Empowering communities toward self-reliance.
What We Do
ROWAN works closely with Ugandan widows, caregivers & community members – most of whom lost their spouse to AIDS. The women are almost always supporting children & have no way to generate income. ROWAN ensures that all stakeholders in economic development projects have an equal voice in determining business ideas, financial goals & strategies for launching new business enterprises.
The Process Toward Self-Reliance
1. ROWAN mobilizes the villages to gather for focus groups for determining which projects they desire to invest in. ROWAN researches the market value of each crop & the community decides what they want to start.
2. ROWAN begins by creating a demonstration garden, whereby the community can learn how to become experts in growing the crop. Widows & people living with HIV/ AIDS soon operate their own businesses & band together in commercial enterprises to generate sustainable incomes.
3. As individuals & groups begin to grow the cash crop, ROWAN invites them to join our Savings & Loans Groups, whereby they learn to save weekly while lending out small business loans to one another!
4. The last step toward self-reliance & executing our ROWAN program is completing a one year interactive business training by our partner, Dynamic Business Start-Up Project.
ROWAN’s Successful Start-Ups
– Growing & selling pineapples, since 2008.
– Making Paper Bead Jewelry, since 2006.
– Renting oxen to farmers who use them in agricultural work, since 2006.
Since gaining independence in 1962, Uganda has endured upheaval & unrest. Some 300,000 Ugandans died at the hands of dictator Idi Amin & the country faced more than twenty years of war until the National Resistance Movement gained power in January 1986. Since becoming president that year, Yoweri Museveni is credited with improving the country’s human rights record. However, Uganda has not been able to establish & sustain a growing economy.
Uganda slowly began to revitalize its economy. The nation has managed a slow growth rate, but with ongoing armed conflict, the government has been unable to focus primary attention on economic development. One result is the low level of business investment from overseas sources.
Agricultural production employs more than 80% of the work force & accounts for approximately 22% of Uganda’s economy. Coffee beans make up the bulk of the country’s exports. However, relying heavily on a single cash crop makes the Ugandan economy especially vulnerable to shifts in weather patterns.
Uganda Faces Major Challenges
Here are some of the largest challenges facing Uganda:
– Increasing the rate of economic growth & reducing the national debt.
– Creating more jobs in service industries, which employs only 13% of the labor force but generates 52.8% of the economic output.
– Increasing individual wealth, especially in rural areas & among families stricken by HIV/ AIDS.