At 19, Ugandan Femtrepreneur and High School drop-out started a business that changed the lives of the women in her community and earned her public acclaim. She started a Microfinance organisation on an accessible scale that has brought tangible change to her district and she was only 19!!! This always gives me pause…what was I doing at 19?
I think there is no greater drive to achieve than when adversity shoves you in the right direction. Born in 1991, in the Nebbi District of Northern Uganda, Best Ayiorwoth and her siblings suffered through a double tragedy when they lost first their Father, and thereon their Mother who had taken on the role of breadwinner.
With nought to finance her education and to her chagrin, Best was bested out of the education she so desperately wanted, but she didn’t wallow too long in self-pity. She sought out and joined a vocational training organisation where she was equipped with the requisite skills to make a living via catering and entrepreneurship training.
Finally earning a salary at her job in a restaurant, Best exhibited an incredible level of responsibility and purpose. She didn’t splurge her hard-earned salary on new dresses and the trending wedges. She gave it out! Yes, she went right back to her ailing community in the Nebbi District in 2011 and founded the Girls Power Micro-Lending Organisation (GIPOMO).
With her savings of about USh 100,000 (just US$40), she gradually gave monthly micro loans with a fixed 10% interest rate to empower women to grow their small businesses and reinvested her profits in her organisation. Success requires discipline.
The wry statement ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ did not take root here. In Best’s case, her good deeds did not go unrewarded. Slowly but surely, investors came knocking, ready to lend her hand to the vivacious pre-adult who was rocking the boat in all the right ways.
According to howwemadeitinafrica.com, Best’s largesse has a caveat.
“My organisation has a unique twist in microfinance by providing tied loans to women who make a commitment to grow businesses while keeping their girl children in school.”
In 2013, Best won the Anzisha prize for her thriving GIPOMO; the prize has a whopping $25, 000 attached to it but no fears here; we know she will put it to good use!
“For me, this is a new movement that redefines microfinance; to provide for specific needs in specific communities. Microfinance can never be relevant if it has one model. In one community, it should provide affordable finance for girl education and in another, it should provide affordable finance for land ownership – whatever the challenge a community faces.” [Howwemadeitinafrica.com]
We no longer have an excuse not to pursue our dreams and be the change we want to see; Best is doing it without a college degree! Through ecommerce, online marketing where you can post free ads, social media, Google and its multiple accessories, the world is ripe for the taking.We have opportunities that hitherto did not exist…how are we making optimal use of them? Pause and Ponder.
As Roche Mamabolo stated;
“If you can read this blog, it means you can access the internet on your laptop or on your phone. You have everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself. To have all these advantages, all this momentum, all these opportunities and then settle for mediocre and then defend the status quo and then worry about corporate politics, what a waste.”