The idea behind the Africa Development Promise is to provide citizens of certain impoverished communities in Rwanda and Uganda with basic access to energy, water, and food, the things they would not obtain otherwise because of insecurities in their part of the world.
With almost two decades of experience in the water, sanitation, and global financial business, that is what Monica Labiche Brown is doing after she founded Africa Development Promise, a non-profit organization with offices in Denver and Uganda.
Labiche Brown says she has seen firsthand the struggle of the Ugandan people and it is one of the reasons she is passionate about building the pathways to economic independence for Africa.
On June 25 at the school of Hotel Management at the University of Denver, the organization brought in a special guest, Uganda’s ambassador to the United States, to join in a discussion it described as Journey to Sustainable development, the nexus of water, energy, agriculture and food security.
Other special guests, from the government and business, included Julie Labonte, the senior vice president of MWH Global with headquarters in Denver, Luka Powanga, a Professor in the school of management at Regis University, and Jamie Van Leeuwen, a senior advisor for Colorado governor, Governor Hickenlooper.
[With the event some eye-opening facts were revealed; over 750 million people in the world do not have access to clean water, 1.4 billion do not have any form of energy and lastly, over 800 million go hungry a day.] who said this?
Uganda is mostly known for its agriculture. They are the producers of coffee, tea, cotton, and tobacco, and smallholder farmers make up 60 percent of Uganda’s agriculture. These positions are held by 70 percent of the women. Through the presentation of each panelist the understating of how energy, water, and food are all intertwined; you can’t have one without the other.
The target for this foundation is how to help these women, who are the ones doing most of the chores, who stand in line for more than 3 hours to fetch water for the household. The question now turned to whether we are able to provide water for these women.
As the Ugandan ambassador said, we should give Ugandan women the tools to be able to extract oil from the palm nut; and see what they will do with those hours when they can do their job quicker, easier and faster.
A great statement made by Leeuwen was, “how do we take this conversation out of the room” that’s the main question today.
How do we take these panel talks and instead of throwing money at the issue, go down to the cities and help these people?
The help of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is one of the policies that help in bridging this gap in the trade of mushrooms, coffee, and tea. We look forward to seeing what comes out of the exporting of mushrooms in Uganda as a way of generating income for the women who produce them. With the promise of Ambassador Wonekha and the determination of Africa Development Promise, we can see this becoming a great way of generating funds for these women in Uganda.