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Uganda: Rising above Poverty

  • BAM

“Our goal is to connect Christ-followers with opportunities and resources that encourage and enable them to use their vocational skills and passions in unreached communities for the purpose of teaming with others in planting healthy, reproducing churches through the natural relationships that flow from working and living in authentic ways in those communities.”

“God equips the called,” said Rosie, the founder of Shakan Global Mission. Jill, her business advisor (called a BAM Team Manager) with MDE, said of Rosie, “She is a warrior,” and explained that Rosie started her BAM (Business as Mission) journey because of a calling, not because of any business expertise. 

When she first went to Uganda on a short-term trip in 2015, Rosie quickly saw the needs and felt called to empower women and children to rise above poverty. As a clinical aromatherapist, it intrigued her to learn that Uganda’s soil is fertile, growing many plants that can bring healing. Her aromatherapy business, Oils of Shakan, could help establish businesses that might spread to other developing nations.

Teaming With Others

In 2019, she returned to Uganda and partnered with Arise Women Empowerment Center (AWEC) to teach over 100 women to make mosquito repellent from essential oils and their home-grown aloe vera. Uganda has one of the highest global levels of malaria cases, with over 90% of the population at risk. Malaria remains Uganda’s leading cause of death, especially in children. In 2021, WHO reported an estimated 13 million malaria cases and over 19,600 deaths in the country.

This partnership was a divine connection, with both parties sharing the same vision of empowering women and children. AWEC provides jobs for mothers to feed, clothe, and educate their children. In 2021, AWEC launched a micro-loan program, which now impacts the lives of 200 women. During COVID lockdowns and the resulting food shortages, groups stayed encouraged because they focused on the faithful Provider and helped their neighbors.

The Work Expands

Rosie purchased a one-acre property in January 2020, and an adjoining three-quarters of an acre in March 2023.  This property will be the future site of Shakan Guest House, a hub to transform lives holistically through Bible studies, prayer meetings, training in aromatherapy and other job skills, and medical camps. The guest house will provide safe accommodations for short-term workers, faith-driven investors, and local people. 

“God equips the called,” Rosie reiterates. “I had never looked at a blueprint before starting the guest house.” At one point, the architect informed her that, since her land was sloping, it was possible to add more rooms. After praying and considering the additional cost, Rosie gave the green light to continue. She is confident that God will supply the need. “Faith is the currency of heaven.” Now that the walls are rising, the size of the building is certainly impressive. “When I saw how it was developing, I went to my knees. I thought I had made a mistake. But God again clearly confirmed that those were his plans.”

Some things in Uganda move fast and others must await their own season. According to an international agriculturist, Uganda is ripe for an essential oil business. But it will take time to research the market, develop the product, and set up sustainable manufacturing. 

Rosie is excited to see the divine networking and collaboration that will result through the guest house ministry. There are over 350 Christian workers located in Jinja, Uganda. A single organization can impact a sector of society, but an organization partnering with like-minded individuals and organizations can have an exponential impact.

MDE for Business and Teaming

When Rosie joined MDE in 2018, she immediately felt that “MDE is my business safety net.” MDE has helped her with retirement advice, accounting, evaluating local partnerships, and developing and revising business plans.  But the most important, according to Rosie, has been the legal help. With Mark Canada’s assistance, Rosie set up  Shakan Mission Uganda, Ltd (pending status as a non-governmental organization) and Shakan Global Mission, Inc, a 501(c)3 in the States. Having sold her home, Rosie is now primarily living in Uganda and managing multiple business lines in two currencies, doing community outreach, and responding to the needs of the ongoing building project.

Even in its early stages, Shakan Mission Uganda has been partnering with AWEC and other organizations to help women and children in Uganda. The Jinja community was impacted when a Christmas outreach provided shoes to 110 children. Shoes help to prevent jiggers, a bug that painfully attacks the feet.

A recent outreach purchased notebooks for children in a neighboring school, benefiting the mothers who started a book-binding business this year. Workers and students hear the hope-filled gospel  and experience the love of Christ. “We want to target the youth because they are the future,” explained Rosie. “We are planting seeds all along.”

“I am thankful for Marketplace and Development Enterprises and the BAM model. MDE certainly guided me in what to do – though I needed to do the hard work. But there is also the story of God,” said Rosie. “When I look at the people and resources he is bringing together, it is an amazing work of God.”