ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

Update March 28 2021

Greetings to you all dear readers,

I hope this edition of our weekly reports finds you well. For us this week started with a lot of heat on Sunday but the rains came in heavy the last few days, unfortunately I missed out the Tuesday downpour which I was told had some hailstones in some parts of the city. I was away on a visit to see one of our past partners called Peter Kiwanuka. We met Peter a few years ago and forged a partnership to help support his organization in a place called Njeru. I will be telling you more about Peter in this report but much later. 

Last week, I told you about the first female President in East Africa after the demise of the President of Tanzania H.E John Pombe Joseph Magufuli who died of “heart related complication” about two weeks ago now. It is certain now and more of a historical event for me as an individual and a supporter of women empowerment and women in power/leadership. I have always believed that women in leadership carry special abilities that sometimes men may not carry. In leadership for me, one has to have empathy or sympathy which most women carry by nature or created. I believe that Tanzania is headed for quite a spin that most people won’t see coming. I will be an ardent follower of this president because I have seen what the former Executive Director of Kampala City here in Uganda did while she was boss of the City. She ran Kampala better than any Mayor in the past.

This week I continued to make my rounds in and around Kampala district visiting our Mamas to continue to see the progress they have and have been making through the month. It is a very interesting job for me as I learn each time I visit these incredible women in business, if I may call them that. It is interesting that our economy and lives actually run on these women because they help us sustain our livelihoods with food and vegetables which surely keep us going. For many young people and families like me, we survive on the energy they expel as they move food from the market places to near our homes where we can then access it in smaller and affordable quantities. This is why I always support our Mamas when I visit them. I buy groceries and vegetables from their stalls and take them home to make my meals. Otherwise why would I play a part in ensuring that they start businesses and not support them through buying the actual product.

Pulakiseda at her grocery store

Talking about supporting our Mamas. This week I ran out of groceries and decided that I shall buy some rice, sugar, peas and vegetables so I visited Pulakiseda at the Kalerwe Market. She is doing incredibly well for herself at the moment. The stall looks great and she seems happier too. This is the place we want our Mamas to be at, a place where their business seems to be growing and thriving but also them being happy. When we achieve this we feel that we are ending this periodic poverty among the homes and families we serve. She was bold to also indulge me in a small business opportunity chat that she wants to start. She said that “…I am trying to assess an opportunity to sell cold beverages in my shop, but I want to see if I actually can.” She wanted to make research and see whether she could sell cold beverages at her shop. The beauty about her location is that she is located right at the entrance of the market. It would be perfect for the business opportunity I think.


After meeting and shopping at Pulakiseda’s shop, I moved on to see Asia N. These two women work together in the same market. Now Asia work’s at the very end of the market, where she actually sells cold beverages like juice, water, soda and some locally made juice from sweet bananas. She actually extracts the juice herself using a rear type of banana locally known as “Kisubi” pronounced as “Key-sue-bee”. They peel the ripened banana into a huge saucepan or bucket, then using elephant grass they start to squeeze and rub them together until the juice is fully drained from the bananas. I have never tasted this particular type of drink but they say within the first day it is juice but after a day or too it ferments into alcohol. Maybe I shall wait for it to be fresh after two days. The thing about Asia is that I see a lot of potential with the location of the shop and what she could sell. I would want her to pitch another proposed item to add to her stall. 

Florence and her spiffy new glass shelves

Florence A. came back to town and has been around for a few weeks now since the last time I visited her stall. She brought back her kids from the village and they are all doing well. She has improved her salon in the way of adding beautiful glass shelves to display her products and items for sale. She has also kicked away a guy she describes as noisy and wasn’t paying his rent on time. The thing is when Florence rented the current salon she is in, she had an open front where usually people with small movable stalls can hire to do business. When Florence hired it out to this guy, he started well but like some people are, he started defaulting his payment so incidentally he was kicked out. She has now decided to start a chips business, went and bought a big sack of irish potatoes and started to fry it from outside her salon every afternoon. Irish chips or french fries are a popular dish as most of us will know and enjoy as well. I was happy to see this improvement and I wished her well in this new endeavor.

Jane making paper envelopes

Jane N. has been doing okay the last couple of weeks because we had no rain at all. The local wells also started drying out, so she had a blurst in selling water. Jane, for those who may not remember, is one of the two Janes’ who applied to get water tanks to sell water to the community. One of the biggest challenges in some areas in and around Kampala is the scarcity of piped water. That includes myself because I only get water 3 days a week, so when it comes I always have to fetch it in jerry cans and buckets to store enough water to run through until it returns. At the time of my visit she was sitting on the mat outside her house making paper bags to sell as she has always done this as her side gig to earn them some extra cash. As we spoke, she pointed out the fact that she will need all the money she can get because they received notification that the special needs clinic will reopen again in a week. It has been closed for almost one year and a half now. Jane  has a grandson who has hydrocephalus and is required to visit the clinic at least once a month, so they enrolled him and for almost 2 years we would support the family and Francis himself to attend the monthly clinical outreach. 


Last but not least I met Aidah and she hadn’t been doing well the whole week because the rains would stop her from working each time it rained. She was forced to close the chips stall by midday because customers would leave work early because they wanted to get home quickly. One of the other challenges that cuts across the country here is the difficulty in transportation especially when it rains. The cars tend to slow down and they become scarce so people literally fight to get onto the mini buses, what we call taxis that are usually 14 seater and have been reduced to 7 due to the pandemic. This makes it incredibly hard for people to get home and also on time. Otherwise she is well, her kids are still home because none of them falls in the category of students they allowed to go back to school.

The inexhaustible Rovence

Finally, I ended my Mama visit with a visit at Rovence’s restaurant and the stories she told were not as good. Together with her mum, they have been sick with malaria so with her sickness she had to travel to also help care for her elderly mother. She had to leave her youngest daughter to run the restaurant but as we all know, owners run businesses better than anyone else. She, the daughter managed to keep it a float for about 9 days when the mother was absent. Otherwise her mother has since recovered and is doing okay. The challenge has been that lately Rovence has been experiencing some kind of temporal paralysis in her lower arms. She started experiencing them about a year ago but it would only happen in the left arm but now both arms get paralyzed every now and then to an extent that she can’t answer the phone. I asked her to go and see the doctor before this gets worse. One of the causes could be the fact that she cooks on an open flame or charcoal stove, so I asked her to go see the doctor ASAP.

I promised to tell you about Peter in an earlier paragraph. Peter started an organization several years ago to help fight the unplanned pregnancy crisis around his area but also to empower the young women who live around his community. He felt that by starting this organization he would help skill the girls within his community and empower them to become income generating citizens to help support themselves and their families.

Peter from React Now, Save Young Mothers

Peter in his opinion felt that one of the causes of the increased pregnancy rate was economic reasons. Older men would sway these young girls by giving them money and they would in return sleep with them, many of these girls would end up pregnant and then it’s a custom in Uganda that when girls get pregnant before marriage they are kicked out of home. 

Therefore Peter started his organization React Now, Save Young Mothers to combat this problem. He alongside his friends started teaching these girls tailoring skills and later they added knitting sweaters, hairdressing and motorcycle mechanics. The impact of the work they did was felt and people started recommending girls from all over the district and region. Now his challenge became financial and he started asking them to pay a little bit of money to help buy materials and also service the machine that had been initially donated by some friends he met on a mission to Uganda. The organization started to change yet again because of the impact created and they started to enroll boys too, which led to the practice of mechanics. Peter looked around his community and met a few people who had simple mechanics shops that would eventually become training stations for both the girls and boys.

Peter and his wife with one of the school’s sewing machines. Lack of repair facilities means he has to take the machines to Kampala to get them repaired whenever they break.

For a long time, Peter and his counterparts tried to sustain the organization but they kept struggling majorly because of rent related issues. The students enrolled paid a very small commitment fee to help pay rent and some who couldn’t afford would bring along with them some food stuff that would help feed the students. This is because they travelled long distances, so they had to reside at the school. This meant Peter had to get extra rooms near the school to help him supervise to ensure they don’t fall in the same trap. More rooms meant more rent money to spend hence a greater burden on the team.

Incidentally when the pandemic struck, all schools closed thereby forcing this amazing team to close shop just like all other schools and institutions. The challenge continued as they failed to raise money for rent so they were forced out of their rooms. All the training rooms were later turned into residentials as the owner of the building needed to make money to sustain him. Peter was forced to distribute all his machines to his friends who would help store them in the meantime. Unfortunately things like beds had nowhere to go so some of them have been destroyed by the weather. 

The land Peter wishes to buy

For the love of what they do, Peter has decided to contact all his friends and former partners like us requesting for support to help them buy a small piece of land to construct their own home. This would greatly cut down the costs of operation and help them also create some kind of sustainability on their plot of land. He told me some of his friends have come through with a few promises but he still needs a little more to be able to acquire, build, repair and restart their dream. He speaks with such great passion for someone who almost has nothing and started the organization from almost nothing to the point where they had over 40 girls training and living on site.

It is our lifestyle to work with local organizations like Peters’ organization and many others like Betty’s training school to help equip the communities and lives we meet. This is why we are sharing with you “this boy Peter” a courageous young man who has decided to impact his community positively. His humble request is that we support him in any way we can, which is a Ugandan saying that we often use to request for financial and material support.

This is Peters’ dream and vision to educate more young people and give them an opportunity to have a decent livelihood. Every girl and boy deserves an opportunity to have this, this is one of the things we as ISEE Solutions Society believe in and if we can make it happen “Why not” I remember Erika saying to me that phrase. We are here to serve them in any way we can.

{note: We have asked Andrew to contact Peter and work with him to create a more formal proposal. Once we receive it and ensure that it works within our mandate, we will present it to you and our board and determine what we can do to help him. If you are interested in Peter’s project and want to be kept abreast of developments, please contact us in the usual ways and we’ll ensure that you are kept in the loop. -ed.}

I want to thank you for the long read. This time we wanted to give it a little twist but I assure you that we will be back with our boost segment next week as the ideas come in. 

Mwebale nnyo! The Ugandan local way of saying thank you very much!

Yours Sincerely

Andrew Echel 

Director Prog, Uganda

ISEE Solutions Society

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