Meet Nancy Akoth Nancy came to Kampala in 2002 when she fled from the raging civil war in Northern Uganda, unable to continue her education. Since she was out of school, she got married and had one biological child. However, Nancy is a mother to many, raising nieces and nephews of relatives who have passed away. She provides food, school fees, healthcare and housing for them all.
Many women Street Business School (SBS) serves, like Nancy, do not have access to clean water. Their families often spend hours to secure 5 gallons of water, often collecting water from wells or commercial taps outside their homes. Before Nancy joined SBS, she worked as a housemaid earning 2,600 UGX/day (74 cents). The closest thing she had to a water source was a spring, which was more like a puddle. Animals drank from it, and builders got water there for creating bricks.
SBS played a pivotal role in changing not only Nancy’s life, but lives within her community. During the training, women participate in three consecutive sessions that help them get out of their comfort zone: learning the principles of starting small, identifying a business opportunity, and finding capital. This is exactly what Nancy did. She saw an opportunity that arose from the water deficiency facing her community. She acted quickly and decided to improve the water hole to provide water for domestic use. She dug a deep and wide hole, put concrete at the base and raised it above ground. She opened this to her community and began providing her neighbors clean and healthy water for a small fee.
Nancy now earns 14,000 UGX ($3.71 USD) per day!
On the days when the commercial faucets are down, Nancy can make up to 40,000 UGX/day ($11 US), and she increases her income 15 times! Nancy makes sure the water hole remains clean and efficient for her community. “My water is clean, and I keep the children and animals away, which makes people love my water.”
She runs her business with diligence, grace and commitment to better her community. Nancy’s future plans include starting a baby clothing business. She encourages women like herself to start small and press on.