Help Us Build Resilience — By 2030.
Help the extreme poor in our region both find 1) a way of rebuilding from the economic hardship that has been exacted on us by COVID-19, and 2) a way of building resilience.
My name is Anthony, a small farmer here in eastern Uganda. I have lived in extreme poverty most of my life, but am determined to take charge of the status quo. I am also founder of the UCF, a nonprofit social enterprise that you can read about on this site.
HELP US BUILD RESILIENCE — BY 2030!
The coronavirus has impoverished every single community in our region, than ever.
But, long before this pandemic had torn people’s lives apart, many rural smallholder farming households in our region had historically lived in extreme poverty, in particular due to the absence of reliable markets for our produce. And right now, people like us simply have nothing to count on in the recovery process. This is because our only means of survival (i.e. agriculture) has itself long been synonymous with extreme poverty.
HELP US CHANGE THIS — BY 2030:
The UCF is seeking collaborators who can work with us in any of the 3 ways described below, to help us create a lasting solution to address the key underlying challenge that keeps every farmer in our region in extreme poverty — the absence of reliable markets for our produce — and thus enable the poorest rural farmers become resilient by 2030.
THE INTENDED SOLUTION:
The solution that we need you to help us create is: a fully-fledged agro-processing plant that shall both reverse poverty and create jobs in our region, by minimizing post-harvest food losses; creating new market linkages for rural poor smallholder farmers, and linking our produce with agri-value chains — like bakeries and confectioneries, biscuit makers & yogurt producers; bottling companies & breweries; paperboard industries & textiles, etc.
Here is an overview of the intended plant: http://www.ugandafarm.org/plant-details/
A more chronological description of our rationale for setting up this plant is available in our Global Goals campaign http://citizencall.org, under the section “Let’s Do Something”.
NOTE: as shown under “Funding Targets” in our current crowdfundraiser for this plant (see link below), you will realize that, although our envisaged total budget for this plant is big ($15m), we will install a specific portion of this plant once the money we have raised is at intervals of $240k; $620k; $1m and $15m. That is, we will begin developing this plant once we raise $240k, and we will complete it once we have raised $15m in total. And so, every little support that we can raise will make a strategic incremental beginning.
LET’S CREATE THIS PLANT TOGETHER — IN 3 WAYS:
1). The UCF is humbly looking for collaborators (businesses, nonprofits, foundations, universities etc) who may be able to work together with us in any possible way, whether that means directly embedding one or two people from their team, and placing them directly at the UCF in Uganda for 1-2 years (even if only intermittently), and then working together with us as ONE team from start to finish, to help us develop our intended plant.
Please see “Overall, these are the different ways you can help” at the end of this page.
2). The UCF has a fundraiser that is asking the world to use the spare time many people are having right now, to help people like us build resilience. This fundraiser is primarily intended to raise support for our intended plant. But, if the money raised via this fundraiser is too little, we will instead use it to help the rural farmers we work with rebuild from the economic pain arising from COVID-19, through our sorghum project.
Here is that crowdfundraiser: https://go.rallyup.com/endpoverty
We are very earnestly seeking digital volunteers and/or social media creatives to help amplify this fundraiser, via digital media, to help us raise support for our intended plant.
3). Assuming our current fundraiser (above), even after doing everything we can, just doesn’t reach its $15m goal, we are humbly in need of people who may be able to help us raise this money either via personal contributions, or through their own networks.
WE CAN EVEN DO BETTER:
If and only if, if we could find enough helping hands, what if we upped our goal a little beyond $15m, and aimed for an even more superior plant, since a fearless feat like this only comes once here in Africa? This is not to say we won’t get a professional plant if we only raised $15m. Nope, it is to say, if we happened to get there, what if we thereafter aimed a little higher, since something like this only comes once for poor people like us?
In that case, here is what we could do better:
a). In our original $15m budget, we had allocated $380k to a cassava starch utility. But, according to the FAO, the average cost for a 24 ton/day starch facility in Africa is $736,340. An even more ambitious similar cassava starch project has been planned by Uganda’s government in the furthest part of eastern Uganda, for UGX 47b ($12.7m).
That means, if we are only able to raise $15m in total, we will still have a cassava starch utility installed as part of our plant (for $380k ), but we’d do better if we had a little more.
b). In our $15m budget, we had allocated $14m to a 6-10ton/hour fruit facility. That is also what our government used to install a similar facility 3 years ago in a region called Soroti. However, Nigerian entrepreneur Tony Elumelu once installed a similar facility (called Benfruit) for $20m – $30m. And so, if we only manage to raise $15m in total, we will still have a $14m fruit facility as part of our plant, but we’d do better if we had more.
c). In our $15m budget, we had allocated $200k to farmer training, and providing farmers with inputs like seedlings. We also plan to maximize the budget we allocate to farmer support by partnering with local government agencies that may provide free seedlings to the rural farmers we work with, once our intended plant is installed. Nonetheless, we would still do better, if our own budget for farmer support was a little more dependable.
In particular, we will need to provide farmers with huge volumes of cassava cuttings; pineapple suckers; orange, mango, and passion fruit seedlings, as well as cereals/grains like sorghum. These seedlings will need to be provided to farmers before the plant is even complete, but also on a continuing basis, even after its complete. And certainly, we will also need to have in place a good team and transport logistics to execute this work.
Generally speaking, the last part of it (i.e the idea of aiming for a more professional plant whose total cost is a little beyond $15m) can be an afterthought, i.e. may come later. For now, if we could only find enough helping hands to help us reach a threshold of $15m, that would be unforgettable. We are people who have been through the crudest forms of poverty imaginable, and helping us develop this plant will be an absolute miracle.
FOR THOSE READY TO WORK DIRECTLY WITH US IN UGANDA TO BUILD THIS PLANT:
We will provide local travel, food and modest accommodation (for any number of people) at our office in Namisita, for any duration. The UCF has already hosted many other volunteers from the US/UK, for up to two months. Photos of some of our previous volunteers can be seen on our “Volunteer” page. Also, please download our “volunteer brochure” on the same page, and scroll to the extreme bottom of that PDF, for detailed information on the kind of food, accommodation & local travel that will be available.
OVERALL, THESE ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN HELP US BUILD THIS PLANT:
1). Place one or two people from your team directly at the UCF (once COVID-19 abates), and then work with us as ONE team to develop this plant from start to finish, by sharing knowledge and recruiting your network to help us raise part of the needed support.
2). Help amplify our crowdfundraiser (above), and be sure to make a contribution. You may even be able to help us raise a small fraction of the needed funding via your own means. Every little support that we can raise will make a small incremental beginning.
3). If you possess any hands-on skills that you could offer on a volunteering basis (e.g. as an industrial designer; food technologist, mechanical engineer etc), come and work with us on the ground in Uganda, to develop this plant, once the coronavirus has relented.
4). We will also need the help of some MBA student volunteers, or anyone out there, to orientate us on key areas of work, like management; staffing needs & roles of personnel, or even new technologies for monitoring/tracking our target farmers’ fields in real time.
5). If you are someone who has no hands-on skills to offer (i.e. if you are an unskilled volunteer who would like to be part of us in developing this plant), there is a lot of work you can do, from carrying materials from suppliers, to working as a porter. Come join in.
THE TECHNICAL PART OF IT:
Technical help on installing the whole plant; building market linkages, and advice on specific crop systems will come from TechoServe, SolarLabSU.com, Partners in Food Solutions, AfrII, Natural Resources Institute UK & specialized entities like Alvan Blanch.
To learn about where our intended plant shall be physically installed, or what its ownership structure will be, please go to our Global Goals campaign (citizencall.org), and look for the phrase “Ownership & Legal Structure” towards the bottom of that site.
Help us put a sizable bet on 2030, today. Help us make 2030 the year poverty must end.