What Drives Our Last-Mile Heroes

Riding their motorbikes through natural terrains on Monday mornings, being the go-to person for a remote village, and participating in and witnessing inspirational stories of change are both perks and challenges of being a last-mile hero. Being a Team RTV member means facing those challenges head-on to solve some of the most pressing global issues and being proud of working as a changemaker. In this special edition of our stories of change, we bring you a first-hand account of what drives our team on the ground and what makes it a true last-mile adventure.

Gladys Bahimbisomew – Project Officer

Each day I interact with communities, I learn something new, go through new experiences and make new friendships. The other aspect I love about working on the ground is that you tend to become a master of all trades. The communities look up to us as teachers, agriculture experts and problem solvers. As a result, we end up working on so many areas of our skills and problem-solving abilities.  

I firmly believe in our approach to be inclusive and leave no household behind, irrespective of their location. So many times, this has pushed us to go beyond and make a massive difference in someone’s life. I remember this one woman I met during a household check-in in a difficult-to-reach region in Rubirizi. She was on her own and very sick, she could hardly move. Her husband was working on a farm far away and not immediately available. We got in touch with the parish chief and helped her receive treatment. She is now a village champion and helps us during mobilization. She calls me her “miracle”.

Mary Gorreti Kabacaki – Project Assistant

Before I started this work, I knew the roads were bad, but I wanted to be a part of the vision. It hasn’t been a straightforward journey. I have been mocked at times for riding a motorbike as a woman, and the effects of climate change often makes our work around agriculture tricky. 

But it is so worth it. When I ride my motorcycle, children wave and shout, “Goretti Raisingi! Goretti Raisingi!” They gather around my bike, asking various questions. I feel I am inspiring them to chart out their own path and find their calling. When I see people saving (money), when I find their gardens looking good, when I see them having access to clean water, when I see the children calling out my name and referring to Raising The Village, I feel so happy.

Evat Akamanya – Village Startup Fund (VSF) Assistant

The communities we work with are often very remote. They have no mobile network, no electricity and no connection to what’s happening in the rest of the world. It is sometimes tough to change their mindset, to change their attitude and behaviour around savings, making an income, sanitation and hygiene and other things. 

But I love working with them. I love interacting with them on a daily basis. I find it energizing, interesting, and fun. It gives me confidence. It gives me the opportunity to interact with people of various ages and backgrounds and learn from their experiences. I remember this one time I met a 65-year-old woman. She had never owned anything in her life. But through RTV’s Village Startup Fund (VSF) project, she bought a pig and some goats and has started selling clothes as a business. She had a fresh start at 65! With the extra money, she even hires people to help her plant and harvest crops.

Viola Dufite – Project Assistant

I feel that our emphasis on training on mindset change has been instrumental in unlocking the true potential of the communities we work with. We are empowering people, especially women, to collectively address challenges, think independently and take up leadership roles. We are amplifying the voices of marginalized groups. 

I still vividly remember when we delivered rainwater harvesting tanks to a village in Rubanda across Lake Bunyonyi in November 2022. How happy the community was. The joy was evident among the community members and has become an everlasting memory for me.

Phillip Sajja – Project Assistant

Working with rural communities, I am getting to practice and implement what I learned and studied in college. I get to see it taking shape every day. This one person I worked with in Kaliro received 4 kgs of maize. He planted it, used manure, applied their learnings and improved yields. They harvested more than 600 kgs of maize from only 4 kgs of seeds! He managed to pay for his children’s school fees, provide food and buy pigs. It is incredible to see how combining what we have learned, with the determination to change the future, could provide such huge results. 

Travelling long distances is definitely challenging. But I love riding my motorbike. Knowing that I can reach anywhere I want, no matter how far away households are, gets me going every day. 

Be part of our journey. Support last-mile communities by supporting Raising The Village. 

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Raising The Village (RTV) partners with last-mile, rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and develops holistic initiatives that pave the pathway out of ultra-poverty towards economic self-sufficiency within 24 months. Our programs focus on improving agricultural incomes through training and providing agricultural inputs, diversifying income streams, removing barriers to participation such as lack of access to health, water, financial inclusion, and food security, and promoting healthy behaviors including adopting healthy WASH and gender equity practices. Since 2016, we have impacted the lives of more than 665,000 people in last-mile villages in Uganda and increased household incomes and earnings by 138% in 24 months.