January 2016: Sustain for Life, along with local partner Send a Cow Uganda (SACU), has embarked on an 18 month pilot project to work with the 200 poorest and most marginalised families in Bulopa, Kumuli District, Uganda. The project will empower the targeted families to achieve food security, develop sustainable livelihoods and become economically, socially and environmentally resilient. We will work with the beneficiaries to improve their chances of income generation; challenge and address gender and social inequalities; adopt good hygiene and sanitation practices and develop health seeking behaviours.
In Kamuli, 80% of the population depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Many are paid a pittance to work as farmer labourers; others have lost access to land which brings in very little money for life’s basics such as food and health. Those people that do work their own land often have no surplus or lack the know-how to farm effectively or market produce. The families that we will target through this project live on an average of $0.35/day. Health and social problems are also rife in the targeted community including malnutrition, parasites, HIV/AIDs, discrimination against the vulnerable, polygamy, and sexual and alcohol abuse.
As part of the project, the 200 families will be divided into five community groups, each with elected leaders who will act as mentors and help their community identify key local problems and inequalities and work on collective solutions. Each group will also elect two volunteer Peer Trainers who will be given the tools and education to teach others a range of skills including sustainable organic agriculture (SOA) and how to establish kitchen gardens. Selected households will also be trained in animal management and receive dairy cows for nutrition and income and each recipient family will then be committed to passing on their animal management training to six more families.
Vulnerable groups will also be provided with education and training on hygiene and sanitation through the project and taught how to use locally available materials to prevent diseases like cholera and dysentery. Health campaigns will be run to treat people against jiggers, worms and other parasitic diseases and target families will be taken on exposure visits so that they can share and learn how to better their own living conditions. Life and livelihood skills will be offered so that beneficiaries will be helped to develop capacity in decision making and relate positively to others without fear of discrimination. The community will also receive education in family planning and reproductive health training, which will focus on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.
Update: please watch the video below to see how lives in Kamuli have been transformed since we first embarked on this inspirational community development project with Send a Cow Uganda.