Lydia Nakayenze-Schubert and Susan Ejang spent their childhood in friendly competition to be the best in the classroom. Now over 25 years later, they’ve teamed up to create Moo Me Gen, a company specializing in Ugandan shea butter.
Lydia’s road to entrepreneurship involved her moving to Germany, earning an MBA, and discovering the market potential for Ugandan shea and essential oils. Susan’s path was far more difficult.
In 1996, 14-year-old Susan was abducted from her boarding school by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). They became known as the “Aboke girls,” and their plight drew the world’s attention to the tens of thousands of abducted children forced to be soldiers or wives for the LRA. After eight long years in captivity, Susan finally escaped.
Once free, Susan went to college and studied agriculture. She is from the heart of the African Shea Belt in Uganda, so when Lydia saw a business opportunity in shea butter, Susan was the perfect partner to make it a reality.
As they build their processing facility in Northern Uganda, it is evident that the scars from those dark years have not yet healed. The mass graves along the main road to the factory reflect decades of grief in the lives of those they meet. This is why Lydia and Susan named their company Moo Me Gen. It means “oils of hope.” Every time oil is mentioned in the Bible, it has to do with healing, renewal, hope, and purpose.
Lydia already had an MBA, but she was intrigued by Sinapis’ approach to Kingdom entrepreneurship tailored to her local context. Sinapis gave her new perspective on the community they work with. Education, wealth, and social status often accompany paved roads and access to power—things that are in short supply in the Ugandan Shea Belt. But the people living there are valuable to God. Sinapis taught Lydia to listen to them.
As they have sought input from the community, Moo Me Gen has been able to streamline the process, making life easier for the farmers and increasing their profitability. In turn, they have loyal suppliers who want them to succeed, even warning them of issues that they could not have otherwise foreseen.
As Susan buys shea from the farmers, she preaches hope. She preaches forgiveness. And in a place where so many have grown disillusioned, hearts and minds are beginning to believe in a better future.
Susan reflects, “I can’t change my past, but I can change my future. I hear people lamenting, and I use my testimony. I tell them what God can do if they choose to trust in Him. If I had not chosen to forgive and let go, then I couldn’t have done this.”
To read more stories from the 2018-2019 Annual Report, or to see the impact Sinapis entrepreneurs are having in their community, click here.