In the earliest development stages of the Mvule Project, one of the primary goals was to get a majority of the capital into the actual village. This seems obvious enough, but most projects cost money in other places.
- Ugandans on staff to manage the project
- An office for coordinating
- Internet access for relaying data (like this blog post)
- Transportation to villages
- Didactic tools for explaining the overall idea
A second goal was making tree prices affordable kept our price to just under 20 bucks.
With these two goals in mind, here’s how things shook out:
This amount can be a bit deceiving as the actual percentage for the village is 66%. For illustration purposes we divided the 66% into two categories: money for the bank account (55%) and financial incentives encouraging people to stay with the project (11%).
The 55% is used to add capacity to the village. Each village decides how this income is used in their villages. Some are building schools, others are starting goat projects, still others are building clinics, the list goes on. The idea is that people in impoverished circumstances can control what happens in their village. By empowering local infrastructure and leadership, people are given the freedom to choose their next direction.
Village Care Plan (11%)
Sleazy get-rich-quick schemes are ubiquitous in Uganda. Those who suffer the most from such plans are the rural poor. Most such schemes ask for “deposits” from villagers, promising huge payoffs in three months. Our program never asks for a shilling, but the payoff is a year away.
For many, this is a suspicious sign. They try to anticipate how we are ripping them off, speculating with land-grabbing initiatives. Our Village Care Plan was built to calm worried farmers. Essentially, we offer each person planting a tree a few small incentives to plant. This comes in the form of soap, sugar, other types of trees, and a visit from a mosquito-net selling medical doctor from the US.
Ugandan Administration (19%)
The Mvule Project began with local leadership in mind. Viability depended on the project’s adaptation into localized organizational structures. Our office is strategically placed at the center of Jinja town, above the grooviest cafe in town. This great location came with cheap rent and a great social network (two thumbs up!) Our onsite staff need transportation to the most rural of places, and while this isn’t the most exciting of expenses it is crucial to the work. Administration expenses also include handouts (that we translate into Lusoga) and radio programs that promote the project. Overall, it would be tough to find a group doing the same amount and quality of work on a smaller budget.
This title is also a bit deceptive in that it catches a few more items. For every tree we sell, we want the buyer to receive a Mvule Project packet. Our hope is that you are able to share this DVD with friends, family and coworkers in order to promote healthy relationships between African and the West. But this 15% also holds a small contingency fund as well. The Ugandan economy is not the most stable of environments, leading to drastic levels of inflation and fluctuating exchange rates. We didn’t want this variables to affect the village program, so that small contingency can keep our Village figures stable.
There you have it! If you have any further questions or comments about the cost breakdown, we’re available.