Washington, DC (March 31, 2021) – Through a competitive funding process, The Market Project, a global anti-human trafficking nonprofit headquartered in Portland, Oregon and Washington, DC, has been awarded $51,996 by the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) under a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Department of State. In partnership with Willow International, the award will provide trafficking victims and at-risk individuals with opportunities for stable employment and trauma healing in northern Uganda.

“Over 60% of our current workforce at Nguvu Dairy reports experiences of complex trauma. The need to provide survivors of trauma and exploitation with dignity, life-affirming work in northern Uganda is great,” said Dorothy Taft, The Market Project’s Executive Director. “With these additional resources, The Market Project and Nguvu Dairy will be able to offer more opportunities for employment and trauma healing for survivors of exploitation.”

With the funding from GFEMS, over the life of the 21-month project The Market Project will build two new distribution sites and employ at least 30 Ugandans in a trauma-informed work environment. In 2016, The Market Project launched Nguvu Dairy, a for-profit business registered in Uganda, to provide sustainable, market-based, entry-level jobs for youth (though not age-restricted) to sell affordable and nutritious dairy products in northern Ugandan communities. Nguvu’s mission is to deliver quality, fresh products made with local milk, provide products with better nutrition and create dignity-affirming jobs.

Central to the business plan is providing a trauma-informed work environment that utilizes a strengths-based approach to trauma healing for all employees. Offering market-based, stable jobs in supportive work environments for men and women in northern Uganda will bring enduring stability to communities as opportunities are offered to trauma survivors and those who might otherwise be vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.

“Increasing the reach of rehabilitation and reintegration programs for survivors of labor trafficking and at-risk populations is a key priority area for us. In partnership with Willow and The Market Project, we will support implementing best-in-class standards of trauma-informed care and survivor-led approaches to reintegrating survivors of overseas forced labor in Uganda,” said GFEMS Director of Grant Programs, Rebecca Buchanan, PhD.


The Market Project (TMP) helps men and women find hope and flourish through safe, dignity-affirming, healing work. The Market Project utilizes a market-driven approach to create profitable businesses that offer stable jobs and support healing for survivors of trauma, exploitation, and trafficking. For more Information about The Market Project, visit


Willow International’s mission is to eradicate human trafficking and restore the lives of survivors. Willow’s aftercare model specifically addresses the barriers of Ugandan forced labor workers returning home to successfully reintegrate into their communities. Its programs were developed in Uganda, specifically in response to the needs of victims of overseas migrant labor trafficking. Willow has proven results, strong government relationships, and a network of expert partners. For more Information about Willow, visit


The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery is a bold international fund catalyzing a coherent global strategy to end human trafficking by making it economically unprofitable. With leadership from government and the private sector around the world, the Fund is escalating resources, designing public-private partnerships, funding new tools and methods for sustainable solutions, and evaluating effectiveness to better equip our partners to scale and replicate solutions in new geographies. For more information about GFEMS, visit


The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) leads the Department’s global efforts to combat modern slavery through the prosecution of traffickers, the protection of victims, and the prevention of human trafficking by: objectively analyzing government efforts and identifying global trends, engaging in and supporting strategic bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeting foreign assistance to build sustainable capacity of governments and civil society, advancing the coordination of federal anti-trafficking policies across agencies, managing and leveraging operational resources to achieve strategic priorities, and engaging and partnering with civil society, the private sector, and the public to advance the fight against human trafficking.

This press release was made possible through support provided by the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery under a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of State.

Leading by Example

Guiding Businesses to Become Trauma-Informed

A new report by The Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (GBCAT) highlights the work of The Market Project in creating “trauma-informed” businesses for survivors of human trafficking.  GBCAT is a business-led initiative committed to preventing and reducing the incidence of human trafficking and other forms of slavery in their operations and global supply chains, as well as supporting survivors of exploitation. The guide, Empowerment and Employment of Survivors of Human Trafficking: A Business Guide, was written by the non-profit BSR and made possible by GBCAT.

To be “trauma-informed” means to acknowledge the trauma an individual has experienced and to connect that lived history with their symptoms and behaviors.[1] The Market Project uses that awareness to improve the workplace environment for the benefit of both the employees and the business.

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Harnessing the Private Sector as a Force For Good

Council on Foreign Relations Blog, October 21, 2020

An October 2020 Council on Foreign Relations blog, “Revitalizing Human Trafficking Policy Twenty Years In,” highlights the work of The Market Project to harness the power of the marketplacemeet needs of local communities, and teach trafficking survivors transferrable skills.  

Authors Olivia Enos and Mark Lagon write, 

“Civil society is key to overcoming trafficking…. One organization, The Market Project, provides opportunities to survivors of trauma to become a part of fully operational, market-based businesses and equips them with skills that offer survivors hope and a future.” 

Consistent with the recommendations by Enos and LagonThe Market Project seeks to work in partnership with the business community, as well as civic and faith actors, “toward advancing universal values of dignity and equality. 

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Keeping Parents Working Keeps Kids in School

Completing School Cuts Poverty

(Photos taken prior to pandemic.)

Education is a critically important tool in the fight to eradicate poverty. According to a recent study by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, world poverty could be cut in half if all adults completed secondary education.[1] Lack of access to education is a particularly grave problem in sub-Saharan African countries such as Uganda.

Rural Ugandan Children Missing Out on Education

Education is highly valued among Ugandan families, and yet nationwide only 67% of children enrolled in primary school will complete it.[2] Many are missing out of basic schooling due to their family’s limited resources and inability to pay the required school fees.

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Teamwork Shines at Nguvu Dairy

Meet Nguvu Dairy’s production team!* Robina, Johnson, Magino, Bridget, Morris, Teopista, Agnes and James are responsible each week for transforming 2,700 liters of milk into strawberry, lemon and vanilla yogurt.

Sales staff on bicycles with coolers full of yogurt fan out from Gulu and four other towns in northern Uganda to sell to townspeople and villagers. Particularly during the coronavirus pandemic when supply chains have been disrupted and food is often scarce, Nguvu’s yogurt improves the nutrition of these stressed communities.

Production leader Robina Aling ensures the team consistently makes high-quality and delicious yogurt. Each team member goes through three levels of training. This training covers sanitation, milk testing and pasteurization, yogurt fermentation and production, and supply and inventory management.  Team members are tested for medical fitness and must be free from diseases such as typhoid and other diarrheal food-borne illnesses. Medical certificates from the local health inspector are posted in the production area. Regular testing from Uganda’s Dairy Development Authority ensures that Nguvu’s produces yogurt that meets national standards.


*Robina, Magino & Bridget are grateful for the chance to work hard and support themselves.

Nguvu is proud of its creamy product which has a reputation in the region for being the best, delicious yogurt. Over many months Robina has worked hard to develop her skills to become a production leader. Nguvu takes pride in the professional training of each team member.  The stable, supportive job means men and women learn new skills and find their strengths.

Survivors of trauma find new hope at Nguvu Dairy, a for-profit, locally-
run business started by The Market Project. We could not do this life-changing work
without your support.

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*Photos taken prior to pandemic.

Improved Dairy and Livestock Management Grows Farmer Income and Food Security

Poverty, Poor Farming Practices Hamper Food and Dairy Production

Food insecurity has increased in many rural areas of East Africa in recent years due to poverty, subsistence farming, and climate change. Recently, dairy farmers throughout Northern Uganda have only been able to produce 2.4 billion liters of milk per year rather than the 10 billion predicted as the country’s potential for 2019.[1] In many cases, these dairy farmers are running small operations in rural areas, with little access to value-adding processing and packaging equipment. For most East African countries, at least 40% (and up to 70%) of GDP comes from the agricultural sector, meaning that the impact of increased food insecurity experienced by the dairy industry is vast.[2]

Data from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) suggests that dairy production in Uganda is mostly based in rural regions and run by small-scale farmers. As of August 2019, the IFC estimated that “only 20 percent of Uganda’s milk output is processed.”[3] This implies that much milk in the region is consumed quickly and sold interpersonally.

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Ugandans Struggle to Feed Their Families in the Time of Coronavirus

Uganda Suffering Severe Economic Disruption

Uganda like many countries has experienced severe economic disruption and instability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the country, as of June 2020, had a relatively low number of reported coronavirus cases, the virus has most severely impacted the business environment. In particular, Uganda’s dairy industry, including companies like Nguvu Dairy, has suffered in unique ways throughout this crisis.

According to recent statistics from Uganda’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown have caused business activity to drop by at least 50% in Uganda and throughout East Africa. Small and medium-sized businesses have suffered the brunt of the impact[1] due to restrictions on transportation and trade.

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Face Shields Defend Against COVID-19

Takataka Workers with Face Shields Against COVID 19

Hospitals in northern Uganda are woefully under-equipped to fight COVID-19. Most personnel work on the frontlines in public hospitals without any personal protective equipment. An insufficient number of disposable medical masks are the staff’s only protection as they treat patients.

Paige Balcom and Peter Okwoko are co-founders of Takataka Plastics, a social impact enterprise that is conducting research on plastic products marketable to builders and do-it-yourself homeowners in Uganda. Takataka’s engineers are designing and testing various building materials made from Uganda’s plastic waste. The Market Project provides business mentoring as Takataka Plastics explores how to create jobs and recycle the plastic waste that is abundant in Uganda.

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The Market Project Supports Nguvu Dairy’s COVID-19 Response

Nguvu Sales Bikes with masks

The coronavirus is hitting Uganda hard. The country’s coronavirus lockdown, one of the most strict in the world, has thus far limited the spread of the virus – but at an extremely high cost. With a nightly curfew and a ban on passenger vehicles, people are unable to get to town centers or travel to their villages to buy food. Compounding the problem, middlemen are hoarding foodstuffs, and prices of food and other basics have nearly doubled.

For the urban and rural poor already living on the edge, many are more fearful they will die of hunger than from the virus. 

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