By Mark Kawalya
Airtel Uganda announced the first batch of winners from its “UG Needs More of You” campaign. The initiative’s mandate was to seek out and celebrate everyday Ugandans who are leveraging technology to provide community-specific solutions that transform lives.
The three winners; Gerald Otim, Bernadette Ojao, and Ronald Katamba, received a shared grant of Shs 30 million to upscale their businesses and increase their reach.
Bernadette Ojao is the founder of Wabibi Pads, a firm that makes reusable sanitary wear for girls and women in low-income communities. Using social media, the company has trained more than 1,000 women and girls and distributed over 10,000 packs of sanitary wear since 2020.
Bernadette was crowned the overall winner in this first batch due to the measurable impact her company has been able to achieve in communities. She walked away with Shs 15 million in cash.
“I’m so happy that Wabibi Pads made it,” said Ojao. “Words cannot explain my joy but I want to thank all those that voted for us, especially the Karamojong fraternity.” “When we were nominated for the UG Needs More of You campaign, I told the Karamojong fraternity, that I needed their support because we as a people are a minority. They assured me that they had my back and now we are victorious.” Ojao told the press.
Gerald Otim, the founder of Ensibuuko, a savings group, finished second and received Shs10 million in cash. Ensibuuko helps SACCOS to access digital savings accounts, loans and other related financial services using phones.
Cindy Wabunoha, Product Manager at Ensibuuko, represented Gerald Otim and thanked the voters while also congratulating the other winners. “I thank you all for voting for Ensibukko. I also congratulate our competitors, we are closely related —we do 80% of our work with farmers and women. So, we realized that Africa has come full circle, and it is all about partnerships. This is an example of how, when we partner together, we can move forward,” Wabunoha said.
Ronald Katamba, the founder of Jaguza, emerged as the second runner-up and was the recipient of Shs5 million. Jaguza is a cloud-based livestock management system that enables livestock farmers to mitigate the risks of livestock disease.