Gertrude Gum is a 25year old from Northern Uganda who developed the idea for Letasi Oils and crafted and implemented it in 2020 having realized the effects of the first lockdown on young mother’s especially. In March 2021 Letasi Oils was registered as a Community Based Organisation and followed this with success in winning a prize worth $6000 from the Samasource organization after a competition to find the best community organization with the most creative idea. Since then Letasi Oils has been able to contract 15 young mothers to help with oil extraction. With this group the social aims of the company are implemented in encouraging healthy living, boosting self-esteem, building the skills of the young mothers and creating solid employment opportunities.
Gertrude heads the company and is supported by two permanent employees; Norman Odur in charge of marketing and Ogaba Moritz in charge of customer relations.The most important group of employees is the fifteen women from the Mon Te Yat Savings and Credit Co-operative in Gulu. This group of local ladies sell who traditionally sell goods under a tree at a busy trading centre.
The purposes of the organisation is to empower young mothers and to promote self-esteem among them and also to provide employment opportunities and promote healthy living. Like many startups Letasi Oils does face many challenges. Primary among them are the limited capital available to a new business which at times hinders the production process; market trends; especially during the Pandemic and product popularity when times are hard. To address these issues the business trio conduct online marketing via their social media pages and to encourage orders they offer their customers a discount and free delivery within Gulu. For those across the country the free delivery is available when goods are bought in bulk.
Gertrude and her team are “striving to change their world by building a wider awareness of the abilities of the young mothers who have struggled over the years with stigmatization within the community through giving them the opportunity to change their narrative by skilling them and as well them earning from it.”
Gertrude tells us that “another key aspect of Letasi oils’ strategy is our support for the environment and their campaign to sensitize the community through the promotion of Afforestation and Agriculture projects within the community as our products are made from crops and trees.”
“ The residue from our production process is dried and packaged as food called Lakoro Koro (ground raw dry simsim paste). This can them be used in the community.
In looking at different ways to do business Letasi Oils has created a culture of transparency with its customers to get honest on feedback about its services, free delivery within Gulu; discounts and gifts for our loyal customers. Creating a culture of healthy living is important and the products are rich in vitamins E and B6 with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to ensure skin glow, skin healing, skin elasticity ,anti-aging ,disinfecting wounds and mouth freshening.
The word Letasi is taken from the local language in Northern Uganda from a tribe called the Lugbara, it means “With love.”