Creating networks for agriculture businesses
Helping Ugandan women create revenue with handcrafts
Nsubuga Kigongo was raised by his grandmother, and growing up he was taught to work as hard as possible in order to provide for his family. He held a variety of jobs as a young man, including selling milk and vegetables to people in his community, selling pancakes while he attended school, and nannying for his neighbours to earn money to support his family and to pay for his school fees.
While Nsubuga worked, his grandmother created beautiful mats and baskets to sell in the markets, and it was through her efforts and craftsmanship that Nsubuga realized he could make a difference for others in Uganda – particularly for hard-working women like his grandmother.
“I look back at the community where I grew up: women make the most beautiful handmade goods. These women, though, were also often economically disempowered and unemployed. I knew I had to do something to help, and that I had to help create an opportunity for them and for me.”
Upon graduating, Nsubuga sought ways to get his idea off the ground. He participated in DOT’s business training program and developed his skills, completed entrepreneurial training, and learned how to create a sustainable business model.
Together with other #DOTYouth he met through training, founded a social enterprise: Assorted Trends Africa.
Assorted Trends Africa empowers rural women and youth to create handmade, one-of-a-kind products and sell them in markets. The craftswomen are provided with skills training to make their crafts, taught how to more effectively sell their items at the markets, and are given the opportunity to create employment opportunities for themselves and others.
“We are able to drive gender balance in our community by engaging women, particularly young mothers, and assisting them in making their unique products that they are then able to take and sell at the markets and become empowered economically.”
Participating women make incredible products ranging from baskets and bags to clothing and stationery. They also recently launched Super Teen, a sister program within Assorted Trends Africa that educates and supports youth in local high schools to make empowered decisions regarding their health and careers.
In 2018, Nsubuga successfully participated in the DOT Impactathon facilitated by the Youth Equality Centre (founded by fellow #DOTYouth Ali Kaviri) to further develop Assorted Trends Africa by partaking in Human Centre of Design learning courses, developing a sustainable business model, and conducting community research.
Moving forward, Nsubuga’s goal for Assorted Trends Africa is to establish a vocational and technical institute where young women can acquire skills that can help them thrive and be economically independent. He hopes to one day export the handmade goods to other continents and plans to develop training programs that include ways to succeed in competitive global markets.
At DOT we’re excited to bring you inspiring stories that highlight the impact of daring young social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship and social innovation is an ongoing journey, so we invite you to follow along with Nsubuga by following him and Assorted Trends Africa via their Facebook page.
This #DOTYouth Spotlight was developed as a part of DOT’s 2019 International Women’s Day campaign, during which youth from around the world shared their stories of community impact that are promoting gender balance.
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