When Charity Kulola was sixteen, her father married her off to a man who already had two wives, in exchange for money for land. During their marriage, Charity bore seven daughters. Furious that she never bore a son, her husband expelled her and their daughters from his home. When Charity’s brother took her in, his wife told her about Yehu Microfinance Trust, Grameen Foundation’s partner in Kenya.
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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 and earning only small and inconsistent amounts from other labor.
In many African communities, clean water is a scarce and valuable resource. On the southern coast of Kenya, villagers in the small, rural community of Mwambalazi rely on water collected from wells or murky ponds for all of their household needs.
In rural Kenya, clients of Juhudi Kilimo — a microfinance organization that focuses on farmers — support each other both financially and emotionally. With guidance from a Juhudi Kilimo loan officer, farmers form groups to receive loans, manage repayments, share business ideas and challenges, and get technical training and product demonstrations. Once business is over, they share tea and bread before heading back to work. If one farmer is trying something new, he or she can definitely expect visitors from the group before the next meeting.
Can technology really make a difference in the lives of the poor? Solimo, a pig farmer from rural Uganda, certainly believes so. When Solimo’s pig gave birth to 15 piglets, all but two piglets died just days after their birth. A major part of the family’s livelihood also slipped away, putting Solimo’s family at risk.
Gonzaga Kawuma was away from his farm when his cow collapsed and could not stand up again. Gonzaga’s wife gave him the disheartening news on the smartphone he has received as part of his participating in Grameen Foundation’s Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) program in Uganda. Gonzaga relied on his smartphone to diagnose his cow’s illness. Its fall could have been caused by a number of ailments – muscle fatigue, arthritis, foot rot – but Gonzaga figured out that the problems was a shortage of calcium.
A simple mobile phone is helping Simon Obwoya bring new opportunities to a community that has faced the brunt of Uganda’s brutal civil war. Obwoya lives in Lalogi subcounty in northern Uganda, a region that is home to thousands of people who have been displaced by a decades-long insurgency. People have recently started returning to their land and learning how to farm and take care of their families again.
Grameen Foundation's Growth Guarantees program was launched in 2005 to increase microfinance clients’ access to loans by guaranteeing local funding for the microfinance institutions (MFIs) that serve them.
Grameen Foundation launched its mobile technology work in Uganda in 2002 with Village Phone and it remains a hub for many of our mobile-based initiatives. Our Community Knowledge Worker initiative combines mobile technology and human networks to give smallholder farmers access to accurate, timely information that helps them protect their crops and animals, improve their yields and get better market prices.
In Kenya, we are using mobile technology to improve access to financial services and information on agriculture. Through our e-warehouse initiative, we are also developing a mobile-based system to provide information to help smallholder maize farmers properly store their crops post-harvest, and connect them to financial services and markets for final sale.