Community meeting, project orientation
The entire Kitovu Mobile staff and 250+ orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their families who will benefit from “Uganda: Empowering Orphans to Become Entrepreneurs” (hereafter referred to as, “Empowering Orphans”) have extended their sincere gratitude for your kind and generous support. As project manager, it has been a tremendously gratifying and illuminating experience to oversee this project. I would like to share with you the accomplishments of the project and allow you to understand the significant and long lasting impact you have had on the lives of so many OVC – – all without having to experience Malaria, nauseating roads, and endless bargaining with suppliers.
- 5 OVC in Kagamba Sub-County have received bicycles (3 more OVC await delivery). The OVC selected to receive bicycles are Group Leaders within their community and will use the bicycles to carry out various responsibilities to the other 98 OVC in Kagamba such as provide psychosocial support, distribute market information or organize agriculture trainings.
- 82 OVC in Kasaali Sub-County have received and are sharing a 7000-liter rainwater capture and storage system. Another is planned for Kagamba Sub-County to be built this month.
- 46 OVC in Kakuuto Sub-County have received 3 mature pigs that are expected to produce 32 piglets by next year marking the beginning of a profitable piggery project.
- Money has been set aside for crop seedlings and agricultural inputs that will be purchased when the next growing season arrives (around November/December) and will be distributed to OVC in Kagamba, Kasaali and Kakuuto Sub-County totaling 256 OVC.
- In the initial phases of the project, two surveys were conducted in Kakuuto and Kasaali Sub-County to obtain detailed information about the beneficiaries and their communities. Going into the surveys we expected to identify problems such as: transportation, access to water, income generation, food security, and medical expenditures. By going into greater detail in the surveys regarding household assets, income sources, and local market economics, we were able to not only confirm what we already knew about existing problems, but start to think critically about ways to address these problems with durable solutions. Some key data results are graphically represented below.
- We decided to build a community-scale, 7000-litre rainwater harvesting system instead of individually owned storage tanks. This was more economically efficient, allowing more OVC to access water at a lower cost.
- The locations of Kagamba Sub-County and Kakuuto Sub-County were specifically chosen because of a coinciding value addition investment made by a German organization Kindernothilfe. Kindernothilfe was working with Kitovu Mobile on adding value to agricultural products and donated a maize mill in each of the Sub-Counties for the OVC. The maize mill is collectively owned by the OVC in the area. I recognized this as an opportunity to combine Empowering Orphans with Kindernothilfe’s maize mill to maximize the impact of both projects through mutual integration. I think this offers the best chance of income generation significant enough to create funds for other projects.
Project Budget Allocation
Raised Funds: 3120
Rain Water Harvesting: 450
Internal Expenditures (transportation fuel, casual labor): 224
Farming Equipment: 234
Crop Seedlings: 1196
Total Expenditure: 3120
What is your impact?
Nakeyenga Rosemary (19) is a newly elected Group Leader in Kagamba Sub-County. She was elected to this position by the 106 Orphans and other Vulnerable Children (OVC) who were enrolled with or who have graduated with Rosemary from Kitovu Mobile Farm School in Kagamba. Rosemary, like any other OVC, has lost her parents to HIV & AIDS. Rosemary and seven other elected Group Leaders will be primarily responsible for 10-12 OVC classmates that have formed a Peer Support Group (PSG). Each PSG will meet twice a month to discuss and help each other with issues pertaining to farming, family, and personal affairs. The PSG will also contribute a small amount of money each month that will go in to a group fund. Once the amount is significant enough, the money will be deposited in a local micro-finance bank under the ownership of a community based organization (CBO) formed by each PSG. This money can help the group access loans to buy farming equipment and make investments in their lives. Using the bicycle, Rosemary will be able to travel to multiple group members in a day. If a certain group member is sick with Malaria and unable to work on his field, or unable to pay for medical treatment, Rosemary can travel to other group members to seek quick relief. Rosemary can meet with other Group Leaders up to 5 miles away to discuss recent events and forge sustainable strategies to deal with the problems at hand. If Rosemary and her group can work together over the next couple years, they may have saved enough money for everyone in the group to afford a bicycle with the long-term hope of supporting a family, sending children to school, and living the life that HIV & AIDS almost didn’t let them have.
The economics of an effective, long-term piggery project:
Piggery projects can be very effective in providing supplementary income to a large group of people. Empowering Orphans identified a piggery project as the project progressed as a way to generate income during the off-season (when crop production is low). To kick off the project, 3 Peer Support Groups ranging from 12-15 members will be given a mature pig. The 3 pigs (1 M, 2 F) cost a total of 400 dollars. Each PSG constructed a shelter for the pig and has received training from Kitovu Mobile Farm School on the best animal rearing practices. After 1.5 years an estimated 32 piglets will be produced. Each piglet can be sold after 2 months for up to 16 dollars. Some will be sold, and others will be strategically distributed between the other PSG’s in the sub-county (to avoid inbreeding). After 2 years the offspring can begin to produce, exponentially increasing the litter.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The investments made through Empowering Orphans were aligned with those of Kitovu Mobile Aids Organization to ensure that the impacts of the project can be monitored over the years to evaluate its effectiveness on improving the lives of OVC. Kitovu Mobile conducts quarterly field reports based on interviews with all OVC involved in the project. The information is brought back to the data department who write a report given to higher management.
In line with the environmental priorities addressed in the National Development Plan, Millennium Development Goals, Uganda environment policies, international climate objectives and in acknowledging that land is one of the most valuable assets of Uganda and a key to capacity building of people living with HIV and AIDS, Empowering Orphans strives to incorporate sound environmental practices into its project through minimizing negative environmental impacts and improving existing environmental conditions where possible.
Currently, Empowering Orphans ingrains issues of environmental protection and sustainability into its agricultural trainings. Beneficiaries are taught about soil preservation, animal and plant-waste recycling, natural fertilization, water conservation and rainwater harvesting and other organic farming techniques. Beneficiaries are also encouraged to plant native fruit trees to prevent deforestation and soil erosion.
Through a working relationship with Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD), the Project will continually benefit from young professionals and academics specializing in the issues of environmental protection who are dedicated to sharing knowledge, conducting research, and looking for ways to continue to improve on issues of environmental stewardship.
My gracious host, Kitovu Mobile Aids Organization
Kitovu Mobile AIDS Organization is a Faith Based Organization dealing in HIV and AIDS related activities. Kitovu was founded by the Medical Missionaries Mary (MMM) in 1987 as a response to the HIV and AIDS crisis in Rakai District with its vision to have an empowered community to cope with HIV and AIDS and its impacts. It accomplishes this through a providing medical services, training, mentorship and capacity building.
The Orphans and Family Support Program of Kitovu Mobile focuses on providing psychosocial care and support and capacity building for orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) and their families. It does this through a number of interventions, most notably the Mobile Farm School. This is a four-year training program concentrating in equipping trainees withs modern farming skills so that orphans and other vulnerable children can improve their income and food security and increase their capacity to cope with the psychosocial impacts of HIV and AIDs. The project has operated in 20 Sub Counties with 25 Mobile Farm Schools in the original districts of Masaka, Rakai and Ssembabule. The Mobile Farm School enrolls 100 Teenager School Drop Outs from each Sub-County into the four-year program.
Thank you for all the support.
Christopher T. Vance, Project Manager
Socio-economic survey of OVC
Purchasing bicycles for Kagamba Sub-County
Group Leaders from Kagamba
Discussion on value of team-work with OVC
Distribution of pigs to Peer Support Groups
Inspecting/admiring OVC-made pig sty
Underground rainwater harvester
A look into the rainwater collection tank
Being shown around hidden potholes by local guide
OVC group leader: Nakeyenga Rosemary
Kakuuto OVC group Farm School graduation