CARITAS Uganda was first established in 1958. It became fully operational in 1999 when the Episcopal Conference resolved to reorganize and name it’s Social Services and Development Commission – CARITAS UGANDA. It is a member of the global family of Caritas Internationalis, which is based in Vatican City, Rome. Caritas is a Latin word meaning ‘’Charity and Love.’’
The work of Caritas is done through 19 diocesan development departments through programs such as the National Farmers Platform (advocating for farmers’ rights, improving infrastructure, marketing produce and adding value) and savings and credit associations for farmers of all religious denominations throughout the country.
In 2013 at least 90,000 rural farmers’ associations were benefiting from various development programs. In the same year, Caritas Uganda piloted with 90 households to acquire and install Barefoot Power solar products.
Caritas Uganda seeks to enable 1,000 rural households in Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kasese and Hoima dioceses to acquire and have installed Barefoot Power solar systems. This loan would enable the rural farmer households to buy and pay back using savings from the would-have-been kerosene and phone-charging expenditures as well as incomes from the sale of seasonal crops such as coffee, cotton, matooke and milk.
Over time, the beneficiary households will be able to register an increase in savings, thereby affecting their economic and social well being.
Because Barefoot Power’s core business is not microfinance, there is some level of additional risk for lenders. Kiva’s partnership with the company is unique and unprecedented. For this reason, Kiva has not assigned the organization a risk rating.
Barefoot Power is a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to bringing solar lighting solutions to remote, low-income regions. The company offers Kiva-funded loans to its distributors and retailers to buy supplies, open stores, and sell high-quality, affordable lighting products to consumers in underserved communities. Access to renewable lighting reduces use of pricey, dangerous kerosene, and significantly improves household productivity and income potential.