Ugandan project takes a long look at ending poverty
Clubs in Belgium and Uganda are working together to bring health and bounty to impoverished villagers. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Muyenga
Rotarians from the clubs of Muyenga, Uganda, and Genk-Noord, Belgium, are using a multi-faceted approach to bring long-term economic stability to a rural region in Uganda.
Poverty, hunger, and disease often form a vicious cycle, one leading to the next. It's rare for a single project to address all three.
But in 2009, the Ugandan and Belgian clubs launched a multiyear project in Kasamu-Kyali parish in Uganda's Mpigi District, to improve the lives of 4,000 villagers by providing treated mosquito nets, water boreholes and pumps, agricultural supplies and livestock, vocational training and equipment, and educational materials and uniforms.
The US$250,000 project is supported by a Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grant from The Rotary Foundation. Clubs in districts 1630, 1720, 3100, and 9200 are also supporting the project.
To help guarantee the project's sustainability, project organizers formed partnerships with Heifer International, Uganda's Ministry of Health, and the Mpigi district and town councils, all of which pledged to support the project over the long term.
Additional help is coming from a cadre of Rotary Community Corps (RCC) volunteers, who formed 10 subcommittees, each overseeing a different aspect of the project, including finance, livestock, and water distribution.
"The villagers are delighted to be part of the Rotary fraternity," Francis Mukasa, a member of the Muyenga club, says of the RCC.
The newly irrigated community farm provides both food and cash crops, while also teaching new agricultural technology, planting methods, and animal husbandry.
Educational needs are being met not only for school-age children but also for adults in the village who lack literacy and business development skills.
Newly purchased sewing machines are being used to create school uniforms for children and mosquito bed nets for villagers.
"This is no drop in the ocean," says Marc Molemans, a member of the Genk-Noord club. "This has to serve the whole community for as long as possible [and] hopefully will help future generations."
Molemans and Mukasa share lessons they learned from this project in the July 2009 issue of