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dfcu Bank extends efforts to empower female entrepreneurs to Northern Uganda

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dfcu Bank in partnership with Monitor Publications Limited’s (MPL) flagship brand Monitor and Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) completed a two-day training in Gulu district, Northern Uganda as they continue in their efforts to equip and empower and female entrepreneurs across the country. Over 300 women attended the two-day event which was facilitated by key experts.

The training was the third and second last of the ‘Rising Woman’ regional activities which are all aimed at imparting skills necessary to run and maintain successful businesses to women involved in various ventures. Previous trainings were held in Mbale and Bushenyi districts.

An initiative under dfcu Bank’s Women in Business program, ‘Rising Woman’ seeks to recognize, celebrate and promote a culture of mentorship among women in business in Uganda. This year marks the initiative’s second season, following last year’s successful inaugural activity that attracted thousands of women who took part in different activities including; trainings, the Rising Woman Expo, Awards Gala and study tour to Nairobi.

dfcu Bank’s Gladys Nalukenge noted that the theme for this year’s Rising Woman Initiative, ‘Taking your business ahead’ is focused on “…providing female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and abilities to improve the way in which they operate their businesses; with a goal of enabling them to create profitable operations.”

“Through this initiative, we are focused on building women’s financial literacy skills, creating awareness of available opportunities, widening their networks, and enabling access to credit and financial support,” Nalukenge added.

While many of the barriers faced by entrepreneurs are common to both men and women, in many cases, they are more significant for women. Fear of failure discourages most women from entering the entrepreneurship arena. Women also tend to perceive that they lack entrepreneurship skills in addition to challenges such as difficulty in accessing finance. Equally, tax policies can discourage female labour market participation, including entrepreneurship.

A participant in the training session, Ms. Josephine P’Ochen, Proprietor of Tour De North, said the marketing and customer care skills tips acquired were enlightening. “At times we fail our businesses just because we cannot get the small things right. I have learnt that appreciating customer and understanding their individual needs provides my business with additional value, which in turn builds loyalty and maintains my customer base.”

During the sessions, women are equipped with various business skills including; business planning; enterprise management, positioning for access to credit and marketing to help them leverage on existing opportunities.

Ms. Fausta Akech, a business woman in the coconut oil business noted that the training on standardization of the products was timely and eye-opening. “Many businesses tend to ignore standards; as we don’t often realize that standardization plays an important role in building and maintaining both a brand and a business.

The fourth and last regional training will take place at Hotel Africana in Kampala district on 2nd and 3rd October 2019. Women entrepreneurs are encouraged to participate in proposal writing which runs up to 20th September 2019.

The top 3 winners of this year’s Rising Woman Initiative will win UGX 15 million, 10 million and 5 million respectively. The Top 10 participants will go on an all-expense-paid study tour in Nairobi in January 2020.

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Vivo Energy donates school materials to Kiswa Primary School

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Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell branded fuels and lubricants in Uganda, has visited Kiswa Primary School in Bugolobi, Kampala and donated school materials and sanitary towels worth Fifteen million Uganda shillings to enhance its Schools’ Education Support programme.

The donation was handed over by Vivo Energy Uganda Managing Director, Mr. Gilbert Assi in the presence of the school community, Vivo Energy Group Chairman, Mr. John Daly, Non-Executive Director, Ms. Hixonia Nyasulu, Executive Vice President for East and Southern Africa, Mr. Hans Paulsen and staff.

Kampala Capital City Authority’s Director of Education and Social Services, Miss Juliet Nambi Namuddu was the guest of honour at the colourful function that was also attended by the Mayor of Nakawa Division, Hon. Ronald Bamwezo under whose jurisdiction the school is located.

Speaking at the school visit, Mr. Gilbert Assi remarked that education is one of Vivo Energy’s priority areas of community investment. “We believe in empowering the future generation of leaders by giving them opportunities to learn. We hope that the support that we have given to this school today will in turn lead to improved literacy, better grades and overall improvement of the school’s performance.”

He added, “Vivo Energy Uganda’s Schools’ Road Safety Education programmes have in the past five years trained pupils in over 120 primary schools as road safety ambassadors. Kiswa Primary School was one of the first schools that we approached at the time. We are pleased that this relationship has progressed to the point where we are confident in the abilities of the children to support fellow children to observe safe road practices. We focus on children as the future drivers in order to inculcate in them a culture of road safety at a young age. Children can also be effective in influencing their parents’ behaviour and through these efforts, we would like to win them over first as a way to reach their parents.”

Ms. Aisha Bagaya Ntege, the Head Teacher of Kiswa Primary School commended Vivo Energy Uganda for identifying the school’s challenges and supporting the administration to address them. “Our school population consists of over 2000 children, drawn from the less fortunate communities near and far from our location. We try our best to manage the existing challenges such as limited learning resources, nutrition, absenteeism of female students due to poor management of menstruation and more. I am delighted that companies such as Vivo Energy Uganda have a heart for the communities around them and reach out to support education. We appreciate this gesture.”

KCCA Director of Education and Social Services, Ms. Juliet Nambi Namuddu expressed her appreciation to Vivo Energy Uganda for supporting education in Uganda: “On behalf of KCCA, that manages public schools in the city, we commend Vivo Energy Uganda for continually partnering with us to make education experience for the children less of a challenge. We encourage like-minded organisations to join us in a similar initiative.” Adding, “It is a sad reality that one out of 10 African girls skip school or drop out of school entirely due to lack of menstrual products and proper access to proper sanitation according to United Nations Children’s Fund. However, this hindrance to the education of female students is now a priority for the KCCA and for the Ministry of Education.”

Vivo Energy Group Chairman John Daly and Non-Executive Director, Ms. Hixonia Nyasulu are currently in the country on a business familiarization tour of Vivo Energy Uganda.

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Coca-Cola Beverages Africa contributes to improved access to clean drinking water for vulnerable households

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    Chris Matabi, founder Nyonta Relief, demonstrating how the Nyonta kit works.

By Our Reporter

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda, through Century and Rwenzori Bottling Companies, has launched a collaboration with Nyonta Relief to provide increased access to safe water for vulnerable households in Ndeeba, in Kampala.

Supporting the project “Nyonta Tree For Life”, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will supply 100 ‘Nyonta Kits’ to families in Ndeeba, which will give them clean drinking water for use in their households for drinking, cooking and other uses.

The Nyonta Kit uses gravity to purify over 100 LPD of any water from a fresh water source making it safe for human consumption. The contribution is valued at UGX33million and will go to 500 people in the Ndeeba community.

Conrad van Niekerk, Managing Director of Century and Rwenzori Bottling Companies, said the company support to the vulnerable communities in Ndeeba was underpinned by the belief that all people around the world deserved a chance to access safe water for life.

“It is therefore critical for us, as part of the world’s leading beverage company, to use water responsibly in our operations and also lead in giving it back. We work to protect local water resources and provide safe, clean drinking water to communities in need,” he said.

He said water was a key issue for the Coca-Cola system around the world and pledged that the company would continue using water responsibly to ensure that the bottling operations in Uganda reduced water use and supported the provision on safe, clean drinking water to communities.

Explaining the project, Nyonta Relief Patron, Hon. Joyce Nabosa Ssebugwawo, said that in Uganda, it is estimated that 33 children die every day due to diarrhea from contaminated drinking water.

“That is why we launched the ‘Anti33’ campaign; to bring together people and organisations who feel the moral obligation to help reduce the number of children dying of preventable drinking water diseases. We are happy that Coca-Cola Beverages Africa has joined us today,” she said.

Hon. Ssebugwawo further noted that since mothers are the custodians of household health, ensuring the availability of drinking water in homes is their direct responsibility. She encouraged all women to join the campaign.

“Having access to clean drinking water is key to a healthy life. Additionally, availability of clean drinking water has the power to encourage gender equality, stable education for children in a home and income generation for mothers who will have ample time since sickness in a home is eliminated.” She added.

It is worth noting that millions of people across the world are deprived of this essential need. The issue is particularly problematic in Southern Africa. According to UNICEF, in Uganda it is estimated that 60% of the population has no access to potable water, leading to the death of 33 children every day.

The Ministry of Water and Environment in July this year presented Coca-Cola Beverages Africa with an award for Water Usage Efficiencies at the Mbarara Plant, after a sector audit covering 24 companies in Uganda.

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Local farmers exposed to modern farming practices

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By Our Reporter

On Tuesday, Agilis Partners, an agricultural development company, hosted smallholder farmers to a farmers day event where they exposed the farmers to modern farming practices in a bid to help them improve the quality and quantity of their yield. The event which was held at one of the company’s farming units in Kigumba, Kiryandongo district was attended by hundreds of farmers from sorrounding areas.

The farmers were introduced to the advanced farming techniques used on the Agilis farm throughout the lifecycle of the crops from proper land preparation to good post-harvest handling and storage practices.

Sitting on over 15,000 hectares of land, the Agilis farm is divided into four different units with the main crops grown being maize, sunflower and soyabean. The farming is highly mechanised with two production systems which are harrowing(use of tractors to prepare the land) and conservation farming(a system in which the soil surface is not broken).

According to Jadribo Martin, the agronomist in charge of smallholder farmers at Agilis, they have repackaged their farming protocol into an easy to understand document which has then been shared with the farmers.

“The document is divided into three stages – growth stage, business planning and investment stage. This way farmers are able to go and replicate our mode of operation at their own farms,” he noted.

With a vision to make Uganda the continent’s food basket, Benjamin Prinz, the Agilis co-managing partner postulates that there is infinite potential in the sector which can be realised if all stakeholders work together from investors, to smallholder farmers as well as other industry players.

“We have the capital and technical know-how to maximise our yield as well as access to markets. It is therefore our responsibility to share this knowledge, resources and markets with the community.” He explained. “We do not only invest in land and farming activities but also partner with farmers to help them co-market their grain with us. This way the whole community benefits and promotes their well-being.”

Founded in 2013, Agilis Partners operates two different companies; the Joseph Initiative Limited which is one of the leading exporters of grains from Uganda to the East African region and Asili Farms which is one of the largest farming companies in Uganda. The company’s main customers are food manufacturers, aid organizations and protein producers with in the region.

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