off to Uganda with Villages Connected

We’re a little over a year and a half in – we’re swamped with work and it’s getting harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning for tennis!   What does this mean? Are we ready to pack in the towel?  Nope.

We need a vacation!

Now, because we’re not normal (read: we’re absolutely bonkers) we don’t go on vacation like normal girls and boys.  We’re volunteers – who’ve committed two years to supporting social change.  So, we do what hardcore volunteers like us sometimes do when on vacation…

We volunteer!

Since volunteering in Cameroon would seem redundant, we’ve decided to head across to Uganda for a month.  Why?

Because Villages Connected is there!

Villages Connected is a social change venture that I was heavily involved in helping set up when we were back in Canada.  Its mission is to turn media on its head, focusing on potential, not poverty.

In the Western media we only hear about African poverty, death and despair. We think this needs to change.  Villages Connected sets up media co-ops in African communities so residents can share their perspectives on small business opportunities around them. The power of portrayal is back in African hands.

Then Villages Connected supports African entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality through business training and microfinance loans.

Villages Connected connects the African media co-op with a carefully chosen socially responsible business as their first media client. It’s not charity. The co-op creates an ad that expresses the values of the business – values shared between Africans, the socially responsible business and awesome people like you.

So what will Caroline and I be doing in Uganda?

For the month of June I’ll be facilitating trainings with the new media co-op’s members in Photovoice and participatory video.  I’ll work with participants to identify issues needing to be addressed and opportunities for local small businesses to make a difference.

Caroline comes in with her microfinance and entrepreneurship-support hats.  She’ll set up the structure of the microfinance loan programme and make sure all is ready for entrepreneurs involved in the project to hit the ground running.

This project is part of a campaign launched yesterday by Villages Connected called:

Unlocking Potential: Re-branding Poverty

Watch this video to see what it’s all about.

You can also click through to the Villages Connected campaign page for even more details on how the project will work.

So, what it will take to re-brand poverty?

It’s not going to happen on its own.  We need you – our friends, family, supporters and fellow believers in the potential of Africa.  We need you to help us spread the word of this initiative and also to help us set up the media co-op and microfinance loan fund.

You can help!

Contribute and help us exceed the Unlocking Potential: Re-branding Poverty fundraising goal: Villages Connected needs to raise $20,000 to set things up in Fort Portal.  The funds will be used to equip the media-cop with cameras (film and video), computer and accessories and solar panels.  Your contributions will also help pay for training and project costs and seed the microfinance fund that will give loans to the local entrepreneurs.

Share the news of our campaign to re-branding poverty with your friends and family! There are many ways to do this… including

Like the Villages Connected page on Facebook.  Then share our news with your friends on Facebook.

Use’s “Share” buttons.

 Follow and Retweet the Villages Connected on Twitter

 Subscribe to the Villages Connected blog

 Connect us with other people you think might be interested in what we’re doing.

We can’t do this without you and we really look forward to sharing with all of you our month in Uganda.

So, put your mind at rest – we’re not running away from Cameroon!   We’re just adding another set of experiences to fuel the stories we love to tell you!

~ by Greg Spira on May 8, 2011.

4 Responses to “off to Uganda with Villages Connected”

  1. I never thought of that. When in need of a vacation, volunteer abroad. It’s not a vacation but you get the idea. Good luck!

    • Thanks! We’re really excited. Volunteering has long been the staple diet of nonprofits and charities. But in Uganda we’ll be volunteering with a social enterprise. A vacation from the norm for sure!

  2. Really interesting Greg and Caroline to have such kind of passion.Let me pray that the good LORD GOD sails you through your dreams.

    • Thanks Goldino! We are really glad to be sharing this time with you here in Fort Portal!

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