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A Green Town where Social Enterprises Responsibly Harness the Shea Tree

Okere City began in January 2019. Its 200 hectares (500 acres) feature a school, a health clinic, a village banT and a community hall that also serves as a cinema, a church and a nightclub. Electricity is available to all, generated from solar energy – a rarity in the region – and far from the many outbreaks of cholera which were rampant years ago, there is now clean water from a borehole. Pupils at the school pay half their fees in cash, and the rest in maize, beans, sugar and firewood. The clinic lets people pay their bills in instalments. The local security man wields a spear, an unusual sight in an area where many men idle around as women shoulder most of the paid and unpaid work. Okello is funding the project from his own pocket. Last year, it cost $37,000. The London School of Economics graduate and development expert had worked for several international charities and NGOs but grew disillusioned seeing projects fail because, he says, communities were not involved in decisions about their own future. Okere now generates revenue. Every project, from the school to the local bar, can fund itself, something that has been possible because the project is being built not as a charity, but as a social enterprise, Okello says.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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