As the continent marks Africa Day, Innov8tiv has been on the lookout for the best epitome of the spirit of this special occasion. Our radar picked up Uganda’s Best Ayiorworth and the fantastic job she has been doing through Girl Power Micro Lending startup microfinance.
Before we delve into what Ayiorworth does, let us first paint a picture of what education is like for the typical home in Africa working on a very tight budget. In a typical home with dad, mom, brothers, and sisters, the father will get to determine who goes to school and who do not. The male children will get priority, and the girls of the house will be an afterthought only if some money remains after paying for the boys’ tuition.
Worst case scenario, the older girl child in puberty would be married off and in exchange, the family will be given bride price in the form of cattle. The cows, goats, or sheep could be sold off to pay for the boys’ school fees.
Here is where Best Ayiorworth came into our radar, but first a little background on this remarkable Ugandan lady. Ayiorworth lost her father at the age of eight, and her family of seven children had to depend on her mother as the sole bread winner. Five years down the road, her mother too passed on leaving Ayiorworth in Primary Seven.
She was a 13-year-old girl eager to join high school. Her two older sisters and brother strained to put her through high school up to Secondary Four, but that was as far as they could have managed. Ayiorworth had to stop school at high school (Secondary Four), though she had dreams of joining institutions of higher learning.
She was quoted by How we made it in Africa saying: “Personally, I love being educated. I always wished to go to high standards in my education if it was possible. But unfortunately I did not have the chance to go to the level of education I wanted, and I stopped at Secondary Four in Uganda.
I never wanted to stop at that point in my education so it angered me… I would always remind myself that someday when I could, I would ensure that every girl child in my community received the best education they could.”
There is no doubt Ayiorworth had more than her fair share of disadvantages, but despite all that she made good of the situation. At the age of 17, she moved to Kampala where she joined a vocational training school offering courses like catering, web, and graphics design.
After that, she joined S7 Project – a skills empowerment center – where she trained in catering and entrepreneurship. From this training, she was able to get a job at a Mexican restaurant and a month later got her first salary.
The salary that she would then use as her seed capital to start a microfinance company, Girl Power Micro Lending. Through this money lending institution, she ensured disadvantaged girls do not cut short their dreams for higher education as she was forced to do.
The Girl Power Micro Lending gives loans to female entrepreneurs as startup capital, but as a condition to getting the loans. The women entrepreneurs must make a commitment to the institution that they will be supporting a girl child in their family through school.
When you think about it, Ayiorworth is killing two birds with one stone; boost female entrepreneurs hustle while ensuring the girl child gets a fair chance at pursuing education.
Through her work at Girl Power Micro Lending, Ayiorworth bagged the Anzisha Prize in 2013 and invested the $25,000 cash prize in the organization to boost her business of social entrepreneurship.
For more information about Best Ayiorworth journey and winning the Anzisha Prize, click here.