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Optimistically Planning Post COVID-19 Recovery

Yesterday, Monday, 23rd November 2020, Owomugisha texted me through Facebook Messenger.

“Because of knowing you I am a happy owner of 70 turkeys, which I would not have bought without your connection. I even have ducks clucking away. Last week I harvested 5 acres of Hibiscus. All this I did during the COVID-19 period. I am aiming for 10 acres of hibiscus and 200 turkeys soon.

I sell my hibiscus produce to buyers in Owino Market, but I’m looking for better buyers, like those buyers who sell to wine makers.

Knowing you has done me well. All honour to you.”

Owomugisha’s turkeys that she got from her hibiscus production profits.

Owomugisha’s gratitude is born out of me unintentionally becoming among her role models and mentors. She first contacted me in February 2015, texting me via Facebook Messenger:

“I thank God I read your article. It’s such a blessing that you give out free information. Those who have ears and eyes let them use those senses. No one will say you didn’t give information.”

I am not certain which of my articles Owomugisha read. I have written some on my Alinga Farms Atorot brand (dried calyces of hibiscus sabdariffa fruit) value chain that I developed, and it is likely she read one them.

Owomugisha’s ducks

Following which in February 2015 and through June 2019, she severally texted me via Facebook Messenger, persistently requesting my help:

“I would like to get seeds from you for the hibiscus plant. My farm is in Gomba Uganda.”

“Can I kindly ask that you save some hibiscus seeds for me to plant? I can pick them from you in a few weeks. Eyalama noi (thank you very much in Ateso).”

“Please if you have red hibiscus seeds I need 20kgs as soon as possible.”

“Sister, I am waiting on answer to hibiscus seeds 20kgs please red type.”

I am still hoping for hibiscus seeds from Cathy (my personal assistant). She is not responding to my messages.”

In June 2019, I followed up with Cathy, and I instructed her to make sure that Owomugisha is accessed the hibiscus seed that she had requested. “A note of gratitude. I got my hibiscus seeds through Cathy and planted them. We are doing very well. Blessings and honour!” Owomugisha texted in July 2019, via Facebook Messenger.

I have never physically met Owomugisha and without being introduced, I would not be able to know her if I met her. This makes her recognition of my contribution to her success ever so exciting. I am humbled and exhilarated at the same time.

I owe a huge debt to my mentor Stan Burkey, the auther of the book: “People First – A Guide to Self-Reliant, Participatory Rural Development, with whom I worked alongside for over 20 years, innovating and implementing the change agent training programme in Uganda.

Owomugisha’s success story is what we at CPAR Uganda Ltd are trying to replicate through our mentoring programme for disadvantaged young adults. We are making some progress, irrespective of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the pandemic hit and we couldn’t continue with our training schedule which required physical contact in class and in the community, we piloted giving some of our promising innovators small cash grants on the basis of their proposals for income generation.

Their success rate has confirmed to us the importance of the theoretical aspects of our programme. The innovators under mentoring need the theoretical aspects so they can efficiently do the practical implementation.

We are delighted that it seems feasible that next month, December 2020, we will be able to resume classwork. We have scheduled a non-residential three-day training session from Thursday, 17th to Saturday, 19th December at our Lira Learning Centre.

It will be a tooling training session on how to prepare cash flows and to use them for making informed investment decisions; and as tools to guide implementation of projects. In addition, each innovator who attends the session will be assisted to finalise a cash flow for one of their chosen projects.

Preparations are underway to re-open our Lira Learning Center for business.

We are grateful to our donors for your patience and we promise to stay the course until we have replicated many more success stories, such as Owomugisha’s,  among disadvantage young adults in Uganda for their own benefit and for the benefit of their wider communities.

By Ms. Norah Owaraga, Managing Director

14 responses to “Optimistically Planning Post COVID-19 Recovery”

  1. At my home l had an idle space but due to the knowledge I acquired from Cpar Uganda Ltd, under the mentoring program ” Mentoring Young Adults Into Innovators Against poverty” I learnt that my family members were lacking enough balanced diet so, using the knowledge l got from the module 1, l practically utilised the little space at home to plant green paper in sacks. Am really excited for such a wonderful opportunity to learn more skills come 17th December 2020 . I would like to share the pictures of how my project is doing on Facebook. Thanks


  2. Because of the training I got from CPAR uganda’s cohort one”understanding poverty in rural Uganda”, I decided to become a small holder farmer dealing mainly in vegetables and in a twingle of an eye I realized that the plots with in the lira learning center was not being utilized to full capacity.
    On the 28th day of June 2020, we submitted a project proposal to CPAR uganda LTD and luckily our project was funded and till date, it’s a success. We have already supplied skuma to Lira main market a number of times and hope to get market for spinach as well.
    On receiving a notification of training “module two on cash flows”, my heart leaped with joy because I know more wealth of knowledge is knocking at my door. I am looking forward to 17th December.


  3. At home we use to spend money without putting a proper budget and on items that the whole family could do without, during the first cohort at CPAR Uganda Lira learning centre I learnt the essentiality of budgeting and record keeping of which saving on non budgeted items was very key in home management. At least the family are inspired by what I learnt and shared with them from the training, everyone now has a fully developed saving culture and as well do horticulture in regards to the farming I practiced during the training, I was inspired by this great Lady and Mentor i.e Ms. Norah Owaraga, and because of the integration skills learnt and extended to my family, I feel I need to do more by participating in this coming training on Cash Flow so that my family and community are once again able to gain from me and that’s why I am the most deserving young adult for the forthcoming training.
    Thanks so much CPAR Uganda, thanks so very much Ms. Norah Owaraga.


  4. After completing module one of understanding poverty in rural Uganda with Cpar Uganda, i was able to practically apply the skills i attained( tracking daily expense at home ) which i taught my younger sister.
    “WE SPENT A LOT OF MONEY UNNECESSARILY” was her comment after several weeks of implementation.
    with that, she has made a lot of changes by cutting cost where necessary,she now pays water bills and feeds the family with the little money she gets from her business( tap water sales),some thing previously not achieve-able.
    Currently, i am part of foods in lawn project funded by Cpar Uganda Ltd and have established a vegetable garden( skuma) in some plots within the lira learning centre and inspired to do poultry project as to be approved.
    This is why i believe am the most deserving young adult to benefit from this mentoring programme. Am grateful that Cpar Uganda Ltd chose me to be a change agent and i believe there is still more in store.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate the opportunity given to me to attend the cash flow training as it will improve my skills in managing business. My household too will benefit as finance control will be improve upon finishing Tue training.


  6. I am so honored to be part and partial of this training because it’s my duty to change the lives of my home and people who lives around me with very positive innovative skills and knowledge. Because I want to cause independency, I am therefore that deserving young adult to attend this special training.


  7. I am most suitable for the mentoring program because I now have a 4 bird poultry project after acquiring innovation knowledge against poverty from module 1 of the mentoring program and still like to acquire more skills and knowledge from the program to help me manage my started and future projects. I started the above innovation to give my household an alternative source of income and improve their protein intake. I seek to explore this innovation with them( my household) to transform their lives both financially and nutritionally for a better living. This is why the mentoring program is such a great opportunity for me to learn more and impact better.I will be grateful for the opportunity.


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