WHAT WE DO?
SYPO is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands and in the United States. It was started in 2003 by Duko Hopman, after a backpacking trip through East Africa. Duko was struck not only by the desperate poverty of rural Africa, but also by the enormous potential. It seemed the main reason why people were poor was that they were poor the day before; stuck in a trap with nothing to invest in growth. He started SYPO in the Netherlands to fund entrepreneurial aid projects in Uganda. The first was a small dairy cooperative, giving cows to women who had adopted HIV orphans in their families but did not have enough money to care for them. The cooperative started a small yoghurt factory that created a constant demand for the milk. It grew to over 150 cows; 200 orphans received a stable home.
To develop the microfinance project, the Dutch NGO ‘Stichting SYPO’ started (and owns) the company “SYPO Uganda Ltd.” in Uganda. This company employs a team of young, highly talented and motivated Ugandans who run the daily microfinance operations. Each of the employees is responsible for her own zone, and works in the field to register microcredit applications, train borrowers, conduct business visits, collect repayments, make financial reports, etc. Outside of Uganda we work only with volunteers: the Directors (Duko Hopman and Emma Kandelaars) and Board of SYPO (chaired by Ger van der Bruggen), and volunteers helping with our fundraising. In 2017, SYPO U.S. INC. was started as a fundraising arm in the United States.
For a full overview of our team see here.
Over time, SYPO started focusing on microfinance, giving tiny business loans to women with business ideas. We see microfinance as a strong answer to the world’s most pressing problem: that of extreme poverty. It is efficient, because every loan is repaid and can be used again to help someone else. It starts people on a growth path while maintaining their dignity – they repay the microcredits with interest and never feel like they are accepting handouts. If you donate to SYPO, your every dollar is used again and again to help the poorest of the poor, in a way that takes their own potential seriously.
You can read more about our low cost structure here.
What makes us different?
Helping the extreme poor of rural Uganda, who are truly stuck in a poverty trap.
Using 100% of your donation to help the women, and recycling your donation after every microcredit repayment.
Developing new organization models and using technology to work where others cannot.
Supporting the women to develop their own potential with simple financial services, without telling them what to do.
Where do we work?
SYPO works in the districts Mukono and Buikwe in Central Uganda, bordering Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake. It’s a primarily agricultural region, growing coffee, vanilla, bananas, and other crops. SYPO originally started in this area, and it’s the region we know best. We grow in small ‘zones’; typically a village in the middle and a few smaller villages and farm areas around it. Each zones supports up to 1,000 micro-entrepreneurs. The demand for more microcredits is still overwhelming; we need your help and donations to reach thousands more women and help them start their businesses. See the graphic below for our growth plans.
HOW ARE WE FINANCED?
Although we cover all the operational costs of the project through interest paid on the microcredits, we depend on your donations to grow to new areas and reach more women in Uganda. SYPO is supported by hundreds of individuals through this website, and by several institutional donors. You can read more about our corporate sponsors on this page. One of our main institutional partner is Wilde Ganzen, a Dutch development agency with tons of experience working around the globe to support entrepreneurial, grassroot projects with both financial support and expertise. It’s the perfect partner for SYPO – we both believe in investing in the potential of local people to fight poverty.
SYPO received missing financing from The Missing Middle, an organization aimed at ensuring that successful microcredit participants have access to larger loans and further expand their businesses.