She turned misfortune into a fortune

Tuesday February 12 2013

A section of Dr Gadula’s campsite in Kira Town

A section of Dr Gadula’s campsite in Kira Town Council. Photo By Rachel Mabala  

By Matsiko Kahunga

not your ordinary farm. It is a serene get-away for a quiet reflection, a practical demonstration site for biogas energy, a children’s holiday campsite, an entrepreneur - incubation centre, all rolled into one.

“...when we were attacked by thieves one night, one question kept ringing in our minds...what prompts these young people to risk their lives...’?, Is how the co-founder, Dr Gudula Naiga Basaza, introduces her unique management style and terms of employment for her workers.

Part of the motivation behind the founding of this farm was to create employment and build skills for young people, “who normally risk their lives into crime, because they have nothing to live for and nothing to lose”, she says.

The employees at this farm are self-managed, since it is in their interest to excel at whatever each one is doing.
They have an overall supervisor, but at the end of the week, each employee evaluates their own performance.
‘It is common to hear someone say, this week; I did not perform to expectation’; she talks of her employees.
Currently numbering 25, each one works for a maximum of three years, with one key provision: each must use the skills and expertise acquired at the farm, to start their own business.
Since 2008 when the farm was started, the pioneer employees are now established with their own businesses and some still come back to take part in the many activities at the farm.

Another form of social entrepreneurship is a provision that allows the neighbouring community to grow vegetables on allocated plots, which they sell to the farm restaurant and external consumers.
The human face of this business gets more pronounced when one learns that the founders decided to abandon rice-growing, for aquaculture, because rice-growing affected the health of the workers.
‘It was a profitable business, but it was injurious to people’s health,” she adds.

Leisure Farm?
Yes. Leisure is one of the product offers at Gudie’s Leisure Farm. Located in a quiet, gently sloping lowland in Najjeera, the farm has a variety of leisure activities for each category of visitors.
Sport fishing is one popular activity for visitors to Gudie’s. And besides leisure gardens, there is a foot-track around the farm that is long enough for a relaxing walkway, a morning and evening trot or reflective pacing.

‘This meets one of our core objectives, namely promotion of physical fitness’, explains the UWEAL chairperson, as she takes us around the tracks.

Children enjoy rides on donkey-back and in carts. There are also facilities for reflection on purposeful living, both individual and assisted reflection through think tank discussions.

Educative campsite
The major entreprises on the farm is fish farming, poultry, piggery and horticulture, with a target of supplying 13.5 tonnes of fish per week and 500 broilers per day.
After challenges of uncontrolled breeding of fish in ponds, today cage-rearing of only male fish ensures managed growth and harvesting.

The symbiosis across the enterprises ensures that nothing goes to waste. ‘On the educative part, we want children to learn that chicken, fish, and other food come from the garden, not the supermarket or the fridge, while adults learn skills in aquaculture , poultry and piggery, ’she adds.

During holidays, students and pupils attend camps, each focusing on a particular theme, that include life-skills, entrepreneurship, leadership, communication, academic excellence, and related themes.
These are facilitated by people who have excelled in particular fields, as they help the youth acquire skills and set life goals.

Who is Dr Gudula
Married to Dr Robert Basaza of Makerere Medical School and co-director at the farm, Ms Basaza is a member of the Dfcu Women Advisory Council, chairperson of Uganda Women Entrepreneur’s Association Limited, Holy Family Association; a PHF Rotarian, among other responsibilities.

She holds a PhD in ICT, from the University of Ghent, Belgium, an Msc in Education University of York, and a Bsc, Makerere University.