Rose Opio is a typical farmer in Uganda. She works a small plot and rears pigs to support her family, in the village of Oyam in the country’s northern region. Most farmers in the area have been subsistence farmers for generations, living off of what they grow. Any extra income they earned from other work was small and inconsistent. But now, with the help of Willy Okello – a Grameen Foundation Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) – Rose and her fellow farmers are reaping new benefits from their land and livestock.
Using the CKW database, Willy – who is also a poor farmer in the community – has helped his neighbors learn how to grow better crops, rear healthier animals and increase their overall yield. He’s also educating them on how to store their grain, combine their produce with their neighbor’s so they can earn a better price, and negotiate with traders.
These improvements are making a real difference in the community. For Rose, it means she has more money to help her adopted son Daniel. The son of friends who were killed by rebel fighters more than 15 years ago, Daniel came to Rose after running away from an orphanage at 13. Now 22, he is starting to build his own future with Rose’s help. After Rose first took him in, she started paying him a stipend for helping on her farm. He diligently saved up his money and now runs a solar charging business. His fellow villagers, using the extra income they are now earning from their produce, charge their phones each day at Daniel’s shop, giving him a small but steady income.
Daniel, who is deaf and mute, is continuing to map out his future beyond his charging business. “Rose is my best role model. Someday, I want to own my own farm too,” he said via text message. Daniel, Rose and their fellow villagers are showing how one change can ripple throughout an entire community.