ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

Update April 30, 2021


Greetings to you all,

I am glad we have come to the end of April, I must say it is one of the best months in the year.  Like I narrated last week, surely I had some fun and I concluded the week with something interesting. 

This week started on a good note and I will start with the interesting stories for me. I visited Amina A., Jennifer N., Angel N., Justine N. and Pulakiseda N.

Amina making chapati

My most interesting story or visit was with Amina A., she is doing great. I loved the fact that she has added a new business to the old one. She started a chapati making business for the fasting month for her Moslem counterparts. Her home is located just next to a mosque so on top of her ripe bananas, she added chapati because it is a delicacy enjoyed by the Moslem fraternity here in Uganda. Every afternoon she starts to make her dough then fries the chapati and sells them later that afternoon opposite the entrance of the mosque. This has ensured her sustainability this month of fasting. I was so proud that she was doing this. The banana business is still going on and she got some great bunches of bananas, this is her niche product and I don’t want her to lose it, so I was glad. I hope she can keep up with the pressure. 

Amina with her bananas

Unfortunately she has a very big bump on her hip that has been causing her some considerable pain over the last few weeks since my last visit. I am hoping it’s not a big deal but I asked her to see a doctor about it. Apparently it causes so much pain in her right leg so her mobility has been hindered by this bump.

Jennifer sorting shoes for sale

My next visit was with Jennifer N., who deals in second hand shoes. The business has been growing since the year started majorly because students have been only going back in intervals. The going back to school in phases has helped create somewhat a sustainable market for shoes and she has been doing week and in general the sales have been up there. 

She has been opening up to 15 bales a week which she says is really a great number. She averages 3 bales a day, a great return. I am glad that she is really happy with what is going on in her business. We will keep checking on her. 

Her first born son has successfully finished primary seven which is the lightest class of his grade. We hope that he performs as good as he expects.

Angel in front of her shop

I finally got to meet with Angel N., who I have been searching for all this while. It’s been about 5-6 weeks of looking and this week I managed to meet her after her expedition of helping build her mothers house. It’s always our joy to hear our Mamas doing more than just their business, by adding another element to what they do. This time it was a social involvement with family to help build her mothers house, who underwent surgery a few months ago. Angel spent a lot of her savings trying to treat her mother and provide after care services that cost her a lot more money. She then recently went to help build a house for a mother and according to her, by the time she left the house was almost complete with a ceiling required and some little things. I was honestly happy to meet her and also hear of the development. 

Unfortunately this move set her backwards in my review and assessment that I have since decided to review her boost again. We had made progress in the review but when she got lost, my review got a setback so I have decided to restart the entire process again. I will take another couple of months to review and exam whether the boost will be viable then.


My visit with Asia made me think about a boost for her business. Asia has been trying to make ends meet with her business for a while. She originally started with book making and has added several other efforts like beverage selling and she has done well. During my previous visit before last she had requested to boost her business with sodas, water and juice. I was glad to see progress when I saw her shelves filled with bottles of water. Water is cheaper than juice and soda so I was happy that even without our help she has been able to invest in her business. This is usually one of my pointers to Mamas seeking boosts. I have since decided to push her name forward to try and get her business boost. She needs 200,000/- Uganda shillings to buy sodas for her shop. This will probably help increase her capital and income.

During my visit she was extracting banana juice using grass and banana leaves. This is a type of local juice enjoyed by the population in the market where she dwells. She extracts it by hand, chills it in her fridge and sells it to market dwellers throughout the day. She actually will sell up to 20 litres of this juice a day. 


Business has not been going on well for the last three weeks for Pulakiseda because the market road was under repair. Since her stall is right by the entrance of the market and the road, this eventually slowed down her business because the dirt was a lot so she had to close for a few days. Hence a dip in her sales per day and the week. 

Otherwise she is now well. She is getting back on track and is looking forward to moving on from this road making event.


Finally for today’s edition, I visited Justine N. Justine is our only Mama who deals in saucepan hiring. She will usually rent to anyone who has a congregation of more than 100 people. This includes weddings, funerals and other forms of gatherings. Obviously business has not been going on well for her because of the issue of social gatherings and social distancing. This has reduced demand for her services throughout this time. Times have been hard for most of our Mamas because kids are returning to school every other month and their fees have essentially doubled because they have to now take certain accessories to school in the effort of trying to fight the pandemic. 

Luckily she has a veggie stall that has been her backbone for more than a year now. She sells small things like onions, tomatoes and other veggies. This has sustained her and her family. We can only hope that the season remains good for her to get her veggies for sale. 

Justine serving customers

It was truly an awesome week for me as always, I hope to find more optimism in the following weeks ahead. Thank you for always following what we do weekly, it means a lot to us. The feedback has been positive and is much appreciated. 

Please stay safe, maintain social distancing but remember to remain sociable. The world needs a little more loving in this pain and anguish. Spread the love.

Our Mama Boost of the Week is:

Asia N. has requested boost worth 200,000/- Uganda shillings to help her buy sodas to add into her shop. This will boost her capital and increase her profits eventually.

Yours Sincerely

Andrew Echel 

Director for Programs, Uganda

ISEE Solutions Society

Annnnd we’re back!

{note: Welcome back! We hope you all had a peaceful and happy holiday season.

The general election in Uganda occurred on January 14. In order to “prevent alarm and unrest” {ahem} the government shut down social media, and eventually internet access, on the 13th. We have had a few sporadic text messages from Andrew but he has been essentially incommunicado for several days. His house is in the same area as candidate Bobi Wine’s complex and so Andrew says there has been an increased police and military presence in the area for the last week or so. He has hunkered down in his home (Andrew, not Bobi) and will venture out once the area feels safe again.

In a piece of good news, though, earlier this week we received news from Andrew that Christine — who you may remember as the Mama with the piggery — has successfully argued her case in district court and received a judicial ruling which prevents her husband from selling Christine’s land. She told Andrew that she got photocopies of the decision and delivered them with haste to the local police station, magistrate, and her husband. This is a huge relief to everyone except, presumably, Christine’s husband.

Thank you once again for all your support of us and our work. Hopefully 2021 will be better for all of us. Once the internet is resumed in Uganda and he feels safe, Andrew will continue to provide updates on our Mamas. -ed}

Happy New Year to each and every one of you, our dear readers. It feels good to be back after almost two weeks of holiday. I know most of us had Christmas and New Year celebrations under lockdown but I hope you had a good time. As for me, I tried to have a good time by traveling to my ancestral village to celebrate with my mother whose birthday happens to be on the 25th. It is usually about 6 hours drive to my village in a place called Lira district. We arrived safely and the next day we were to surprise my mother with a beautiful cake. She was so happy that she prepared us a goat which my friend Andrew enjoyed roasting the whole night. Over all we really had a great time celebrating Christmas in the village. 

This week I returned to work. Of course it has been a slow week as I am trying to get myself back in work mode. Nevertheless, I managed to meet Florence, Rovence, Pulakiseda, Cissy, and Angel. 

Florence in her salon

Florence said that the season was good yet again as she managed to make some cash during the festive season. It was good to hear this because she had been planning and preparing for it during my last visit of the year. She was buying hair pieces and chemicals to use on her clients, so it was good to hear that she was able to get some returns. 

She told me that she would be going to the village and won’t be able to vote in the coming elections on 14th Jan 2021. Like her, many people anticipate some kind of violence during these elections as the atmosphere has been building up towards it but we hope that doesn’t happen. Therefore Florence has decided that she will travel with her kids for about a week or two until she can determine safety. 


Rovence N. is back on the job as she didn’t get much time off during the season because her location is so prime that the people around her don’t rest until 9PM because of curfew. She will also work through Christmas and New Year’s because the trading center doesn’t close. She is happy to make some money during the festive season and closed for only two days to rest and prepare for the year. 

The challenge is that her landlord decided to cut the power supply from her restaurant because they all shared the same meter. He wants them to each have a separate meter so they can pay the bills easily because they would know how much they use. This has given Rovence a challenge because her fridge hasn’t been running since so she has been losing money because she has to go and buy cold drinks from another shop. 

{note: we have been working with Andrew to try and assist her in this venture, as he has experience dealing with the bureaucratic maze that needs to be navigated to get utilities organized in Kampala. We will update as we hear more. -ed}

During the festive season Rovence was poked by a nail in her right arm and has been trying to nurse it. She was very wise to get herself a tetanus shot so we wish her a quick recovery. 


Pulakiseda N. is doing really well. I went down to the market to also buy some supplies for myself after many days away from my home. The boost from the hamper shopping from her shop helped her to restock her shop for the season. She was really excited to see and thanked us so much for shopping at her shop when we were putting together the hamper we distributed. 


Cissy N. has also reopened the restaurant this year but business has not been any good so far. She said that her customers have not yet returned so she has even cut on the amount of food she has made in the last few days. 


Angel N. is still trying to pick up herself after the shopping we did during Christmas. The idea was to spread the expenses between Angel and Pulakiseda as a way of supporting their struggling shops so they can make some profits and boost their shops. Unlike Pulakiseda who is almost comfortable right now, Angel is still picking up her shop and trying to balance the shop items. 

My first week has surely presented me with some mixed results both good and bad. It was nice to see the Mamas again after a long two weeks of rest for me. Like I said earlier for me it was a good time to rest and reflect on how the year went down especially with the challenge of the pandemic. It was a time to reflect, adjust, strategize and adapt to the new world that requires us to be more cautious and present ourselves to the world. 

Thank you all who have supported us during 2020, we hope that we can still move forward with you in 2021 as we continue to make a difference in the lives of our Mamas and their families. 

Yours sincerely 

Andrew Echel