Rosemary Mugerwa, 35, is many things: mother, wife, farmer, events manager and counselor.
Driven by the desire to achieve financial autonomy, she started growing coffee on 22 acres of land in Kapeeka, Nakaseke district, in October 2014. The interest to start coffee farming grew after she listened to Andrew Rugasira’s [of The African Coffee fame] journey with coffee whilst attending a session organised by World of Inspiration in 2013.
She took it up from here and went on a research spree, reading up on investing in coffee growing, coffee processing and marketing. She soon met a number of people in coffee production who helped turn her tables around for good.
First, she met Anthony Kinsambwe, working with the ministry of Agriculture, who aised her on how to prepare the land, and later Colonial Wamala, a renowned coffee farmer in Kapeeka, from whom she bought 1,200 coffee seedlings.
“Wamala introduced me to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority where I launched my business manifesto and I am anticipating a consignment of 8,600 coffee seedlings from the authority soon,” Mugerwa says, adding that the initial challenges included costly land clearing and leveling, laborious research and identification of a committed team to work with.
Her aim of starting a coffee farm was to create employment for the youth whilst availing an opportunity for demonstration for schools and researchers. For the future, she envisages turning it into a fully-fledged farm, harvesting coffee twice a year and herself being hired as a trainer for farmers.
Besides coffee, she also cultivates bananas, onions, cabbages and cassava.
Mugerwa is also the chief executive officer of Focus Group International, a counseling and training organisation which began in 2013. Together with others in the organisation, she aims to empower single mothers, teenagers and female youths to heal and overcome past problems and improve their relationships.
“We are currently experiencing a problem of absentee mothers, and through counseling, we aim to bring women to the realisation of their responsibilities and values. This is in a bid to improve overall parenting,” she explains.
As part of the organisation’s activities, seminars dealing in a range of topics, such as self-esteem, forgiveness and achievement are organised. On May 16, 2015, the organisation will host a Lady’s Guide convention.
Additionally, outreaches to secondary schools and universities are also conducted.
Under her business portfolio, she also boasts of MD Sounds, an events planning and management company which she started in 2007.
“This was started solely out of my love for music, and I started off by hiring out my equipment for birthday parties. Now, I organise and equip events for organisations such as URA, KCCA, TASO and several schools,” she says with pride.
From just one sound machine, MD Sounds has grown into owning more than seven music systems and Mugerwa plans to put up a dance hall in her drive to expand the business.
Mugerwa is the last born of Mary Frances Nakabbitto and Matthias Ntambi’s 10 children. Orphaned at a tender age, she was raised by her uncle, Bishop Matthias Ssekamanya, the former bishop of Lugazi diocese.
Her fondest memories of him are as a father figure who exposed her to as many people and as much information as possible.
“Every holiday, he took me for camps and provided me with a lot of literature on things like condoms and abortion. He constantly warned me against the dangers of engaging in early sex. I become his most trusted child, because I always heeded to his aice,” she recollects.
She attended Nkumba primary school and Trinity College Nabbingo for O and A-level, where she completed in 1996. During her senior six vacation, she worked as a librarian at St Theresa Girls SS Bwanda, before joining Makerere University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Fine Art. She graduated in 2003.
She later pursued a postgraduate diploma in Education. Before becoming self-employed, she worked at the former Uganda Television (UTV) and New Vision as a graphics designer and later as a banking and loans officer at Centenary bank, where she spent nine years.
She resigned her bank job in June 2011 to engage in selling ‘Forever Living,’ a range of health supplement products, before establishing her counseling organisation and coffee farm.
During her free time, Mugerwa enjoys dancing, cooking and making friends.
Source : The Observer