For every challenge society encounters, there is always an opportunity that presents itself. But we waste a lot of time crying over the challenge and we miss the opportunity.
This statement means a lot to Otim George William, CEO and Co-Founder of Tii Kikomi Cassava Commercial Growers (TCCG), a social enterprise that attracts charcoal burners to cassava production and trains farmers in entrepreneurship, gender equality, making of organic manures and provides food security, employment to the youths and women.
Whether meeting sustenance needs means clearing forests, the objective for many Ugandans is the same: survival. This is regardless of whether these practices make things even more difficult for Ugandans in future generations. Marginalized people who rely disproportionately on the environment for their basic needs are confronted with environmental problems including soil erosion and declining land productivity among others. As a result, deforestation and encroachment on ecologically sensitive areas have increased as poor people attempt to secure alternative income sources in the face of growing food insecurity. This situation presented a business opportunity for TCCG, a 2016 SWITCH Africa Green (SAG) - SEED Winner.
Discovering new perspectives
We have been privileged to work with TCCG, and other SAG-SEED Winners, providing business development support in form of training and advisory services. Touching the lives of many people in a bid to transform their lives through eco-responsive livelihoods has been our greatest inspiration as facilitators of change; a change that starts with the attitudinal, skills and knowledge transformation of an individual and trickles down to families, homesteads, groups and later society as a whole, finally creating benefits for the environment.
In a 3-day training coupled with the additional business advisory support, we assisted TCCG to develop a more focused, eco-inclusive or green business plan. At the centre of the business, support is the Catalyser Toolkit developed by SEED. By the way, how the SEED tools engage every single participant, we were able to even overcome language barriers and to create a team spirit among participants of different generations and different organisations, as TCCG also invited their key partners.
During the intensive sessions, TCCG worked on their value proposition, analyzed their competition, customers, community engagements and relations, triple bottom line, risks and made financial plans. The team also set challenging goals like expanding farmers outreach from 300 to 5000 farmers and increase production from 1,000 kgs to 1,000,000 kgs per year in the next three years. They intend to attract more people especially those currently engaged in tree cutting and charcoal making into cassava cultivation with value addition and use of sustainable agricultural practices.
Things came out very clear during the impact measurement and triple bottom line planning
-- George Otim
The roadmap of the company in the next three years has been refined and streamlined into a model that is eco-inclusive. With more confidence gained, TCCG participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition organized by Enterprise Uganda, a SAG-SEED partner. TCCG has embarked on a more focused and aggressive follow-up on the market leads, including supplying 100 bags of cassava flour every 4 months in Kampala and expanding their market to Kenya. With these outputs, the fatigue and memories of the going through the long journey of 452 km to Kitgum - Northern Uganda by road with some unbearable stretches, were quickly erased.
Touching some one’s mind through sharing knowledge and learning to enable them to take action, are the cornerstones of any transformation. When you know better you do better and TCCG has got every reason to move towards inspiring cassava growers to become agents of improved and sustainable socio-economic development in their communities. Working with TCCG and other eco-inclusive enterprises has made us strongly believe that people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.