As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Cycle Connect team is offering weekly updates in the form of “Last Mile Dispatches in 3, 2, 1”, a weekly blog post that highlights the 3 most telling data points, the 2 most important decisions, and the #1 most informative story that we are hearing through our work on the ground in Uganda during COVID-19. Tune in every Friday.

April 20th – 24th, 2020: Digest in 3, 2, 1

The 3 most telling DATA POINTS:

75% – percent of reached clients expressing interest in seeds. This demonstrates that the need is vast and we must act fast so farmers can begin planting!

2.7 acres – the average land size that families need seeds to plant on. 

90 – local leaders that we reached out to mobilize action within their village groups. They’re crucial agents and also have the potential to refer other farmers in need.

The 2 most important DECISIONS: 

1. Redesign credit appraisal: normally we meet our clients face to face, so we have to adapt. Since we’re going forward with existing clients, our initial review relies on previous repayment history and farmer data, with an emphasis on a digital process.

2. Establish partnerships: we’re keen to support our own former and current clients, but we also want to partner with other NGOs in the area whose own communities could benefit. We put out calls this week and are focused on forming a partnership to unlock more impact. 

And a third, just for kicks: 

3. Launch a campaign so our supporters can act to enable our action! You can donate here.

The #1 most informative STORY:

Farmers, like Ochora Denis, are struggling to access seeds. If farmers don’t get access soon, a hunger pandemic looms. 

Ochora Denis is the chair of a group that Cycle Connect works with. He was planning to plant beans, maize, and soybeans this season but has not been able to access any seeds. According to Denis, the closest seeds are an hour and a half ride on his bicycle, (a three and a half-hour walk for most!). Not only is distance a problem, but due to a stall in his income, he is unable to afford the seeds. 

We must act now to get farmers the resources they need or the future will be unimaginable for rural families like Denis’s family. An article featured in the New York Times this week warns of a looming global food crisis:

“The coronavirus has sometimes been called an equalizer because it has sickened both rich and poor, but when it comes to food, the commonality ends. It is poor people, including large segments of poorer nations, who are now going hungry and facing the prospect of starving.”

Our team is reaching out to farmers, including Ochora Denis, to sign them up for our newly launched seeds + tilling loan. Read more about our efforts to prevent hunger for rural families here.

See last week’s dispatch here.