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NonprofitWe live in rural Uganda and each received $1,000, no strings attached, from GiveDirectly. Ask Us Anything.

Mar 31st 2017 by GiveDirectly • 10 Questions • 202 Points

Hi Reddit, we are Betty Akello, Betty Auma, and Charles Omagur. All three of us are from villages in rural Uganda and all three of us have received a direct cash grant from GiveDirectly of $1,000, no strings attached, sent in three payments.

GiveDirectly called us, after randomly choosing us from among tens of thousands of recipients, and we have each volunteered to share our stories. Our answers are being translated by GiveDirectly staff members Noah and Theodora. Here’s a bit more about us:

Betty Akello -- I’m 31 years old, and I live with my husband Wilson, aged 35, in Olwa village. We have six children, three boys and three girls. We received our first token payment in April 2016, which we used to buy household items like bedding, and three piglets. We used our first and second lump sum to buy land that cost 2.5M UGX and the remaining was used to pay school fees and scholastic materials for our children. Our future plan is to expand our farm activities and build a house in the plot of land we bought.

Betty Aumo -- I’m 23 years old, and I live with my husband Peter, aged 32, in the Magara village. We used our first transfer to purchase home items like beddings and paid for medical bills. We used our second and final transfer to build an iron-roofed house, a cow for milk production, and better quality seeds for their garden. We are looking forward to earning income from the cow we bought through sale of milk. Our future plan is to buy more cows and be able to supply milk in the community.

Charles Omagor -- I’m 30 years old, and I live with my wife Elizabeth, aged 24, in Kaleu village. We have four children, three boys and one daughter. With our token transfer, we renovated the roof of our grass-thatched house that was leaking, and constructed a second one With our first and second lump sum transfer, we bought four cows and opened up a retail shop in our trading center where we earn an income. We also bought a small piece of land in the center where we plan to construct a rent house. My future plan is to engage in commercial agriculture and educate all my children.

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EDIT: We've wrapped up for now. Feel free to shoot us any further quesitons at [email protected]

Q:

What have been the impacts of other nonprofits to your villages in the past?

A:

Charles: I have not received any donations from any other NGOs except for the nets given out by the government which have helped us.


Q:

Have you saved any of the transfer?

A:

Charles: As soon as I learned GD was coming to our village, I had already started planning what I’d like to do with the money. I already knew what I wanted - I wanted to buy land, houses. As soon as the money came, it was just a matter of buying those things. No I did not save any money.


Q:

Have you saved any of the transfer?

A:

Betty Auma: Even before I learned I was a recipient, I wanted to buy my cows and a household [of items]. When I received the money, I just started planning how to buy these things. No I didn’t save any money.


Q:

Another question from Paolo Cisneros on facebook: "For all three, have these transfers allowed you to work toward longer term goals that would have otherwise been the case? If so, what are those goals?"

A:

Charles: These transfers have helped us make longer term plans. Why? Because now we’ve got the money, you buy the land, grow something, and know that at the end of the season, you’ll have something to eat. The transfers have made it possible for me to start planning for my children’s futures so that they can finish their education and get ahead in their life.


Q:

Thank you for answering my questions, I really appreciate hearing about your experiences!

A:

Charles: I was so happy, I was overjoyed to learn that I was going to be a recipient of these transfers.


Q:

Question from Tam Sue on facebook: "Do you feel the transfers have helped your community become more connected in a positive sense?"

A:

Betty Auma: Because the transfers of GD have helped people, we don’t have any more quarrels in the village because people are more cooperative.

Betty Akello: People are more peaceful because there are those with motorbikes which they use for business. Then there are those who sleep in iron roof houses - there are no more reasons for quarrels.


Q:

Hi - how much have you been helping people from neighbouring villages?

A:

Charles: I’m helping them in such a way where on my land, I started up a small business and have extended the products and services to them because I serve things like posho to them, and that is good. I sell merchandise like corn flour, books, sugar, like that.


Q:

Question from Paolo Cisneros on facebook: "Have your transfers had an effect on your mental health or stress levels?"

A:

Betty Auma: This money has helped me to relax. I’m not as stressed as I was. Now I have money to buy things for the house. I have money to pay the bills. When I conceived, I was sick and it helped me pay my medical bills.


Q:

Another question from Jon David Lutz on facebook: "Any plans to for solar electricity, m-Kopa?"

A:

Charles: It would be a good idea because when I build my iron roofed house. I would like to have light in it and solar is a very good idea. I have heard about M-Kopa and when I have money I will go to them to buy solar materials.


Q:

Does everybody in the village know that you received the money and how much?

A:

Betty Auma: The whole village knows that I received money and that I received 3.5million shillings.