 children represented in the number of men reported above. Your giving is paving the way to see Less Orphans, More Families, as these men commit to protect and provide for their families as God has designed.