Welcome to Episode 5 of Good Will Hunters! This week, I chat with Caitlin Barrett, the CEO of Love Mercy Foundation, a tremendous organisation doing groundbreaking work in Uganda. We talk about the challenges of operating an NGO in Northern Uganda, building sustainable livelihoods, providing high quality healthcare at a low cost, accessing markets and much more.
War ravaged Uganda has it’s fair share of development challenges. This is most evident in the North of the country, where road infrastructure remains poor and communities are disconnected from markets, and experience a lack of formal employment opportunities and a lack of healthcare. Flashback to 2010 - Caitlin and a passionate group of friends entered Uganda with the mission of creating a sustainable program that could improve the lives of those experiencing famine and chronic poverty. Fast forward eight years, and Love Mercy continues to impact the lives of thousands of women and their families through incredible initiatives like the Cents for Seeds Program and the Kristina Health Clinic.
It can be so difficult for organisations like Love Mercy to know whether their programs are having the effect they’re deigned to. With some help from the wonderful team at Huber Social, Love Mercy discovered that their Cents for Seeds Program was impacting the lives of the women involved in some phenomenal ways. Obtaining the data wasn’t without its challenges - many of the women involved in the program are illiterate, and finding ways to enable them to engage meaningfully was a hurdle the team had to overcome - and overcome it they did! The longer the woman had been involved with the program, the greater their key development indicators were. So the project continues, and Love Mercy continues to partner with communities and transform their development prospects. How can you sustain a rural health clinic where the clientele pays only a minimal fee? Why is it so important that NGOs commit to long term partnership with communities, but also avoid becoming “part of the furniture”? And where does Love Mercy hope to be by 2020? Find out all this and more in this weeks episode.
2:05 - The origins of Love Mercy Foundation
6:10 - Why operate an NGO in Uganda?
8:35 - Uganda and the African continent
9:30 - Unexpected encounters with communities
12:10 - Success in the Cents for Seeds Program
17:35 - Overcoming the challenge of illiteracy
22:10 - Improving wellbeing through access to water
25:10 - Why NGOs need to commit to staying
28:20 - Sustainable livelihoods through Cents for Seeds
33:11 - The importance of financial literacy
35:12 - Access to markets to buy and sell
37:40 - The effect of civil war on infrastructure development
39:50 - How to sustain a rural health clinic
45:10 - What’s next for Love Mercy?
Royalty free music by Bensound