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Stella Balikenga Kasese

Introduction - Written by our field partners

Stella is 47 years old and lives in Kasese, rural Western Uganda, where she sells a local dish called Gonja. Gonja is associated with a particular tribe in Uganda, and is a local delicacy, often found on roadside stalls as well as homes and some restaurants. 

Gonja is made of sweet plantain, which are part of the banana family only bigger, bright green, and thicker skinned. They are starchier and lower in sugar, which means that when they are ripe, they will still be green in colour. Although bananas make great raw snacks, plantain aren't usually eaten raw due to their high starch content. The most common ways to cook gonja are fried, boiled or steamed. Its usually served with beans and spices after being cooked, (once ripe). 

Stella has applied for a Deki loan to help her purchase land and seeds so that she can grow a larger stock of plantain. 

Stellas husband is also a farmer and between them they have 6 children to support. On her husbands small wage, without the extra profits generated from Stella's business they would not be able to afford to educate their children. 

Their children are aged between 7-20 and are currently all still in education. Stella wants to use her extra profits to "educate my children" and "have a well established rich family free from poverty and illiteracy".

Field Partner: New Home for Community Rehabilitation

New Home for Community Rehabilitation

New Home was set up in 2014 to help the disadvantaged people of Kasese in Western Uganda. Their aim is to ‘support, promote and strengthen affordable and sustainable community based self-help initiatives tailored at improving human life’. New Home’s priority is to empower communities - of the elderly; women who have been widowed and who are living with HIV/AIDs; the disabled; young, single mothers and young people who have little or no education.

New Home is a registered charity and a SACCO which lobbies for human rights, conducts advocacy and aims to improve people’s lives through skills development, micro-finance and empowerment. They help people grow their small-scale business: many entrepreneurs run a stall, sell food, offer second-hand clothes; others are fishmongers, pig or poultry farmers or raise goats. Others process and trade cassava, coffee or maize. Many of the young men elect to offer transport on the back of a motorbike across the border (Boda-Boda driver) or train as bricklayers.

Also lending to this entrepreneur

Niraj Alex Kate ( Pie office) Lender wishes to remain private Business Doctors (Avon & Somerset) Keith Caroline Barney Mac Andrea Abigail

Key information:

  • Name: Stella Balikenga
  • Trade: Sells a local dish called Gonja
  • Total loan required: £260
  • Repaid so far: £147

Fundraising progress:

Only £113 left to repay

Location - Kasese , Western Uganda

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria.

It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate. Its abundant wildlife includes chimpanzees as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary.

The official languages are English and Swahili. Luganda is widely spoken across the country, and several other languages are also spoken including Runyoro, Runyankole, Rukiga, and Luo.

Kasese lies to the north of Lake George and near to the Rwenzori mountain range and Queen Elizabeth National Park, at an elevation of 3,000 feet. It is 214 miles west of Kampala and just 38 miles from the town of Mbondwe on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is situated between the shallow Lake George, fed by streams from the Rwenzori mountains, and the much larger Lake Edward to the south west. The lakes are linked by the 20 mile long Kazinga channel which is a feature of the Queen Elizabeth National Park and attracts one of the world’s largest populations of hippos and many species of animals and birds.

The town grew as a result of the copper mines at Kilembe; the copper/cobalt is now depleted and many of the population currently rely on agriculture for employment.

Some statistics:

  • Capital: Kampala
  • Official language: English and Swahili
  • Regional languages: Luganda, Runyoro, Runyankole, Rugika and Luo
  • Population: 37.58 million (2013): Uganda has the 5th highest fertility rate with 5.97 children born per woman
  • GDP: $21.49 billion (2016)
  • Exports: coffee, base metals, fish, maize, cement, tobacco, tea, sugar, cocoa beans & sim sim (sesame)
  • Percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day: 37.8% (2012)
  • Adult literacy rate: 66.8% - 76.8% male and 57.7% female literacy (2002)
  • Estimated adult (aged 15-49) HIV prevalence: 30% (1980s) fell to 6.4% in 2008 but has been increasing since 2008
  • Life expectancy: 53.4 years
  • Infant mortality: 61 per 1,000 births (2012)