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High up near the slopes of Mt. Elgon, a towering mountain in rural Uganda, lies a family of coffee farmers that believed their passion could do more than provide for their family, but also make a meaningful impact on their local community.

{{ Who: Wadamba and Nafuna Oliver {+} Growing: Coffee Beans {+} Where: Mt. Elgon, Uganda }} 

Wadamba and Nafuna Oliver were childhood sweethearts who married and began growing coffee on their 4-acre farm in 1988. They’re grateful to be able to support their six children through their coffee farming business, but not everyone in their community has been so fortunate.

[The problem]

The Mt. Elgon region doesn’t have many schools, and kids in the Olivers’ community are forced to walk long distances to get their education. Many eventually drop out to work instead, leading to young women getting married and pregnant before they’re ready to support themselves and their families.

[The solution]

To Wadamba and Nafuna, this was a challenge with a clear solution: open a school in the community so kids, and young women in particular, could complete their education and access more opportunities to create strong financial footing. With young daughters themselves, they knew they had to make it happen. [How we’re helping] Beginning in 2015, our impact investment team partnered with the Olivers and other Mt. Elgon coffee farmers to help find ways to improve their farming practices, produce higher-quality coffee, and ultimately sell beans for a higher price.

Using their increased coffee income, the Olivers hired teachers and began operating a small school for a few dozen kids out of their home. By 2020, their student count had reached over 250 local children (many of whom also belong to coffee growing families). The profits from their business go to paying teachers and providing meals to the students.