Children Of the Sun Foundation (COSF) Uganda, a youth led LGBTI/ Sex Workers NGO launched its savings and credit cooperative initiative, Youth of Destiny Savings and Credit (YDS&C) group on 7th December 2018. This was during the organization's first annual general meeting since its registration under HRAPF in 2016. The meeting took place at The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) in Mulago with different partners, allies and community members in attendance.

Youth of Destiny Savings and Credit group encourages youths within marginalized communities to save and also offers loans. This in turn helps eradicate poverty and curb the increasing unemployment rates. Mukiibi Henry, the Executive Director of COSF said, "There are many LGBTI youths that dropped out of school and have no jobs. We started an income generating project in USAFI where we sell clothes. I noticed that many were wasting their moneys which they earned as salaries." According to the E.D, the group also aspires to build the capacity of staff and members of the organization specially in the area of financial management.

Photo credit: Kuchu Times Media Group

Other key issues of concern that were discussed at the meeting included the challenges faced by COSF. Lack of funding, office space and equipment complicates the day to day operations of the organization. To remedy the problem of office space, I-Freedom Uganda Network offered to host COSF until it has secured an office.

The Programs Director, Charles Ssena read the financial reports highlighting the incomes and expenditures on COSF's activities for the last two years. Richard Lusimbo, the acting Programs Director at Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Chairman Board of Directors appreciated the secretariat for its commitment and dedication to accountability. In a speech at the meeting, he said, "Accountability is very important and it is small things like these that matter to everyone. People want to know, if they invest resources in you, what you have done and where they have gone." Lusimbo stressed that as the year comes to a close, it is also a time for reflection not only as an organization but also as staff and individuals. This would help the organization strategize on what it hopes achieve next year and how to help address the current challenges.

Photo credit: Kuchu Times Media Group

Sanyu Hajara Batte, the Executive Director of Lady's Mermaid Bureau graced the occasion as the Guest of Honor. She thanked the board and Executive Director for their efforts thus far. Hajara emphasized that the initiative is important especially in the fight against HIV within key populations. She said, "Many organizations have projects but they do not economically empower key populations. It is good to have projects that will enable LGBT youth to be financially independent and improve their standards of living."

Photo credit: Kuchu Times Media Group

Hajara further pointed out that organizations need to recognize the significance of the board to their growth and as a backbone. "Many organizations don't operate well due to lack of proper structures," she said, "And it is the absence of a strong backbone which is the board that weakens our institutions. We need clear direction in leadership and governance as we implement the strategic plans of our respective organizations."