Joel and Sharon Odongo

TANU's story and purpose

TANU is a community based organisation operating in the rural area of Adamasiko in the Soroti District, Teso sub region in Eastern Uganda. The purpose is to provide skills and business training for marginalised and impoverished youth and women, to enable them to realise their potential to become social entrepreneurs and create a life of abundance for themselves and others.

TANU was founded by Joel Odongo, pictured here with his wife Sharon. He grew up in a remote village with his grandparents, initially paid his way through school by making bricks and was then sponsored and completed a degree in IT. He set up an IT business, renting a small shop in Soroti. However, in December 2018, thieves broke in and stole everything. He returned home devastated. He sold his bicycle to rent a small building in Adamasiko and set up TANU. He was donated sewing machines and other tools. Now they have students learning tailoring, construction and carpentry. They built a small church at the request of the community, making their own interlocking compressed earth bricks.

Why TANU exists

Over the last four decades, the rural communities of the Teso region have suffered raids from the LRA, then the Karamojong (cattle raiders) and government troops. As a result the region is one of the poorest in Uganda, itself one of the poorest countries in the world. Nationally, poverty has halved in the last 25 years to an average of 25% in extreme poverty. But this disguises major regional disparity: in Northern and Eastern Uganda extreme poverty has increased in the last decade and is now 84%.  

Rural dwellers lack reliable and sustainable sources of income to meet basic needs such as quality education. Unemployment is especially high among unskilled youth and women, which can lead to crime, prostitution, early marriages, high child labour, alcoholism and drug addiction. There is a lack of skills for business development or employment, no government support, and limited NGO intervention.

What TANU provides

TANU provides high quality low cost vocational training for youth and women in rural and sub-urban areas; and develops personal and entrepreneurial skills to enable them to set up businesses able to support them and create job opportunities for others.

TANU introduces them to a design thinking process, provides  team and individual coaching and SMART goals a with a follow up mentorship program.


TEN was introduced to TANU in March 2021. One key area of support was when new premises was urgently needed. TANU students provided the bricks and labour and TEN provided the costs to build a beautiful Skills Centre with two training rooms, offices and storage (see banner image above). TEN has also helped TANU meet some keys needs:

  • Business start up training
  • Business start up loans
  • New tools via Tools With A Mission
  • Solar power, inverter and batteries
  • Bursaries for some unable to pay the $30 / term fees
  • A women's hostel to enable women to come from further afield
  • Help to become a Dorcas Dress Hub, making high quality dresses for export
  • A fish farm to train people in this business and generate income.

The future

Our aim is for TANU to make a difference and become be fully self sufficient. When the fish farm in in full production we believe TANU will be fully financially self sufficient.

See the News section for further updates including a visit from Jerry Marshall in 2022 here.

Transformational Enterprise Network is a CIO, registered in England and Wales, Charity Number 1194973
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