Green Generation Girls Growing Greener

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Amimo Chan Pasca, Green Generation Girls' treasurer
Hector Gonzalez/USAID

“Like grass, we are growing greener and higher. We are young and full of energy. We are ready to make money and change our lives.” This is how 22-year-old Amimo Chan Pasca from Palabek Kal parish in the northern Uganda district of Lamwo describes her group. 

The group known as the Green Generation Girls was formed in August 2019, after the girls attended USAID-supported mentorship camps aimed at empowering adolescent girls and young women who dropped out of school to dare and dream of a better future. 

Many of them had given up and thought there wasn’t much left for their future. But after getting the motivation through the camps, the girls were determined to give themselves a second chance. Eleven of these girls, 14 to 24 years old, decided to form the Green Generation Girls group, providing catering services as an income generation activity. They were among the 500 others who graduated at a symbolic event held on January 24, 2020, at Diyi cuny primary school in Lamwo district. Diyi cuny in Luo means “to persevere.”

“When we attended the first and second camps we were introduced to many skills. We learnt basket weaving, hair dressing and tailoring,” Amimo says. “I teamed up with some girls and we decided to start a catering group, but we lacked capital at that time.” 

Like any other small business, Amimo says the beginning was not easy. “Each girl was asked to contribute 30,000 shillings towards the startup capital. Some girls opted out of the group because they thought it won’t take off. But in August last year our business started. Even today, we were hired to cook for this graduation event,” she explains.

Another Green Generation Girl, Aneno Agnes, explains why they chose catering as a business. “We observed that in the community there are many events. At the camps, we were advised to get something that will generate income. There is never enough food. Everybody is looking for food. And we know that during elections there will be more parties and more events,“ she adds.  Recently the group earned 180,000 shillings from cooking at a party of 200 people, their biggest gig so far.

In Uganda, nearly 3 million girls drop out of school every year and the reality that awaits them is early marriage, unpaid domestic work, and a life of poverty. In fact, for every 100 girls who begin primary school, only six complete secondary school. And often, a girl who could change her world for the better is locked out of that future by the circumstances of her birth or the customs of her culture or community. But through innovative programs like the USAID Integrated Community Agriculture and Nutrition activity’s mentorship camps, girls like Amimo can have a voice in their homes and communities; they can make the right choices and they can work hard and be financially independent. Studies show when girls get the opportunities and encouragement they deserve, poverty goes down, economies grow, families get stronger, and babies are born healthier.

The Green Generation Girls group secretary Mabita Goretti, 23, says being in a group makes everything possible. “It is hard to raise money alone. But when you are in a group every member contributes something and we manage,” Mabita says with a smile, adding that they have learned to save and plan before spending any money. The group has since attained formal registration as a community-based organization and is running a purposeful business with stern leadership and passionate members.

Despite dropping out of school, facing poverty, and dealing with society stereotypes as women, the Green Generation Girls are inspired and determined to lead a life that does not bow to limited societal expectations. They are determined to shape their own destiny, lift their families, and transform their communities.
 

Last updated: June 05, 2020

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