Kope Foundation

We are not an organization, we are a project... for the people of Pader, Uganda.

Sustainability is not our goal, it is our model. Kope Foundation is a fund to support numerous projects in Pader, Uganda, all aimed at generating income and creating jobs in the community, which has struggled to recover from decades of war. We focus our direct efforts on youth and women, though we want the community as a whole to feel empowered in local markets.

Goals:

  • Empower women by having husbands and fathers engage directly in womens’ empowerment activities
  • Empower women and youth to penetrate / infiltrate local markets for traditionally imported goods and services
  • Stimulate the economy and foster economic stability essential to the peace process
  • Eventually transfer each of Kope Foundation’s projects to community ownership and dissolve the foundation entirely by 2022

AGRICULTURE

Farming is the backbone of Pader District’s economy. However, most farm at a subsistence level, only growing enough to eat, not to sell. We are working with over 200 farmers to change this. In our first phase, we are teaching local farmers to grow vegetables, a lucrative crop that is traditionally imported from other areas. Next, we are modernizing their farming techniques through ox-plows and irrigation systems.

GIRLS’ INITIATIVE

Without access to sanitary pads, many girls miss or drop out of school due to their periods. Whereas many girls in Pader cannot even afford to attend school, drop outs due to preventable causes are particularly problematic. We are working with local school girls to develop prototypes, test them and provide train-the- trainer services, to ensure that women and girls are able to afford both reusable and/or one-time biodegradable sanitary pads.

BAKERY PROJECT

The bakery project was the catalyst of Kope Foundation.

The idea, Pader is without its own bakery and must rely on bread, a common good, to be imported from hours away. Yet, there are local women bakers without the capital to start up their operation. We are giving those women the capital and support to take over bread production in the region.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Pader was afflicted by the LRA war for 25 straight years. It affected every aspect of life and many youth missed the opportunity for education during that time. Stacey, the Founder and Director of Kope Foundation, lived in Pader in 2011 to study whether youth, and especially former child soldiers, were finding livelihoods. Frankly, they weren’t. As a result, she vowed to return one day to Pader to create jobs, and ultimately to help foster long- term peace in the region.
Pader is a rural community with soft rolling hills and a semi-tropic climate. Most people there farm and most can only grow enough to eat, not to sell. (This is called subsistence farming.) The area is predominantly made up of the Acholi tribe, most of whom are Born-Again Christians. The population is 230,000 in the District but one wouldn’t know it as many villages are located far from main roads and the town centers are small collections of basic shops. Like the rest of Uganda, the majority of the population is under 18 and there is a high rate of HIV/AIDS.

Empowerment.

“Kope” is a response to a greeting and means “Nothing is wrong, I’m fine” in the Lwo language, spoken by the people with whom Kope works. We want the people of Pader to feel empowered when working with Kope Foundation, not “helped.”

Kope works with the Acholi people, who primarily make up Pader, Uganda.

The Acholi people have lived in Northern Uganda for over 300 years and are decendents of the nomadic Lwo ethnic group. Most notably, the Acholi are “northerners” in Uganda in contrast to “southerners” which hold most of the seats in the government. As one can imagine, the Acholi drastically under-represented in and under-served by Uganda’s government, headed by one of the longest-standing dictators in Africa.

The LRA war—Africa’s longest war(CITE to https://www.theguardian.com/katine/2007/oct/20/about.uganda)—was led by Joseph Kony, the subject of the most viral video of all time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc). The stories of this war are sometimes unbelievable, and unimaginably gruesome. The Lord’s Resistance movement was first fueled by religious and political motives, but ultimately turned into an attack against defenseless civilians. Over 20,000 children were abducted to become child soldiers and thousands of people were killed, tortured or dismembered.

The LRA war ended in 2009 but continues to affect life in Pader even 10 years later. We want to move these people and the community beyond that dark time by giving them something simple—hope for a better future.

In Uganda, youth make up the majority of the population—73% of the population is below the age of 30 and 55% is below the age of 18. The unemployment rate for these youth was once at 83% and higher education does little to improve youths’ chance of employment in Uganda. In rural areas, employment is even harder to find, thus many return to their villages to help their family farm.

Thanks for asking. Over 90% goes directly to Uganda. The other 5-10% goes toward 501(c)3 registration fees and the cost of operating this website. Stacey, the only non-Ugandan involved in Kope Foundation’s operations, is strictly a volunteer.

Bake for Peace was the seedling that grew to Kope Foundation. Bake for Peace was an initiative organized by Stacey Nelson, the Founder and Director of Kope. The goal was to fund and operate a bread factory in Pader to create jobs and localize bread production to Pader’s advantage. As such, the mission of Kope Foundation remains the same as that of Bake for Peace and the bread project is part and parcel of that mission.