Cultivating Success: Bako Eunice’s Journey from Struggle to Triumph

Story by Lemeriga Tom, Isaac Batumbya & Jerry Kiwanuka (Danish Refugee Council)

In the rural village of Amia, nestled in the heart of West Nile, Bako Eunice, a 30-year-old mother of three, emerged as a beacon of hope and inspiration through her dedication and hard work.

As the sun sets over Amia village, Bako reflects on her journey, tending to her permaculture garden of tomatoes. “I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way,” she says with a warm smile.

Before the Program:

Life was challenging for Bako and her husband, Acema Joel, a peasant farmer, with three young children to care for.

“We struggled, uncertain about where the next meal would come from.”

Bako Eunice, Imvepi Refugee Settlement, Uganda

Bako’s income sources were inconsistent, and the family grappled with food insecurity, inadequate shelter, and limited access to basic needs.

Bako ran a small business selling silver fish, but the earnings were meager, barely enough to sustain the family with one meal a day. The introduction of the DANIDA Graduation project became a turning point. “It was a lifeline for families like ours,” she adds.

Building a Microenterprise:

Empowered by the project’s comprehensive support with skills trainings, coaching, and consumption support, Bako ventured into permaculture gardening, focusing on vegetables like eggplants, tomatoes, onions, collard greens, cow peas, and pigeon peas.

“I followed the training diligently, and soon, our efforts evolved from subsistence farming to a thriving commercial venture.”

Bako Eunice after starting a succeessful permaculture garden to start selling at the local market.

The sales of her produce not only boosted her weekly income but also significantly improved the family’s diet and overall well-being. “Our meals are more nutritious now,” she says, her eyes shining with contentment.

Bako while harvesting tomatoes from her perma garden. Photo by Isaac Batumbya

Bako’s life underwent a remarkable transformation. The permaculture project provided her with the means to participate in Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) where saving diligently allowed her to purchase two goats, buy clothes for her family members, and contribute to building a better shelter. “I feel a sense of security and accomplishment,” she states.

Brimming with determination, Bako envisions a future of continued savings, diversified business ventures, expanded vegetable production for increased profits, and the construction of a sturdy shelter with an iron sheet roof for her family’s comfort.

Becoming a Role Model

Through the project, Bako’s confidence soared, opening doors to opportunities she had never imagined. “I never thought I could be a successful entrepreneur and a role model in my community,” she admits, her demeanor radiating newfound empowerment.

Bako Eunice at her home in Imvepi. Photo by Grace Akeso.

With the DANIDA Graduation Project, implemented by DRC, CEFORD, and Trickle Up, participants like Eunice benefitted from life-changing support to the people of West Nile.

When Bako sells tomatoes from her garden at Likido market and takes her goats for grazing, her story is a testament to perseverance and hard work in the face of adversity.

About the project:

The “Building Self-Reliance Resilience Project in West Nile” project, also known as the “DANIDA Graduation Project,” is a 28-month project implemented in Imvepi Refugee Settlement, Terego district, Uganda, partnering with South Sudanese refugees since January 2022. The project targets 800 extremely vulnerable individuals and works towards building their self-reliance & resilience. The project is implemented by a consortium of the Danish Refugee Council, CEFORD, and Trickle Up and is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Related Story

Behind the Scenes: Reflecting on FUERTE in Oaxaca

People who know me know I love asking questions. Seeing banks’ Q2 earnings coming out, I remembered that I was asking David Solomon questions at Goldman’s Global Townhalls this time last quarter. But this quarter, as an intern at Trickle Up, I got to meet and ask...