ICT Reach – up and entreprenueral potential for youth within communities
It’s always sad to say goodbye but the time comes and you finally have to leave but how you have left is the question? Have you made any impact? Will you be remembered for anything? Or you will be taken as just another ordinary face that is seen on the same route each day.
A year ago we never knew that at one point we would no longer be among the “ordinary faces.” It is time to go and within the past 11 months we have left enough footprints thanks to Digital Opportunity Trust and Women of Uganda Network. Thank you for all the great efforts and support extended to us.
We started in April 2013 and have finished February 2014 with a ton of experience and memories we would not trade for anything. We have had participants coming in from Ntinda, Kamwokya, Bukoto, Kalerwe, Kitintale, Ndeeba, Kitante, Naguru, Mulago, Najera, Kawempe, Bwaise, Kireka, Makerere and many more. Some students, others teachers, security guards, boda boda riders, waitresses, music artists, shop attendants, cleaners, parents, to name but a few. Some having their own businesses like shops, saloons, making chapati, making jewelry, making daddies, paper bags, furniture shops, boutiques, restaurants, poultry keeping and some more. Each with different or similar backgrounds but with lots to share and learn. Stories about these participants have been shared on our DOT website. Those who have not had the chance to read them please visit http://uganda.dotrust.org
Apart from the ICT and Entrepreneurship facilitations, we have also been holding gender discussions. Below is a photo of our second last intake. They were holding a gender discussion whose theme was
“Hindrances to women participation in political and civil leadership roles and how to address those hindrances to promote women participation in those roles.”
Among the conclusions drawn from this discussion were: gender sensitization should involve both men and women and not women alone, another was: government, community bodies and organizations should stand in support of both men and women in all activities.
Reachup! yielded some good results in our society and the lady whose story is shared below started her business on 16th December 2013 shortly after attending the Reachup! program.
Aisha Nankya, a 34 year old female lives and works in Kamwokya with interest and love for business. Upon learning about the program, she came to register and was later enrolled in our November intake. During the module “Develop your Vision” we got to learn about her and her love for business expressed through the presentation she made talking about the baking business she was involved in at the time.
Aisha is currently running a small retail shop selling items such as cassava flour, maize flour, sugar, soap, bread, donuts, soda, bottled water, cakes, sweets, chewing gum plus some other drinks she makes herself such as water, bushera, juice, munanasi (fermented pineapple juice) which she packages in small “buveera” and she sells them at 100 and 300 shs accordingly. From these she makes some profit and saves 2000 shs each day.
Aisha arranging some of the drinks into the fridge
Aisha has a small savings box where she keeps this 2000shs and has been doing this ever since the day she opened the shop and she intends to keep doing this for two years after which she will break the box and invest the money back into her shop.
Aisha in her shop
Aisha still helps out her brother in baking cakes but cannot sell them at her shop because they are expensive for the society in which she operates. The queen cakes they make require a lot of ingredients and cannot be sold cheaply at the usual 300 shs. She however put a signpost outside her shop indicating that she can make occasional cakes.
Aisha says the few ICT skills that she gained from the Reachup! program enabled her make sign posts such as these:
Aisha says the reachup program helped her revive her love for business. She once desired to start up her own business two years ago and this business was a restaurant but upon vising a friend who had already started up the same business, she was discouraged. The friend had prepared food for “her” customers but there were none what so ever. Despite having bought all the equipment she required to start up, Aisha kept all of it at home and two of the chairs she bought are now being used in her shop. We discussed possible reasons as to why her friend had failed to thrive and tried to encourage her that she can still do it since she has an added advantage of the skills and knowledge she gained from the Reachup! program.
Aisha’s next move is to save up more money and add more items into her shop. She has a diary where she has been noting all the frequently desired items the customers want but has not yet got the money to buy. When she does, some of them will include vim, powdered detergent, more cassava flour because it is frequently bought by those who make the local pancakes. She also plans on building a shed outside her shop where she will transfer the plastics such as the basins and buckets.
Aisha is a very hopeful woman and will one day be a great entrepreneur. With support from programs such as Reachup! and organisations such as Women of Uganda Network we shall see more and more entrepreneurs rise up in Uganda.
Thank you Women of Uganda Network, thank you DOT.
Mary Mirembe. N and Fiona Amwola