I looked at the good side of the lockdown, now I’m reaping from it

My name is Joseline Orishaba, and I come from Keitampene village, Kajara county in Ntumgamo district. I’m pursuing a bachelor of science degree in Information and communication Technology at Gulu University. Being a student supported by the MasterCard Foundation under RUFORUM, I chose to look at the good side of the lockdown, and it has turned out to be a great opportunity for me to exploit my farming abilities. Through the RUFORUM programme, we have benefited not just from financial support, but also entrepreneurship trainings. These trainings have taught me how to save and invest in projects that will improve my livelihood and those of my community.

So, during the lockdown, I decided to spend more time trying to improve all the skills I had learnt. I started a poultry enterprise, raising breeding local chicken and then selling the eggs to earn income that I used to support my siblings and grandmother.With the favorable climate that we experience in western Uganda, I also planted beans from which I hope to reap at least 70 kilogrammes for home consumption. Although I had previously started raring goats, some were stolen and so I have had to start afresh. I have bought six more goats and I plan to expand this project. 

Joseline Orishaba

Besides farming, I have also been able to attend new entrepreneurial trainings as well as an online course on girl-child centred design, from Philanthropy University, where I was awarded a certificate. The course focused on how to recruit girls and look into their challenges so that solutions that would enable them prosper socially and economically are designed. I believe that investing in the girl child has positive returns for the community.

Joseline Orishaba digging

I studied this course because I have a passion of reaching out to girls especially teenagers in my community. I should have implemented this skill but since people are social distancing as one of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I haven’t been able to mobilize the girls. My wish is to do more online courses and attend webinars training sessions but the remoteness of my home and lack of access to reliable electricity and internet connectivity cannot let me do so.

Taking goats to graze

Because many people lost jobs and had no means of feeding their families, I saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community. I provided a few vulnerable families with maize flour, beans and soap. All this has been possible with the generous support from the MasterCard Foundation/RUFORUM.

By Joseline Orishaba

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