An intentional community in rural Uganda is drawing green technology, local resources, and old-school philosophy to create a thriving village.
Okere Mom-Kok was destroyed during the Ugandan Civil War in the 1980s but is now being rebuilt into a sustainable community thatis home to 4,000 people.
Okere City is based around sustainable principles like renewable energy and the sustainable harvesting of natural resources.
The village has a clinic, church, school, a nightclub that doubles as a community centre, markets, pubs, and a financial institution. Electricity generated through solar energy is available to everybody, and clean water—thanks to contemporary borehole methods— retains the all-too-normal cholera outbreaks in the area at bay.
An expert in international development and graduate of the London School of Economics, Ojok Okello started the job with a $54,000 investment from his own pocket. The village of Okere Mom-Kok was where he had a extended family, and it was during a visit that he decided to put what he learned in college to action.
“I don’t need this project to be at the mercy of some white folks,” Okello told The Guardian, explaining how he had seen many NGO-funded jobs on the continent neglect by not involving the very communities that they were helping.
“I want us to have business conversations with partners. I want us to be responsible for shaping the destiny and the future of the project. ”
“Shea could be our Vibranium”
While the Okere City project might conjure images of an equitable utopia, there’s a lot of business and banking understanding that Mr. Okello used to ensure the community could grow and survive.
All companies in the town pay for themselves—for example, the school allows pupils to cover up to half their tuition in sugar, beans, firewood, or other commodities, while the practice has flexible installment-billing policies. An Okere City investment club conducts a sort of credit union by taking members’ dues and supplying them as loans to people in the community who need them— often to develop local resources.
After the loans are repaid, the money is loaned out again, a style of banking locals describe as distinctively African.
However, the defining fiscal characteristic of Okere City is its shea trees.
I looked at [the shea tree] and recognized that we have this important natural resource and we were not harnessing it, Okello told The Guardian. “And I thought about [Marvel Cinema’s] Wakanda and Black Panther, they’d vibranium, this shea tree could be our vibranium. ”
“So I’m like: ‘Damn, I’m going to commit everything within my means to tap this resource, to protect [it], and to use it to emancipate my community. ”
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