ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

update June 28

Greetings to you all,

Maria peeling matoke

I hope that you are well. For us here in Uganda, everything is normal. The weather has been surely good for us as we have received multi storms in the past few weeks. The food supply in the market has continued to stabilize as also prices continue to increase because of the increase in fuel prices across the globe. I am not sure what it looks like outside Uganda but now a litre of petrol and diesel both cost at least 6,080/- (approx. $5.52/l), this increase is more than double what we used to pay for just one a year ago. This I guess will continue until the war in Europe comes to an end but the economy of Uganda doesn’t seem to react normally to the laws of economics so I am not very thrilled to see if anything will change yet I remain optimistic.

This week’s events were more support and follow-up on some of the Mamas whose businesses have been struggling. 

Prossy L. is one of our Mamas practicing piggery farming and my last visit with her last week was not very fulfilling. All the prior follow-ups were phone conversations and I didn’t get the chance to see the animals but this time I went down to the village of Mitiyana and I was not very excited to see the animals. Early this year, all farming Mamas were hit by the swine flu and most of the pigs didn’t make it; only a few piglets survived. Prossy was left with only four piglets and along with Henry her husband has been trying to raise them but with no success. They are too small for what they should be at the moment compared to her fellow Mamas. So this week, I have been working with another Mama called Maria to help Prossy rejuvenate. She gave us some tips and then agreed to buy, sort and mix ingredients to help Prossy’s pigs gain weight or else she will get a very bad price for them regardless of the time and effort invested. The real deal is to try and fatten them a little bit before they can be extended into the market. 

Hamida with some stone for her coop

Some good news for Hamida as the gentleman who promised to build her a chicken coop has finally started to deliver materials for the construction of the coop. He delivered a truck of heavy stones which will be used to set up the foundation of the house to help protect the floor from getting wet as this area is swampy. This is good progress for her so she gets back to actually what she loves to do. At the moment, she is helping to attend to her partner’s shop and she doesn’t enjoy it much.

Maria and her pigs

Maria A. is doing great, I found her peeling matooke(plantain) to prepare supper for her family. She has a little garden behind her house where she plants some vegetables and plantains to sustain both her family and her animals. She has a good balance while feeding her pigs as she uses maize brand, chicken feeds, leftover food, greens, and anything else edible to keep her pigs happy. It is amazing that her pigs are so quiet and sleep a lot. When I told her about Prossy, she was compelled to help out with the feeding combination so that we can size Prossy’s pigs up before she can trade them for a good price. Maria now also has another pig which is pregnant and will be due in a few weeks to come.

Christine and her pigs

Christine N. is recovering well from the loss of her chickens. She was devastated by this event. She loves poultry farming and has a special attachment to her chickens and pigs but also does a little brick laying on the side. She hires a few young men who break the ground, mix the dirt, cast the bricks and bake them when they dry. This process takes anywhere between 1-2 months. It was nice to see her seven piglets looking good and healthy. 

Francoise

Francoise L. is doing okay. She is still cooking her maize and beans but the quantity has significantly reduced because of the prices of maize, cooking oil, and charcoal. Otherwise, she is well and her kids are going to school so that’s nice even though she has not completed all the payment of school fees but she is committed to ensuring that she has it sorted before exams. Her daughter Jolly is doing okay too. She is doing a mobile salon service at the moment and this has gone a long way to help the family buy daily needs like food, soap and other things. 

Irene in her salon

Irene L. is struggling with the salon lately as the business has reduced significantly. She had not seen any customers for three days and yet she had to transport, feed and even pay bills. The economic situation has become very dangerous lately as people have to choose between so much important stuff and personal care. She is house hunting for another salon but the biggest trouble so far is the price of the shops.

Hadija N. got a small setback with her broken ankle and she had to visit the doctor because it looked like one part of her foot was swelling. The doctor examined and gave her medication to thin her blood because it looked like a small clot. She is now better and will continue with the recovery process.

Anna M. is also recovering well after her broken foot on a boda ride about two weeks ago. I called her up to check on her and she is not doing bad and movement is continuing to increase in her foot so that’s good. 

Otherwise, the week went well for me. I got the opportunity to attend a High-Level Workshop on Environmental Protection at our local British Council area office. It was good to see fellow young people who are committed to environmental protection and also doing something about it. I realized it is the small gestures that matter, being able to play your role may act as a motivation for another person and that is how the chain grows. 

Thank you for your continued support and interest in everything we are doing here. This week, I will deliver the food for the pigs to help Prossy’s piglets so she can grow bigger. My take from this event is the fact that one Mama is voluntarily helping another Mama and this is the kind of world we want.

Stay safe.

Report by;

Andrew Echel

Director of Programs, Uganda 

ISEE Solutions Society 

June 22 Update

Greetings to you all,

I hope you are all doing well. We here in Kampala are receiving some showers as I write this to you. It has been just maybe 15 mins since it started raining. It is a good feeling to receive the rain in general because the last couple of weeks has been extraordinarily hot so it’s a relief to have some positive change in the weather condition. We can only hope it lasts a few weeks longer. I have put out a drum to harvest some water for my plants that have surely been struggling the last couple of weeks.

I also had the opportunity to attend a meeting on climate change at our British High Commission focused on youth participation in helping combat climate change. The climate and environment are all that we have on this planet so every one of us has a specific albeit minute role to play towards protecting Mother Earth. It was good to sit with people who realize the importance of this and how we can greatly contribute to the improvement of our climate. 

This week’s visit started on the wrong foot (literally) as Anna, one of our Mamas and colleague who is fundamental in helping us translate and assist in our reproductive health classes, broke her foot on a boda boda on Sunday 12th June 2022, as she was on her way to visiting her two kids who are in boarding school.

Anna resting up

Unfortunately, she didn’t even make it to the first school as a car hit her boda on the way. Apparently one car stopped and allowed another to cross but Anna’s boda didn’t realize it until it was too late. The front guard of the car knocked Anna off the boda resulting in a broken foot. Luckily the man who hit her was mature so he took the responsibility to drive Anna to the nearest medical center where she got stitched up and the foot was saved. She didn’t call me or text me until Tuesday morning when she sent me an email so I cancelled all plans and went to see her. She is a pretty strong woman so even when she told me that she was okay, I wasn’t taking her word as I was extremely worried about the whole incident. The visit went well and I was glad to see her in her living room. We spoke and laughed a bit. She will not be able to work for a while as that ankle injury usually takes longer to heal so she will be monitoring from home as the shop will remain closed till further notice. Her sisters took the responsibility to visit the children at school and none of them knows what happened. 

Rashida at her stall

Rashida S. has been affected by the market prices of the veggies that she usually buys from the market. The sun has been so hot that vegetables are becoming scarce and fuel prices are constantly increasing so transportation is not getting any easier. Regardless Rashida has kept soldiering on and has been able to clear the majority of her 4 childrens’ school fees. She went to the school administrators and explained to them that she would pay the rest soon and they let the kids remain in school in the meantime. Rashida’s children are all girls and one of the easiest ways to keep them safe is to keep them in school so she does her job there. I found her doing her children a laundry in the stall. We usually use two to three basins to wash the clothes and rinse them before we can hang them to dry. The first water or basin number one usually carries more detergent and clothes are washed more vigorously to remove the dirt and then the last two basins are used to rinse and remove the remaining dirt. 

Lilly cutting fabric

Lilly A. is continuing to do well this season. I found her cutting fabric for a skirt she was making for a customer. She has had several orders like this for a few weeks now. You know she is a tablecloth person majorly but has been diversifying recently so she can earn some extra cash. This is working for her and she has been able to make more payments for her son Phillip. 

Lorna and Jeremiah

Lorna K. is also having a good time at the restaurant even though some days are not as good as others. I like the fact that both Lorna and Catherine have given the food business such a priority and you can see the growth at hand. The only challenge has been security for items in the school so they keep carrying most items back home every night. Jeremiah is doing well in school. His reading and writing skills have improved, said Lorna. His interest in school keeps growing and this is good for his safety and development as a whole. 

Lorna making and serving chapati
Semmy at her school

Semmy S. has restarted her soap making because the school has started using liquid soap again so her services are now required. The only challenge is that she still has to share the demand with another fellow teacher with whom they both supply the school with liquid soap. Otherwise, she is happy and all her three kids are back in school and fees have been paid. 

Aidah frying chips

Aidah K. the chips maker is hanging in there that’s for sure. I looked at the quality of what she was making as opposed to what she used to make and this was a huge difference. The food stock has reduced and she uses very little oil to fry so many chips. The veggie stall is almost empty as she can’t afford to buy more vegetables to supply her demand. 

Harriet in her shop

Harriet L. is still surviving on her railway track stall. They have not evicted them yet so business is still going on as usual which is good in the meantime. She has had quite some business that she was able to take her daughter for treatment. She was brought back from school a few days back. The problem I have with this particular situation is that her husband refused to pick up or even pay for the treatment for this kid only because he is not the biological father. She is the first born to Harriet and when the two met, he knew the truth but he has refused to cater to the needs of this one kid which of course I feel sad that she doesn’t deserve to be treated this way. It is not fair but it’s not my place to judge this situation but I am glad Harriet is empowered well enough to manage the responsibility all by herself. We hope it can stay this way as she searches for another business site to move to. 

Rovence at her restaurant

Rovence N. is also doing fine. Most importantly, she has extended her working hours by two to three hours. For the last three weeks, she has 3 late evening customers that come to eat supper at her restaurant so she has been keeping food for them every day. This has turned out to be a good move because the number has grown to five and six sometimes so she is considering keeping it this way for the foreseeable future. Eventually, she will be fully functional every night and hence the growth of her business. 

Jennifer at her shoe stall

Lastly, my physical visit ended with Jennifer N. The second shoe business has been very slow lately as the prices of everything have risen. The taxes are destroying them slowly and she says the only advantage is that the rent has not yet been increased because otherwise, the problem would even be bigger. Luckily the landlord has been good to them so she soldiers on. All her kids are in school so that’s good for her and she has also employed another lady to housekeep for her since the safety of home is not guaranteed when she is at work. This lady also helps to cook and wash for the kids during the holidays. I love this like Justine, women supporting women even at the smallest levels. 

It was quite a week but I am glad we went through it and most of us are grateful for the opportunity to live another day. We are particularly thankful for Anna who almost lost a leg but she is back home and the foot is moving so we hope that it continues to heal perfectly. 

Thank you to all of you that keep up with us during our weekly events. It’s always a pleasure that you stay tuned to our updates. We don’t take you for granted. 

Mwebale nnyo,

Andrew Echel

Director of Programs, Uganda

ISEE Solutions Society