With the remarkable income generation opportunities emerging in northern Uganda, and as the guns went silent in the region, and the growth of micro-economic projects started to increase; GWED-G realized the need to introduce the concept of group sector-led economic development to the youth of the region, with an emphasis on modernization, mechanization and commercialization of their products.
The goal of this approach will be to help the youths emerge into this new age with sustainable domestic productivity, savings, investment and greater market opportunities. A coherent and coordinated approach to project management towards food security is needed in order to make sure that these young adults are able to acquire skills in innovation needed to be successful in various agricultural productions.
For the larger community engaged in post-conflict recovery, the transition from war to development has taken a great deal of time but these youths, (Oryem Cam Ki Pur) guided by GWED-G, have beaten the odds and have been able to move toward development. This was in part a result of GWED-G's training which supported youths with their selection, planning and management of their income generating activities (IGAs). This training included lessons in peace building, human rights, gender base violence and entrepreneurship. With the skills and knowledge that the youths have acquired, Oryem Cam Ki Pur youth group developed their value chain analysis and embarked on rice cultivation as one of their IGAs to raise income which will be distributed among all of the group members.
Oryem Cam Ki Pur youth group planted fifteen acres of rice in the first planting season of March-June 2014. Now they have started harvesting their rice and currently have twenty-five bags of rice that are in their store and are ready to be sold.
One of the world’s greatest writers, Charles Darwin, said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” The training on human rights, good governance and civic education created opportunities for women to be part of the community decision making process. This was confirmed by Charles, a member of the group who said that the women of the community are now the driving force behind most of these economic successes because they figured out how to sacrifice their time to see that wedding and harvesting are done jointly in order to maximize their success. Women are becoming active advocates of human rights not only within their youth group but also in the larger communities in which they live. One good example of this can be seen when looking at the Oryem Cam Ki Pur youth group, since most of the top positions in the group are occupied by women. This has allowed these women to gain respect from their communities because they have proven themselves capable of quality leadership, hard work, and boundless dedication to this youth group that they serve.
Even though this project targets the youth groups specifically, the impact of this program is also intended to affect the individual members of the group as well. Hence apart from the group Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) and group farming, each member has started their own individual income generating activity depending on their personal choice and research. The youths said that they decided to create their own individual projects after GWED-G gave them training on entrepreneurship skills.
To the community, these groups are becoming roles models, and are helping to drive away the negative attitude that the community has towards the youth. Besides cultivation, there are regular sensitivity trainings in the community on peace building, human rights, domestic violence and agricultural practices that can help the community to not only succeed economically but also help them to move forward as a cohesive social group.
It's now been a year that we have actively fundraised through GlobalGiving and we are now closing this chapter in our fundraising efforts. At this time we want to thank those who have contributed toward our project and invite you to consider one last gift to support these youth. In one week, on November 10th, we plan to deactivate this project. Gifts, no matter how large or small affect the productivity and spirits of the youth considerably. A small contribution goes a long way. Again, we thank you so much for your support.