MBALE – The Mbale Epicenter community has officially reached all 3 criteria required to declare self-reliance, the ultimate goal of The Hunger Project’s Epicenter Strategy.
This becomes the third Epicenter in Uganda to be led to self-reliance after Kiruhura and Kiboga in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Dr Daisy Owomugasho, the regional director for The hunger project said a community is declared self-reliant when it has the resources and skills needed to continue the work started by The hunger projects, independent of The Hunger Project.
She explained that the criteria include reaching a minimum of 80 for their self-reliance score; having a land title; and being legally recognised as a community development organisation.
“We can share Mbale Epicentre’s final self-reliance score –the highest seen yet among the first group of Epicentres that have reached self-reliance!) Mbale is the third Epicenter in Uganda to reach self-reliance after,” Said Dr Owomugasho.
While addressing stakeholders, politicians, civil servants and the community at Busoba 6 November during the celebrations to mark the self-reliance for The Hunger Project, Mbale, Dr Owomugasho described the occasion as a testament to what Nalondo village can make possible without investors.
“It gives me great joy of what the community can do in their power, using their own resources to end hunger and poverty it also showcases the work of THP-U within Mbale epicenter community,” added Dr Owomugasho.
This epicenter has been handed over to the Mbale community and Mbale district local government at 87.07% individuals within the catchment area able to report that ability to report the ability to change their communities compared to 23% in 2007 while 92.34% of Mbale households have at least one literate person compared to 63.15% before the birth of The THP-programme.
She as The Hunger project-Uganda they particularly acknowledge Mr Colin Tate,The chief Executive officer Conexus Financial and Mr Gary hardwick for leading the consortium of investors from Western Australia that have partnered with, and funded, the Mbale Epicentre under The hunger project-Uganda.
We now leave the Epicenter self-reliant with a fully-fledged health centre, primary school with 188 pupils, Food store, a community SACCO with Shs 214M loan portfolio with a membership of 2048, 2 acre demonstration for maize, beans and other crops.
Mr Colin Tate who accompanied his family members, friends and his father from Australia and California for the function said When your investment enables The Hunger Project to train one person, the ripple effect it catalyses is far-reaching: to their children and spouses, to their neighbours and to the wider community.
“And I want to take this opportunity to thank The Hunger Project’s approach utilizing this investment well to this level of creating self-reliance in the communities,” said Mr Tate.
He explained that The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty and that wherever they have worked; their programs aim to support women and build their capacity.
He noted that ending hunger in Uganda and Africa as a whole requires acting in accordance with principles consistent with our shared humanity:
He said Hunger is inextricably linked to a nexus of issues including decent work, health, education, environmental sustainability, and social justice and that in only solving these together will any of them be solved on a sustainable basis.
Ms Joyce Nakato, the assistant programme officer at The Hunger Project-Uganda [THP-U] in Mbale said they have provided women, food farmers, easy access to credit, adequate training and instilled in them the importance of saving.
“And today our THP’s Microfinance Program in Mbale enables women to engage in income-generating activities to increase their incomes and invest in their families and communities,” said Ms Nakato.
She said at the Epicenter they have a health center in partnership with the government where patients are treated for diseases like malaria and dysentery as well as other illnesses and injuries, through the Epicenter, community farmers have been trained in sustainable agriculture methods.
“At the Epicenter farmers have learnt skills to improve their yields, including; soil management, row planting, use of fertilisers etc, this has seen farmers’ yields and income from crop sales have increased and production costs have decreased.
Mr Bernard Mujasi, the LCV chairman for Mbale district said as a district they now know that having investors in local communities can underwrite an Epicentre through to self-reliance.
“Epicenters are key to the community’s success, as a district we are asking those who are taking over to maintain progress and momentum to reach the goal and as a district we have already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Epicenter, I want to promise that we shall keep an eye on this to ensure it works well for the good of the community,” said Mr Mujasi.
Mr Lawrence Egulu, the commissioner employment services who represented the minister of labour, social and community development Ms Janat Mukwaya said self-reliance at the Mbale Epicenter show that the Epicenter approach is a good approach in fighting poverty in the communities and empowering people to save and come out of poverty.
He revealed that Uganda is still a young nation with the biggest population of the people being youth and children, and urged the people to work extra hard to save our children
Ms Mukwaya is a speech read for her by Mr Egulu said empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty in Uganda and urged NGOs to ensure that wherever they work, their programs should aim to support women and build their capacity.
She said education is an empowering right and one of the most powerful tools by which economically and socially marginalized women can lift themselves out of poverty and participate fully in society and called for education of women at all levels.
“When a woman has the opportunity to be educated and healthy, she thrives and whole societies benefit. Educated girls marry later, have healthier children and take an active role in their communities to ensure the rights of other women are upheld,” said Ms Mukwaya.
She called upon other NGO’s to also use the holistic approach that empowers women and men living in rural villages to become agents of their own development and make sustainable progress in overcoming hunger and poverty. Ends
About The Hunger Project-Uganda
The Hunger Project has been working in Uganda since 1999 and is currently empowering community partners in 11 epicenter areas to end their own hunger and poverty.
Through its integrated approach to rural development, the Epicenter Strategy, The Hunger Project is working with community partners to successfully access the basic services needed to lead lives of self-reliance and achieve internationally agreed-upon markers of success, such as the Millennium Development Goals.