The majority of people in Ourganda’s villages live on the brink of imminent financial disaster. A bad storm or an act of violence can sweep away their home and everything they own. People fight with everything they have to survive but they often lose the battle. Throughout the developing world, men, women, and couples lift themselves out of extreme poverty by starting micro-businesses.
In the summer of 2021, Ourganda hired Godfrey Friday, a man who grew up in Sarakihombya and eventually earned a degree in micro-finance. He and his team created an exciting goal: “Our empowerment program will be a smashing success when a majority of the residents of our villages are increasingly enjoying and benefiting economically from their work.” During the first year, Ralph Metzger, a micro-business consultant from Kansas City, travelled to Bundibugyo not once, but twice to get the lay of the land, conduct training classes, and help Godfrey create a strategic plan. Twice a month, Ralph coaches Godfrey in video calls, evaluating his progress and suggesting course corrections. Godfrey teaches financial literacy, meets with potential entrepreneurs, and trains leaders. He oversees and supports business clusters that employ approximately 50 people in bee keeping, tailoring, carpentry, and goat rearing. For the first time. dozens of families are able to pay school fees for their children, and they are planning for a more secure future.
More business clusters are on the horizon. A baking cluster is forming soon. Brick by Brick, the Ugandan construction company that is building Ourganda’s new community center, has hired ten men and women from our villages who are creating a construction cluster. These workers are making sustainable, interlocking bricks; learning how to read building blueprints; and gaining practical construction experience. When the community center project is completed in the fall of 2023, the building cluster will begin building permanent homes in our villages to replace the mud and sticks shelters that disappear during a storm.
We are proud and excited that Ourganda is building a scalable system that will eventually enable people in our villages to enjoy and benefit economically from their work. The road to human flourishing is underway!