How to make a friend in Uganda. business consultant, NGO worker, former Peace Corps volunteer, activist: searching for sustainable solutions to eradicate extreme poverty

December 7, 2010

when it rains the power goes out

Filed under: Peace Corps,Uganda — Jeff @ 1:12 pm

So I thought I might update you on a few stats about the place I live. [I type this sitting on the floor of my bathing area as that is the only light that still works in my house. Where is the yellow pages? I need an electrician.] Here goes. There are 200 people living in my village. I greet about 100 walking from my office in the neighboring trading center to my house. In my subcounty there are four parishes and a total of 20,446 people; 10,389 are female. I’d guess that 99% of those 3821 households are farmers, producing matoke, coffee, and milk. There are also some whose livelihood is made as traders, traditional healers, boda boda operators, and casual laborers.

And then there is me. What will I do? In previous blog posts I have chronicled the need for staff leadership to revitalize operations at the organization that hosts me. To that end, I plan to work on capacity building. First, I plan to plunge into skill development, and then though informal interaction and perhaps formal workshops teach softer skills such as ethics and management. Much of this is however predicated on the hire of a permanent bank manager. Below are a few of my initial ideas.

Capacity Building

train staff in computer software
set up electronic record keeping
conduct business seminars for members
individual consultation with member farmers
new member acquisition
new loan products to better meet farmer needs and boost repayment
organize farmers to lower input costs and increase access to markets through collaboration


partner with local education institutions
primary — basics including cultural understanding, hygiene, life skills
secondary — entrepreneurship workshop leading to open Q&A session discussions with topics ranging from health, sex, business, gender, personal finance, and culture
university — microfinance, marketing, et al
condom distribution through local retail outlets; nets through the bank

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