The coronavirus has underscored the urgency of ending global poverty and economic inequality. But, for ordinary poor Africans like me, that is — on many fronts — a far cry.
If this planet worked the same way for humanity as a whole, I could have created one innovation to stem the yoke of poverty in our region six years before COVID-19 came.
But for some reason, it didn’t happen. And today, all we have to do is sit back and let this virus wreak all the economic misery it wants, with nothing to count on in the recovery process, in a region where many rural poor households can’t even afford a face mask.
Ordinary poor Africans like me have remained chronically poor not really because we can’t create anything, but because the prospects for those of us who live at the very bottom of the pyramid finding anyone who is open to any slight form of collaboration on poverty are unexplainably slim. The world is essentially closed off to you at every turn.
What the world tends to consider as a robust commitment to ending global poverty are those few instances where a given poor community randomly gets handed a certain predetermined (i.e. top-bottom) anti-poverty intervention, usually by a global antipoverty agency. But that is only random. The majority of poor communities in Africa have either never been touched by any agency, or have had interventions with a short-lived impact.
The sole thing that would ensure an end to poverty, for once, are the poor people-led, grassroots solutions to poverty. But that is one thing the world isn’t ready to let happen.
Since 2014, I have contacted every person on earth, to the extent of even developing glaucoma and loosing vision in one eye, but have failed to even get anyone to donate a single tweet about my idea for stemming poverty in our region. Now, the pandemic is here, and people like us simply have nothing to count on in the rebuilding process.
My Own Quest to end Poverty — How It All Began:
My name is Anthony, a small farmer here in eastern Uganda. I have lived in extreme poverty most of my life, but am not content letting the status quo prevail. I am also founder of the UCF, a nonprofit social enterprise that you can read about on this site.
I have long been very unsettled by the fact that rural poor farmers in our region have no markets for their produce. It doesn’t matter how much a farmer works. They must be poor. It is the unifying factor that keeps us all poor, regardless of who works more.
It is also the one thing that makes it hard for people like us to rebuild post COVID-19.
So, for 6 straight years before the coronavirus was even here (i.e. since 2014), and while my two eyes were all still intact, I have tried to develop one solution to change this, but in vain. I even made this presentation before the UNDP Uganda Country Director and her senior executive team back in 2017, on the same. It didn’t work.
A year earlier, in 2016, after contacting thousands of people — from impact investors to traditional philanthropists — with no success, I had asked UN Women if they could send to Uganda a storyteller like Brandon Stanton (HONY), or an infuencer like Emma Watson (who is also their Goodwill Ambassador), to see our work, since nearly all the farmers who were participating in the UCF’s ginger project at the time were women.
My idea was that people like Brandon or Ms. Watson could potentially help us raise support for our intended solution through storytelling. But, this too, just didn’t work.
So, in 2017, after 3 years of raising no penny, I decided it was time to put off all fundraising, and to exclusively switch to asking people to only donate a tweet about my intended solution, so we can probably find collaborators, volunteers & supporters.
Today, every person on earth whose work is related to the Global Goals, or global development in some way — whether it is the UN’s own official SDG advocates, or someone at the Gates Foundation’s GoalKeepers — has either heard from me, or seen me. In addition, I have contacted every global antipoverty activist; every influencer, media personality, talent manager, everyone in marketing and communications, etc.
My ask? A tweet. But nope. It is always a no. Everyone has said no to a tweet.
Six years later, I am gradually developing glaucoma; have got a blurred vision in one eye, but have still failed to secure a penny for my intended solution, or even a tweet about it. The pandemic, too, is now here, and is wreaking all the economic misery it wants, in a place where many rural poor households can’t even afford a mask, and a region where people like us simply have nothing to count on in the recovery process.
PLEASE HELP — ONLY NOW!
Help me create the solution that I have unsuccessfully sought to create for six years, before am wholly blind. That solution will both help the ultra poor in our region rebuild post COVID-19, and to build resilience by 2030:
1). My intended solution is an agro-processing plant that shall both reverse poverty and create jobs in our region, by cutting post-harvest food losses; creating market linkages for rural poor farmers, and by linking our produce with agri-value chains.
2). Since it is extremely hard for ordinary poor Africans like me to find potential collaborators on poverty during normal times, I have a crowdfundraiser that is asking the world to use this time of quarantine to help people like us build resilience.
Specifically, this crowdfundraiser aims to raise support for the same plant that am striving to develop. Please help donate a tweet about that crowdfundraiser here.
3). Physically work together with my team on the ground in Uganda, to develop that plant — and to help the rural poor in our region build resilience — as described here.
P.S. – I also have a campaign that is calling on the world to revisit its approach to ending global poverty and inequality. Please read and share that campaign here.
Help Us Build Resilience By 2030.
Anthony < anthony AT ugandafarm.org >