A while back, I wrote about my project’s turning point. I wrote about how FSD had decided that because my project is young, they didn’t want to put any more money in it until it proved itself to be sustainable. There were certain FSD stipulations attached that made my project “unsustainable.” For instance, I had to find a way to guarantee that the loans would be repaid. I had to complete 75% of the project by the time I left Uganda. Also, I wasn’t allowed to use it for anything that “exploits the earth.”
My project didn’t guarantee that loans are repaid. If something terrible happened to the loan recipient, OGLM wasn’t going to be there kicking down the door for repayment.
My project would have gone on much longer than I was here in Uganda. It was long-lasting. Granted, I wouldn’t have been here to oversee it, but isn’t long-lasting the goal?
And admittedly, my project exploited the earth. It was going to supply small subsistence farmers and animal breeders with the capital necessary to grow from subsistence to business.
In summary, a project that was going to fund local solutions to local problems, repay itself, benefit others on down the road, and last for a long time was ruled unsustainable. To paraphrase the oft-used phrase from Zoolander, I felt like I was taking crazy pills.
Even though I had flown all the way to Uganda, I was stuck inside writing Excel spreadsheets. I was doing something important, sure, but it didn’t take long before I was finished and just waiting for the end of my internship. What is worse, of the 187 grandmothers who are registered for our loan program, only 24 of them had anything to show for it.
Then, along came the Uncultured Project. Along came the power of YouTube and the internet, connecting people who care about poverty. Who want to change the conversation about poverty by seeking real-world solutions.
Thanks to the Uncultured Project and its donors and its awesome community, I won’t have to confront those three groups of grandmothers and deny them their loans. Instead, I will be able to give them seeds and tools and animals and training.
It will be tough, since I only have 10 days left before my internship is over. But now, my project can go past my ending date. I can do “tough.”
What I can’t do is “impossible.”
And thanks to the Uncultured Community, I don’t have to worry about “impossible” any more.