Uganda

Our work in Uganda began in 2007 and completed in 2015. It was very a grass-roots projects aimed at helping an isolated community, with many challenges, improve their well-being. We learned a ton about development, often by making mistakes and realizing in hindsight that we needed to be better. But in the midst of this learning, tremendous impact was being made. This project helped lay the foundation  of what Venture 2 Impact is today.

Uganda

During our time in Uganda we worked with the following groups:

Community Leaders

We worked within a network of 5 main communities and spent considerable time learning from their leaders and providing training and resourcing where possible.

Women

Women were among the most vulnerable people in these communities and helping establish them into a cooperative provided a much needed support network and income.

Entrepreneurs

In isolated communities that are largely subsistence farming based it is near impossible to get micro-loans to grow business because the risks are high. We worked to design a local micro-credit system for these entrepreneurs that met their needs.

Teachers

By focusing on developing and better resourcing their teachers we were impacting generations to come.

What we accomplished

2007 – EXPLORATION

2007 – EXPLORATION

We visited the communities to see if we could be of any value. At the time, the idea of bringing volunteers was just an idea. We heard about many problems the community was experiencing, the most significant of which was orphaned children with no adequate place to sleep.

2008 – GIRL’S DORMITORY

2008 – GIRL’S DORMITORY

Identified as the primary need of the community, we build a dormitory for young orphaned girls living in a school and sleeping on the bare floor of a classroom.

2009 – BOY’S DORMITORY

2009 – BOY’S DORMITORY

We followed up building a dormitory for young orphaned boys living in the school and sleeping on bare floors. We also began learning about other needs a community next door was experiencing. They were teaching children in a school built out of sticks.


A few of our members started teaching women how to do embroidery.

2010 – SCHOOL BUILD

2010 – SCHOOL BUILD

We began building a school in a community that only had stick huts as classrooms. We also began working more closely with teachers to see what they were doing with children and where they had needs.

2011 – COMPLETE SCHOOL

2011 – COMPLETE SCHOOL

We completed the school buildings we began in 2010. At the same time, we had the opportunity to build a small home for a woman whose husband had died due to complications from HIV. We served alongside the community, which rallied to help her.

2012 – PROBLEMS & EXPANSION

2012 – PROBLEMS & EXPANSION

As our contribution deepened, we were aware that we were making some mistakes. As an example, in the previous two years, we thought we had built a school. But it turns out we had only built a building. When we visited it we realized that it was not operating well at all. It was not clean, they had hired too many unqualified teachers, money that was collected for school fees was unaccounted for and the national grades of children who attended there were very low. We began addressing issues more intently. We started digging deeper to understand why the community could not afford to build schools and address other needs themselves.


We began working with women in the community and organized them into a cooperative. They began selling their embroideries and started looking at other income-generating activities. We also started talking to would-be entrepreneurs about barriers they were having accessing loans and business education.


At the same time, we began construction of an IT training facility at a more established school. About 100 computers had been donated to the school through people connected to our work and the existing school had no room to accommodate them.

2013 – DEEPENING

2013 – DEEPENING

We could see that the communities in which we were working had bigger issues than the need for buildings. They had to become more sustainable without having to rely on an outside development organization to accomplish everything. We realized that we needed help and invited a group of highly experienced business leaders to help guide our efforts. This proved invaluable. One key suggestion, which continues to shape our work today, was to involved highly skilled volunteers to tackle the more complex issues that turn up in development.


We were in the middle of designing a way to help local entrepreneurs access capital and run the loaning system themselves. To prepare for the launch, we spent a lot of time training people in accounting, managing their loans, and what it takes to manage a business. The women’s coop was thriving and we spent time teaching them how to improve their products.


We also began construction of a needed school in another community and planned this one better. The school we had built which was previously not functioning well, was now working much better. It was clean, they were accounting for funds and investing them in upgrades to the school. Their upper-level students were scoring in the 90 percentile nationally.

2014 – MICRO CREDIT

2014 – MICRO CREDIT

Among many other activities, we launched a micro-credit facility, run by the community. Within a year there were many success stories. Getting people, especially women, access to credit was completely transformative. Within one loan cycle of $500 it was likely that after paying it back, they would have earned another $500 in profit to invest or pay school fees with that was completely theirs.

2015 – SAYING GOODBYE

2015 – SAYING GOODBYE

After establishing many businesses, two schools, an IT and Micro Credit facility, a woman’s cooperative and more, we decided that we could leave the work in the hands of the community. Part of this decision was driven by a desire to have the community step up and not be dependent on an outside organization. The project began as a grass-roots movement. While this had many strengths due to its informality, it was not the right structure going forward. It was up to the community now to decide how best to organize, create accountability structures, and lead themselves.


We were also eager to take all our learning and start new projects that were more thoughtfully designed and more impactful to people who most need help.

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