If small acts of kindness make the world go around then this is one of those stories that might make you spin with inspiration. The Uganda Community Farm feeds children while providing a global model for sustainable local agriculture. The United Nations has set a goal to alleviate poverty world wide by 2030, but it is the creative innovators fueled with passion who are leading the way. HealRWorld is an organization that sees the immense potential in linking small enterprises and entrepreneurs to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This article highlights one of the many ways that citizen-led initiatives like HealRWorld and Uganda Community Farm are collaborating to make a better world for people in need.
Uganda Community Farm (UCF) is a nonprofit social enterprise situated on a 12-acre piece of land, in a remote part of Kamuli — eastern Uganda. It was started by a collection of farmers who have experienced poverty and are determined to fix this problem for their region while teaching others how to do the same through sustainable agriculture. UCF has brought together a cooperative of small farmers, and connected them with larger distribution outlets that links the rural poor to markets they couldn’t access before. Meanwhile the income from this venture is funneled back into the community to provide poor farmers with seed, organic fertilizers, and training . This gives everyone a hand-up from chronic poverty.
Making a Connection from Across the Globe: Anthony Kalulu, Founder of UCF, first put out a call for collaboration and partnership through a website proposal. His understanding of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) enabled him to show how their project addressed key aspects of this global initiative. Starting with SDG #17, Partnerships for the Goals, he builds a case that is compelling for the expansion of their business with a produce processing plant.
Setting up this plant will address SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), while the collaborative process that we are seeking establish this processing plant fulfills SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). As food loss in a poor region like ours means both missed income and food insecurity, this plant will also contribute toward SDG 2 (Zero Hunger). Through job creation, the plant will directly contribute towards SDG 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth). And lastly, by creating markets for more than one type of crop, this plant will enable poor farmers to bring in supplemental incomes from various crops. -Read the Full Proposal Here
His passion for the Uganda Community Farm stems from the fact that agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for the majority of people in his country. His hope is that people in poor communities elsewhere will find this model inspiring. He wants to inspire others to learn from the ways they are addressing challenges like the absence of reliable agricultural markets and other issues that keep rural, poor smallholder farmers in poverty.
Anthony then discovered Michele Bongiovanni and HealRWorld in New Jersey via a simple Google search while looking for organizations that are active in supporting the UN Global Goals. His intention was to work with other values-led organizations to get his message out. He then reached out via email and an instant friendship was born.
HealRWorld is a social-impact company that seeks to address global sustainability efforts through empowering small businesses and local economies. By focussing locally while utilizing a global network of online communities, HealRWorld (HRW) highlights successful models while encouraging collaboration and idea exchanges to develop best practices. Michele Bongiovanni, CEO and Founder of HRW, has successfully documented that sustainably-committed, values-driven small businesses average out to be three times more creditworthy than their peers. By leveraging these statistics, HRW is able to drive greater access to capital and more reasonable financing rates to these important business ventures globally while further proving that sustainable business is good business.
Michele expressed that Anthony’s words have truly inspired her to continue the HealRWorld journey…a journey that has been fraught with many challenges of its own stating, “Anthony and the valued work of his organization are the very reason I started HealRWorld in the first place! His connection was a gentle reminder of the beauty that can result from kinship of like-minded people from around the world.” Anthony reciprocated this excitement and the synergy continues to grow.
We are really very thankful for this.
My biggest request is for you Michele, and HealRWorld, to remain friends of ours till the end, so we can share ideas wherever possible. We are in a place where it is extremely difficult to get a single friend with whom you can share ideas.
Thanks very much.
Activating Networks: The resources to make meaningful impact are often closer than we think, we just need to make the right connections. With tools like the internet, sometimes close connections can occur with like-minded individuals who live on the other side of the planet! Michele through her organization, HealRWorld is now actively assisting Anthony and UCF to make connections with the United Nations Capital Development Fund. She reached out to me and others in her vast network to help raise awareness about the cause to see what other kinds of support we can garner for this important mission.
Inspiration is Contagious: We all enjoy sharing photos of our adventures, our family, or engaging in a political debate on the internet through social media. What would it look like if each of utilized these tools to lift each other up, to engage the resources in our personal networks, and to work on shared goals of sustainability? It is a priceless feeling to know that we can contribute to making a better world when we work together. This model of cooperation is sure to be a new paradigm to lift us from the disparity that has left such a large gulf between the haves and the have-nots. We can solve poverty and the many challenges we face by engaging our communities even if we need to reach across the world through the internet to do so. If we are lucky, we will make lasting friendships in the process!