Today’s Solutions: July 01, 2022

Although aid agencies have come to Sub-Saharan Africa with good intentions to help refugees, very few have made their desired impact. But one agency by the name of African Women Rising (AWR) is having startling success. The organization educates women and girls in Northern Uganda, schooling them in literacy, micro-finance and agriculture. The most crucial aspect of the nonprofit is the lessons they give in permaculture, which can make the difference between people merely surviving a refugee camp and eventually thriving in a new home. While the approach of teaching refugees how to farm before has failed, AWR is succeeding because they provide a deeper agricultural education. AWR builds understanding around the basic principles of water and soil biology, and use a design framework to help the farmer understand the best way to capture rainwater and enrich soil. This is especially important in Sub Saharan Africa where soil can be poor and rain can be sparse. In addition to agricultural projects, AWR is the major player in adult literacy in Northern Uganda. AWR runs 34 literacy centers serving more than 2,000 adults in Northern Uganda. With literacy comes power. Nearly 50 students and staff members at the centers, dismayed by a lack of trustworthy candidates, have run for public office. Two-thirds won. Now that’s what we call an aid agency that’s actually making a difference. For the full story on AWR, have a look at this fantastic piece by Teresa Bergen.

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