As we begin our sixth year in Uganda, we have found a need that is not being met. Our ministry in Uganda is to guide people to meet their own needs by helping them to earn their own money. Through this process, we are able to disciple, mentor and most importantly, share the Gospel with them. The ability for people to earn their own money is important for a couple of reasons. If people aren’t able to meet their primary physical needs (food, water, shelter), it is hard for them to even think about anything else.
Secondly, it is cultural for individuals to take care of problems that others in their family have if they have money. When a Ugandan has a job, they are able to help their extended family go to school, buy food or get medical care. Helping someone in this culture to earn an income is much more than just putting money in their pocket, but it is actually helping their extended family to improve their condition!
We are currently helping Ugandans earn money in two areas, farming and employment. We help farmers to succeed in their farming operations through Farming God’s Way. We are helping the unemployed youth gain employment through Work 4 A Living. The missing part of this equation is helping businesses earn sustained profit. We have businesses that start up during Work 4 A Living, but they are just left on their own after the course is over.
Business is a big deal in Uganda and it has been deemed the most entrepreneurial country in the world! With an entrepreneurship rate of 28 per cent, Uganda ranks in first place with almost double the entrepreneurship rate of Thailand, who comes in second place with 16 per cent. Many of these new entrepreneurs need mentoring so they can have the best opportunity to succeed.
With this in mind, we desire to create a business development center as part of our Work 4 A Living program. We have hired a young man named Andrew to manage the center. He has been teaching our service and hospitality program for some time and has completed the Work 4 A Living and service and hospitality program. We have also partnered with another ministry in Jinja called Ekisinga (means “best of all”) that is offering a 5-month business training program that runs a couple of evenings a week. We feel that partnering with other organizations is the most effective way of getting things done!
Our vision is to offer periodic workshops to the people in our mentorship program. We aim to bring in various experts to teach specific topics, such as social media, finance, bookkeeping, business management, HR, leadership, marketing, social media, legal, coaching, sales, communication, etc. We would also like to pair our mentees with mentors that can commit to a one hour/month Skype call to walk through business issues with them. We would like to have mentors from business leaders in Uganda as well as abroad. These workshops will also be made available to other partner organizations.
Another thing we would like to bring into this program are micro loans. This would not be something that we advertise to our mentees, but something that we can offer for business owners as we see needs arise. The loans would go to people that we are currently mentoring, and repayment would not be a hindrance to their business. It would help them take their business to the next level. These loans would be interest free and the repayments would go back into the loan fund available for other mentees. We will develop a board that will make decisions on loan applications.
We will avail our business development center space to our mentees, so they can use the space for meetings and mentorship sessions. We will also have laptops with internet available to them, so they can use bookkeeping systems, communicate with their mentors, conduct research and manage their social media accounts.
This is where you can help! We are in need of support to get this program up and running. We need both startup and on-going support for this program. For our startup, we are in need of $1,000 for a computer for Andrew, a desk, a cell phone, and printer. For on-going expenses, we need $150/month for rental expenses, electricity and internet. We also need $200/month for our facilitator’s salary. In all, we need about $1,400 for starting up this center and $350 per month to fund the program. Anything raised above these amounts will go into our micro loan fund.
We also need laptops in good working condition for our mentees to use at the business development center. We need business leaders to conduct our workshops and to serve as mentors by committing to a one-hour skype meeting with our mentees.
We appreciate your time in reading this letter and we look forward to you partnering with us to give these young businessmen and women the best start to their future! Thank you so much for believing in what we do!