By: Krystle Crossman
Uganda is a country where young women earn as little as $3 per month. It is hard to find anything that is profitable. However one couple is out to change that with an organization that they founded called KadAfrica. Eric and Rebecca Kaduru set out to change the way that young girls who are no longer in school live their lives. The 1,650 women already taking part in the program have seen an increase in their pay from $3 per month to $15-20 per month. While this is still an unlivable wage in the U.S., it is good pay for a woman in Uganda. The success of the program is growing and they currently have a wait list with over 1,000 young women on it.
When a young woman signs up to be a part of KadAfrica they will receive a small piece of land. They will also get some passionfruit vines and instructions on how to grow and care for them. Passionfruits are high-profit produce in Uganda and are most imported from other countries. Eric Kaduru stated that he was driving to Kenya one day and saw all of the Ugandan land that was perfect for growing the passionfruit but was not being used. He also knew how so many women in the country needed help when they were not in school. This is where his idea was born. Once the women have their plot of land and vines they are set to begin their entrepreneurship. They will gain support and advice from the staff at KadAfrica and a marketplace to sell the fruit so they get the maximum earning potential. So far this method has proven to be very successful.
The company is gaining so much attention that they have won multiple awards and grants. Less than half of their income is from donors and the rest is from the money that comes back from selling the fruit. They want to keep the company running with as little donor money as possible. The women who are making money from this venture are doing different things with their profit. Some of them are putting it back into their business to help grow it and become even more successful. Some are starting other ventures on the side such as nursery schools for children in the area. KadAfrica helps to get the community and their families involved as well.
Kaduru states that many young women are kept at home by their husbands or fathers. They are questioned about what they do during their day when they are not home. KadAfrica sets up BBQs and other community events where they show the families of the women and others in the community just what the program is all about. They want to get them involved in the process so that the women have support in their ventures outside of the company. Since things have grown exponentially since it’s inception, Kaduru is now looking for other ways to expand the company. In the near future they will be selling the juice from the passionfruits to juice companies in the country so that they can have locally grown juice instead of imported juice. This will provide more profit and more opportunity for the women in the program and will also keep the money exchanged in the Ugandan economy.