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There are over 6 billion people in the world living in poverty. 6 Billion! Current approaches aren't working. They are not sustainable or scalable, because they cost too much.  They also are ineffective in that they don't treat people with respect - a remnant from the colonization process. There is a need for an alternative way. Up with Africa (UW/A) is partnering with Mauricio Miller of The Community Independence Independance (CII) to bring such an alternative approach to the continent of Africa. Mauricio wrote a book called The Alternative, which describes his personal story as an immigrant watching his family and friends bind together to rise out of poverty by believing in themselves and helping each other. He pioneered this in Oakland, California and spread it across the U.S., and has recently brought it to the country of Liberia in Africa. UW/A is now bringing it to other parts of Africa starting with three initiatives in Uganda and one in the DR Congo. The projects below are from the initiative in Bunagana/DR CONGO. Bunagana is a small commercial town in Rutshuru territory, North-Kivu province, in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the border with Uganda.

So what does this new way involve? It involves believing that people in poverty are the true best experts of their own lives - that they know best how to help themselves and their communities. It includes those of us who want to help coming alongside them to understand what their hopes and dreams are, and bringing whatever resources we have to bear to help them achieve their goals. It involves a belief that true and lasting change only comes from the people themselves. It keeps them in the drivers seat in creating a better life for themselves and their communities.

We call this type of helping Peer-Driven Change and we believe it is the only sustainable and scalable way to reach and help the billions of people living in poverty around the world. Peer-driven change occurs when families identify their own goals and lead their own change, and subsequently break the negative stereotypes that exists about families living in poverty.

UW/A invests $250 per family over a year period, and provides access to other assistance in the following years, including this funding platform. Peers do everything else. To access these dollars, families commit to document their self-identified goals and account for how they accomplished them in monthly surveys. The survey entries and comparison data help peers keep track of what they have done each month and identify where they can do more. And they allow we helpers to learn how these amazing families work together to help each other to create better lives for themselves, their children and their communities.

UW/A and its partner organizations have developed this platform to enable others to help through financial contributions that all go directly to the local family-run businesses and projects. All contributions to the projects are tax deductible in the United States (you will receive an email documenting your tax deductible donation for tax purposes). 100% of your contribution goes directly to the businesses you choose to support.

We invite you to learn more about the projects and family businesses below by choosing a category of interest, and clicking it to learn more about that area, along with the projects listed in that category. Click on a project to get detailed information about the project, and click on the Contribute or Invest button in the right hand corner to contribute to that specific project.  



Where Are the Projects?