I own a new business. That is exciting for me. I am on my way to achieving my dream, because I have taken that first step. And the first five weeks have been successful.
Which is great.
But it is not all. I am not satisfied at achieving success only for me. And I don't think any business owner should. There is a synergy effect in good business practice in which all involved parties benefit and are able to help each other on. This applies to me in the sense that the other translators I work with, the other agencies and related parties, all mutually benefit from our collaboration. It also applies in a wider sense as I network with other small business owners in my local area. We share ideas, encourage and inspire each other.
But I don't want the ripple effect to end there either.
I want to use my new position, my new platform, to lift up other causes that I care about. And there is one in particular that I would like to tell you about today.
The Acholi region in northern Uganda was for years devastated by war, and has only recently become stable enough to experience some much-needed improvement. But unfortunately, financial resources are rather scarce, and help is appreciated. It is necessary to find avenues that can lead people out of poverty and give them a promise of a better future. So training young people in agriculture is quite a brilliant idea to this end, don't you think? I think it is. And I am both proud and very excited that my very own brother-in-law has started an organisation called Acholi Youth Agricultural Development Limited, or AYAD Ltd. for short. My sister and brother-in-law, Anita and Moses Onen, own some land in northern Uganda which they are using for this purpose.
AYAD is just in its starting phase, and at the moment they have plowed the ground, but need around GBP 2,000 in order to plant crops. This is while they wait for their main grants to come through from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the World Bank. When that happens, they will be ready to recruit teachers and other personnel for the centre. They already have their collaborating partners in place, including the Faculty of Agriculture at Gulu University, food processing industries, auditing companies, district administration etc.
I get really excited when I think about all the types of crops they could grow and all the things they could do with them.
Now, how much is 2 grand, really? It's equivalent to about 20,000 Norwegian krone, or about 2600 U.S. dollars, just to name off a couple of relevant currencies to my audience. For one person to cough this up might be a bit much, but if we team up? I would love to see how fast we could raise this amount of money if a bunch of people got excited about this all at once.
Just think: we could help kick-start a project that will bring young people out of poverty. I mean, why wouldn't we?
As a business owner, I have now committed to supporting AYAD Ltd. monthly. I suppose you could call it my social responsibility scheme. Which is something I think all businesses should have.
This excites me for many reasons. Firstly, it is a chance to make a real difference in somebody's life for the better. Secondly, the project is run by people I know very well and trust. Thirdly, like I said, the idea of a farming and education project carries with it all sorts of potential that gets me dreaming of what could be done in the future. This is a region that grows coffee, ground nuts, maize and other crops. And I'm sure these young people will also be full of ideas for how to develop their trade – the sky is the limit, if you think about it. Basically, with a project in its baby phase like this one, anything is possible and I look forward to following it in the years to come.
If it excites you at all, or you think you would like to support it financially, get in touch with me. I will give you all the details you need, and I know the help will be very much appreciated at the other end as well.
Anita and Moses Onen
Young people in the Acholi region of Uganda, here wearing football jerseys donated from Norway. (They won their match!)