An Entrepreneur for Adding Value and Self Reliance
Caroline Owashaba (30) has begun many initiatives in her community, such as creating the International Day of the Girl Child recognition awards, and founding Action for Youth Development Uganda, a youth led organization that promotes gender equality, social justice, sexual reproductive health and rights of the rural people.
She started the Self Reliance Project and Children for Alternative Change (CHACHA), which engages children and mothers in social economic activities that enables them to increase their household income. One activity that is a part of the latter initiative uses discarded banana stems and fiber, to create products including lampshades, doormats, tablemats, key holders, table coasters, and earrings. While there are challenges in this sector due to the high cost of banana extractor and weaver machines, Caroline’s creative innovation has been beneficial in showing rural women how to add value to available resources around them. Another challenge was that because the technology is new for rural communities, awareness has to be created about the benefits of using banana-extracted residues. Due to Caroline the community has become highly informed about such banana products. The profits from selling these items were given to mothers to create bank accounts where the saved money would go to their children to attend school. By taking their children to school, Caroline has encouraged women to become more independent and feel more empowered. By looking at alternative and creative ways to make money, she has inspired and encouraged thousands of women to make a difference in their lives, and believes that such innovation can only take place if one overcomes the fear of beginning something new as she did. She was part of ACTION/2015, which build the momentum of adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is the current team leader for community-based organizations that are working towards popularizing SDGs in rural communities on behalf of the Network for African Youth for Development (NAYD) in Uganda.