Yunus Signs MoU with Government of Uganda to bring Social Business Solutions to Uganda’s Social and Economic Problems
DHAKA, March 11 (NsNewsWire) — Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus just completed his three day tour of the East African country of Uganda. He gave a public lecture in the Clarke International University in Kampala, addressing Young President Organization (YPO), a global organization of young entrepreneurs.
He spoke about his new book ‘A World of Three Zeros’ at various meetings, addressed press conference and visited some outstanding social businesses that are impacting the lives of ordinary Ugandans through employment creation and income generation.
The MoU between YSB Uganda and the government
In the presence of civil society leaders, government officials, ambassadors of USA and Germany, Mr Bernard Mujuni , Member of the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development of the government of Uganda signed an MOU for collaboration between the ministry and YSB. The MoU defines a framework for institutional collaboration between YSB and the government over joint projects that aim to improve business skills and opportunities for youth, women and other vulnerable groups in Uganda
Professor Yunus arrived in Uganda on 5 March before embarking on a series of meetings that included a visit to four outstanding social businesses, made three public lectures, had interviews with seven media outlets and addressed at the President H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s Advisory Council meeting on business and agriculture.
Visit to four Outstanding Social Businesses
During his three day stay in Uganda, Professor Yunus visited four outstanding social businesses that are impacting the lives of ordinary Ugandans. One of them is Impact Water. The business sells, installs and maintains environmentally-friendly water filtration systems in public and private schools at low cost, multi-year credit terms. In providing water filtration systems, the business is helping reduce various schools’ dependency on forests for wood-fuel. Most of Impact Water’s beneficiary schools used boiled water for their pupils to drink in turn causing enormous deforestation. Through increasing access to clean drinking water, Impact Water is offsetting CO2 emissions, while reducing medical costs for families that are now better placed to reduce chances of their loved ones catching various waterborne diseases.
The other social businesses that Professor Yunus visited include, Tugende which is addressing the challenge of low income by providing asset financing for motorcycles-for-hire (locally known as boda bodas) for low income earners. Professor Yunus also visited Godson Commodities, a social business that processes and markets organic chia seeds to local and international clients. The business works with over 9,000 small holder farmers who are its chia seed suppliers. The business buys the chia from the farmers at a premium, hence increasing their household incomes. Finally, Professor Yunus visited Golden Bees, a social business that provides apiary equipment and training to rural farmers across the country. With the skills and equipment, the farmers then supply the honey and bee wax to the social business which buys it at a premium, hence increasing the revenues of the small holder farmers.
Social Business Supported by Yunus Social Business (YSB) Uganda
Since it started in 2014, YSB Uganda has invested over $1.5 million in 10 social businesses that are addressing some of the pressing social and environmental problems in Uganda. Some of challenges include increasing access to renewable energy and safe drinking water, recycling, agribusiness among others. YSB Uganda identifies social businesses of merit and helps them grow and scale up their social impact, by providing patient finance and business support. Once they pay back the initial investment, the funds are redeployed to help other companies.
Public lecture at Clarke International University.
Professor Yunus was invited to give a public lecture at the unveiling of the new brand identity for International Health Sciences University (IHSU) which was being rebranded as Clarke International University. The founder of IHSC Dr. Ian Clarke told guests that the rebranding was necessary because the university had expanded and would offer other development courses beyond health to include a School of Business and Applied Technology. The Chancellor to the University Bishop Zac Nirigiye acknowledged Professor Yunus’ thoughtful leadership demonstrated in his book and noted that his principles on entrepreneurship and social business shall form key building blocks for the School of Business and Applied Technology that the University aims to build.
On 8th March, Professor Yunus left Uganda on way to Kenya where he will launch Yunus Social Business (YSB) Kenya. The goal of YSB Kenya is to support and invest in 30 social businesses by 2020 thereby creating over 30,000 jobs and impacting over two million people.