WORKING ALONGSIDE COVID19

The Covid-19 is a global pandemic which is a new situation for everyone and has led the economy to a decline. After several months of lockdown, most of us have resumed or will soon resume work with an intention of earning a living to support our families.  Due to this new pandemic, we have been pushed to adapt a new life style with a lot of safety measures.

In using the low-cost measures below, you can help in preventing the spread of COVID19 at your workplace and protect your customers and employees.

Promote good respiratory hygiene at the workplace. For example, cover your nose and mouth with a bent elbow or tissue when you sneeze or cough. Thereafter, dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands because the droplets spread the coronavirus. Ensure that face masks, hand gloves, and paper tissues are available at your workplaces, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them because good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based solution. Such frequent washing (for at least 20 seconds) kills viruses that may be on your hands. It is simple but very important. Sanitizing and hand wash dispensers should be placed in prominent places around the workplace so that all employees, customers, and contractors have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID19.

Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent the virus from entering your body. Hands touch too many surfaces and can quickly pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your face, from where it can move inside your body, making you feel unwell.

In terms of social interaction, take a step back and stay at least one-meter distance from your colleagues at the workplace. By maintaining such social distancing, you are helping to avoid breathing in any droplets from someone who sneezes or coughs in close proximity.

Ensure that your workplace is clean and hygienic. Working surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads.

Drink warm or room temperature water during the course of the day, preferably with lemon.

At a meeting or work event, arrange seats so that participants are at least 1 meter apart, and those who have symptoms or feel unwell should not attend. Open windows and doors whenever possible to make sure the venue is well ventilated. Teleconference meetings and events are advised for meetings with many participants.

If you feel unwell, request for sick leave and follow all instructions provided by your local health authorities. In case of a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.

Keep informed as local health authorities provide the latest information on the situation in your area. Please follow their specific instructions, and call in advance to allow them to direct you to the appropriate local health facility. This serves to protect you and to help prevent the spread of virus and other infections.

Remember: Action now will help in protecting your business, employees and customers. Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference.

                            Life is a precious gift #staysafestayhealthy

Leveraging On Digital Community Entrepreneur (DCE) Model To Advance Digital Financial Inclusion, Clean Energy and Extension Services to Rural Smallholder Farmers in Uganda

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has supported MobiPay AgroSys Limited to support the digitization of the Maize and Oil Seed Value Chains in Uganda, which directly employs over two (2), million people. Using MobiPay’s Digital Community Entrepreneur (DCE) model, the project’s aim is to use rural youth as agent at Producer Organizations (PO) level to help rural smallholder farmers in having increased visibility through farmer profiling, access to extension services, clean energy/ solar products, mobile literacy, access and use digital financial services and improving their livelihoods but attaining entrepreneurial skills and financial sustainability.

MobiPay’s Digital Community Entrepreneur (DCE) Model: DCEs acts as role models who train and support their fellow farmers in the use of new digital solutions, opportunities of e-extension services, clean energy to unlock the barriers around DFS usage and adoption among smallholder farmers

Since 2016, MobiPay has exerted itself to improve the livelihood of Producer Organizations/ Farmer Cooperatives and smallholder farmers by understanding their pain points, opportunities and providing appropriate ICT platforms and tools for improved farmer visibility and access to digital financial services and products. This project, particularly the implementation of MobiPay’s innovative Digital Community Entrepreneur (DCE) model aims to get a step closer to providing a comprehensive package of services to over 200,000 smallholder farmers growing maize and sunflower in rural areas of the Busoga and Lango regions in Uganda respectively.

The MobiPay-Producer Organization partnership aims at supporting the over 56 Producer Organizations/ Farmer Cooperatives including Ngetta Tropical Holdings (NTH) and Nyekorac Community Farmer’s Cooperative (Lango region), Buwenge Farmer’s Cooperative and SACCO (Jinja district) and Bugiri Agribusiness Development Association (BAIDA) (Bugiri district) with the technical expertise and building strong DCEs or agents for providing relevant financial services, extension advisory services, solar products and financial literacy to the local community in a sustainable manner. This will also support in understanding the PO’s needs in terms of digital payments and assisting in promoting and sustaining bulk payments as an alternative for cash-based payments along the maize and Oil seed value chain in Uganda.

Maize Value Chain DCE Group Photo

Eric Nana Kwabena Agyei, MD for MobiPay AgroSys Limited, was at the training for the DCEs, explaining: “The necessity of advancing financial inclusion and relevant extension services to improve the livelihoods of rural smallholder farmers is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and very significant in our context- Uganda, this is why this project is important. The combination of both organizations’ [MobiPay and PO’s] vast experiences with smallholder farmers will continue to strengthen our relations [in terms of providing value-added services] for smallholder farmers living in the rural areas. Most importantly, the engagement of rural youth as agents and entrepreneurs will help in part deal with the issues of youth unemployment, but making them realize the important roles they can play in the agricultural value chain and be financially stable.

Eric Nana Kwabena Agyei (MobiPay- MD) Speaking at DCE Training

As a way of gaining a better understanding of the project, MobiPay and UNCDF organized a joint visit and training for the recruited DCEs, partners including PO’s management staff and members, local leaders, Solar product providers- Aptech and Village power in Lira and Jinja/ Iganga. The joint visit included a visit to the Producer Organizations areas of operation where the UNCDF’s Digital Financial Services (DFS) Value Chain Expert, Stephen Waiswa, Emmanuel Kodwo Mensah (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer-MobiPay) and Jimmy Okello (Field Officer-MobiPayinteracted with the PO’s management staff and members for better understanding of their activities and how best UNCDF and MobiPay can provide the appropriate support to make this project successful. Mr. Waiswa said, “Our visit here is to help us better understand what you’re doing as partners, challenges and opportunities, but to also help chart and adopt best practices in helping to unlock the potential of digitizing the maize and value chains leveraging on the DCEs”.

Furthermore, the training brought together over 150 participants comprising 56 DCEs. The training was organized with a special focus on the project overview: goals and objectives, the roles of Digital Community Entrepreneurs (DCE) and partners including UNCDF, Producer Organizations, Aptech and Village Power as well as the DCE model as an innovative model to build strong entrepreneurial skills, revenue streams and ensure financial sustainability. Also, the participatory and all-inclusive training sessions gave the participants especially, the DCEs opportunity to learn and ask relevant questions about their roles, community entry, awareness creation, farmer sensitizations and how to stay relevant after the project period.

Session of DCEs in Training

The project is one of the many commitments UNCDF’s MMP4 programme has established in the last mile of Uganda’s agricultural value chains. Accordingly, within the scope of this project, MM4P is supporting MobiPay and its partners specifically to accelerate their mandated activities related to the development & rollout for Digital Community Entrepreneurs (DCE) model in deep rural areas in Busoga and Lango regions. Through this approach, MobiPay is committed to implementing the innovative DCE model to deliver digital services to the bottom of the pyramid at any given time in close collaboration with Project objective, expected results and link with MM4P country strategy.

MobiPay Digitizes Uganda’s Seed Value Chain to increase production, household Income and financial inclusion

The lead ICT Company on the Technology Solutions For Improved Agribusiness Management- MobiPay AgroSys Limited, in partnership with the Ngetta Tropical Holdings (NTHs), has organized a workshop to train key stakeholders along the Seed value chain (SVC) to digitize the SVC to ensure increased production, household income, and financial inclusion. Thus, contributing to the attainment of the goals of Mobile Money for the Poor(MM4P) project implemented by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

The successful end of the two-day key stakeholders and project inception workshop is expected to facilitate the digitization of the Seed value chain (SVC) in Northern, Uganda to enhance transformational rural agriculture and improved livelihood for over 24, 000 women and youth in the Northern region, Uganda in fulfillment of the Youth Leadership in Agriculture (YLA), a USAID Feed the Future project being run by Chemonics International Inc.

Mr. Eric Nana Kwabena Agyei (MD- MobiPay) presenting on the importance of digitizing the Uganda Seed Value Chain

Background

Similar to other agriculture value chains in Uganda, various actors in the Seed value chain also grapple with a myriad of roadblocks in increasing production and household income from limited access to financial services and inputs, market connection and lack of comprehensive management information systems (MIS) to capture and manage farmers information for informed decisions.

Correspondingly, Ngetta Tropical Holdings (NTH), an agro-processing industry engaged in vegetable oil (sun flower seed)  milling over the years has encountered various challenges relating to cash-based payments for the sun seed grain suppliers and input suppliers and lack of a comprehensive MIS for the integration and management of relevant and timely data. Thus, sun seed production and farmers income have been negatively affected.

Consequently, under the Technology Solutions for Improved Agribusiness Management project, MobiPay has identified and supporting to address the specific challenges in the sun seed value chain in order to enhance and sustain NTH’s ability to manage farmers information and payment digitally, improve farmer’s access to financial services and provide other solutions that will subsequently help NTHs increase sun seed production and farmers income.

About the workshop

The workshop was on the digitization of the Seed value chain in Uganda with a special focus on NTH’s personnel, cooperatives and farmer’s understanding of MobiPay’s NTHs-customized platform and its significance. The sessions covered areas, including the roles of the partners, use of MobiPay MIS platform for data capturing, management and transaction, data collection techniques and data collection implementation plan for an informed decision and strategic planning.

There were also interactive sessions and hands-on activities on farmer profiling using the MobiPayNTH data collection app, use of the MobiPay Payment Platform (MPP) for various transactions including crop purchase, digital payment and loan acquisition. Others included participant’s translation of the data collection questions in their own languages and demonstrations of how to conduct interviews with farmers.

The workshop brought together 150 participants comprising of various stakeholders along the Seed value chain (SVC) in the Lango and Acholi regions: MobiPay staff, NTHs’ staff, extension and field officers, 33 cooperatives chairpersons of oil seed producing cooperatives and 80 mobilizers.

Participants experiencing the “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” quote

Purposeful Partnership and way forward for Uganda’s Seed Value Chain 

The MD for MobiPay, Mr. Eric Nana Kwabena Agyei, added that the collaboration between MobiPay and NTHs was a purposeful one that would lead to improving [NTHs’] integration and timely management of farmers’ information and digital transactions and market connections in Uganda.

MobiPay’s innovative technology- MobiPay’s NTH-customized platform is indispensable for the digitization of the Seed value chain in Uganda. MobiPay’s commitment is to continue to offer high-tech solutions and innovations for agriculture value chain feeding the world and subsequently make agriculture profitable, improve livelihood and reduce poverty”, he indicated.

The CEO of NTHs, Mr. Paul Omara added that the collaboration with MobiPay is an important part of NTHs’ long-term vision of transforming agriculture in the Northern region of Uganda.  He said that given NTHs’ vision, it was necessary to ensure access to comprehensive innovation that would not only facilitate access to timely information but also ensure effective and efficient management of value chain finances.

“In the next 5 years, we plan to invest heavily especially in seed silos, about 2,000 tons of oil silos and also to respond to the wider market. Thus, we intend to export our products to the East African region and Europe. So, the partnership with MobiPay is important in a strategic sense, because we [NTHs] have reached a place where we have to build a more efficient payment system and have a robust data for our plaining purposes and build something for the future”, he added

Mr. Paul Omara (CEO Ngetta Tropical Holdings) presenting NTHs’ expectations and need for the MobiPay-NTHs partnership

The workshop ended successfully and the data collection team were deployed to commence the data collection from the sun seed farmers under the various cooperatives.

In our next story, we bring you Mr Paul Omara (CEO NTHs’) talk with MobiPay on his vision in transforming rural agriculture for development and the value o the NTHs’ virgin Oil. Get ready to read: Omara Talks to MobiPay: Video

Mr. Paul Omara (CEO NTH) talks to MobiPay