From peasantry to entrepreneur; WWF helps transform lives
In 2016, WWF Uganda country Office Organized an Entrepreneurship training aimed at empowering communities to unlock their potential in business start-ups and management. Matthias Kasighalire, a member of Busongora Joint Farmers’ Association was selected by the Association members to represent them at the training. While at the training conducted by WWF Uganda ‘s partner Enterprise Uganda, two things stood out for Mathias.
“ I learnt that there is no capital that is too small to start a business but also learnt that wives are a great resource in business”, he said.
As soon as Mathias got home from the training, he had a discussion with his wife and together resolved to start a grocery shop in Bugoye Trading Centre. The wife would manage the shop while Mathias continued with the coffee farming. The couple used UGX1000000/= from their coffee sales to stock the shop and off, they embarked on their entrepreneurial journey. Today, their business has grown and they are using the profits from it to invest in growing maize and beans for sale.
The couple have also acquired a popcorn making machine which they are using to make snacks and sell to the community. They are the only ones in the locality with the machine. They also charge mobile phones of community members at a fee. The family quality of living has greatly improved. The couple is comfortably looking after their four biological children and another four for Mathias’s deceased brother. The wife adds that her health has also improved since she is no longer spending the over six hours on their farm fields. She says that they will continue to expand their businesses and ensure that they educate all their eight children up to University. But probably her greatest smile will come when she buys herself a car.
“Success is very attractive. I have inspired many but also made many friends. My dignity and confidence have been boosted” stated Mathias.
As a result, he contested in the recently concluded LC1 elections and won.
Busongora Joint Farmers’ Association is one of the Community Based Organizations that is supported by WWF with funding from the European Union and the French Facility for Global Environment to improve livelihoods of the communities adjacent to the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. This is done by inspiring them to diversify their incomes through tourism and promoting sustainable land management practices to increase their crop yield but also reduce the pressure on the environment.