“In what ways have you seen progress?”...This was the question a woman recently asked me at one of our events. She was eager and excited, wanting to hear more. I smiled and told her that our women had developed a new way to raise capital that wasn’t dependent upon us, and in one year, it had impacted almost all our women.
While pigs aren’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination, what they represent is incredible. The Pig Project, represents initiative, ownership, and success, as our women took the driver seat to make this business idea a reality. This is true empowerment…and this is the goal.
Muwanguzi giving thanks to God for her piglets.
What makes BOH different from many nonprofits is our goal to work ourselves out of job. With a mission to sustainably empower widows and orphans in Uganda, we will achieve our mission when our organization no longer needs to exist. The Pig Project demonstrates the capability of our women to develop and sustain a profitable business that can directly benefit them and their families, meaning we are moving in the right direction.
However, I have to say one thing regarding this. “Progress”…this is an interesting term when we are working with people. How do you measure progress in another person’s life…and better yet, who am I to do that? Our culture in America values efficiency and productivity, and while these things are not intrinsically bad, they can easily bulldoze a highly relational culture like Uganda’s.
Our women and their values are at the heart of all we do. And in their culture, the quality of our relationships with our women is a measuring stick for progress. It is only out of a strong relationship of humility, trust, and commitment that empowerment can be achieved. We are excited about the Pig Project not because it shows how successful we are, but because it displays the capability of our women to overcome poverty and break through obstacles to provide for their family.
Beatrice, one of the beloved elderly women in our group, & Executive Dir. Natalie
This is the stuff that fires us up, that motivates us to keep running this race, to see our women thrive. And while we do track the advancement of our mission, we are focused on our women and their incredible tenacity to overcome. Pigs ain’t fancy, but our women sure are!
Blog by Executive Director Natalie Ruiz