I Am an Individual – With a Great Purpose
Posted on December 12, 2014
I am orphaned, but I don’t do pity parties. I have been applauded under the banner of feminism several times, but there is more to my story than an agenda. There is a cause.
I was inspired to start Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organisation (GIPOMO) because of my own experiences. Growing up, I saw many girls being taken out of school because their parents couldn’t afford the school fees. For me, it was one to many girls being forced out of a system of empowerment. It was one to many young children being stripped of hope. So, it wasn’t long until the damaged societal dynamics of my community inspired me to be an active participant of change in Uganda.
GIPOMO is a micro loans business designed to assist the businesses of women with girl children. The idea of the company is to provide women’s businesses with an injection of capital to expand their existing trades – thereby ensuring that the financial conditions of their companies do not impede on the educational opportunities of their daughters.
People who aren’t aware of the societal dynamics of Uganda, particularly the Nebbi district (where I am from) often ask me: “why girl children,” and not children as a whole. They ask because they aren’t fully aware of the unequal distribution of resources due to the unfortunate financial circumstances of women in Africa. They ask because they do not know of the huge disparities between opportunities presented for males and females. In my district, men are recognised, women are not. It is that simple. Given these dynamics, and knowing that the only long term solution is education – I have purposed myself to educate as many young girls as possible by empowering their mothers. So far, over 400 women have been affected by this initiative; and the lives of 7 people (including mine) have been transformed because of job opportunity.
In launching the business I faced the challenge of security, or rather insurance against non-payment. In 2012 two women went away with 400,000 ($160), It was a very big blow to the organization then because I was just at my initial stage. To resolve this, I created a system of putting the women in a group of three where the other two are responsible for any loss in that group. They had the freedom to choose who to be in a group with. This brought accountability to the groups. It also acted as a screening system for the company, as the women naturally rejected irresponsible and untrustworthy people within the community.
I have learnt to be passionate. I have learnt to fear apathy. I have learnt that even at a young age I can effectively contribute to the well being of people outside of my family. But my proudest lesson learnt is that of not letting challenges to dismantle the purpose of the business. It will always be tough. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But we are not everyone. I am not everyone. I am…
23 years old.
I Am Youngpreneur.