KAMPALA – Mpigi Epicenter, a poverty alleviation project by The Hunger Project in Senge village, Kalamba Sub County has after 21 years gained the self-reliance status. An epicenter, which is one of the ventures of The Hunger Project of alleviating poverty is a one stop meeting point that the community uses to galvanize its efforts against hunger, poverty, domestic violence and all other issues that stand in the way of development.
Self-Reliance means that the community has built enough capacity to sustain itself without relying on direct support and supervision from The Hunger Project Uganda.
At the handover ceremony that was held at the Center in Butambala, Dr Daisy Owomugasho, the Regional Director, The Hunger Project Uganda, shared that she is particularly glad that this phase of growth has come at a point when government has officially declared the Parish Model as its main strategy for wealth creation at the grass root level.
She shared that according to the Ministry of Finance, the Parish Development model is a strategy for organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level.
“The Parish model vindicates the Epicenter strategy that relies on building the capacity of grass root structures and trusting that the local people will efficiently take the lead in determining their destiny. For the Parish model to be successful, there are three key factors that it can borrow from our Epicenter strategy,” she shared.
Ms Owomugasho added that it is often said that everything rises and falls on leadership. Without strong, committed and dedicated leaders, the epicenter will not stand through the post self-reliance period.
“Leaders play a very critical role in driving the mission forward. On the other hand, commitment and dedication is not enough if the leaders lack the required skills. The world is changing rapidly and so are the techniques employed to work. The leaders have to be very dynamic in nature and ready to adjust and move with the current trends. This means continuous investment in personal development and networking. They also need to be exemplary and willing to mentor and raise other leaders behind them.”
Officiating over the function, Ms Sarah Kataike Ndobooli the director planning, Operation Wealth Creation thanked the women for keeping the centre for all the years it has been in place. She urged them to keep working hard and show the fruits of the self-reliance status.
Ms Kataike urged the women to defend the sovereignty of their centre and tasked them to be a model epicentre.
“I want to encourage you to keep working hard. I will also lobby some support for you from my boss General Angina because I have seen what you have here. I am impressed with what you have done in these years under the stewardship of the hunger project.”
Kataike added that the community should ensure they keep up the good works they have been doing all along as this will surely prove their Self-Reliance status.
“I will be happy seeing this Epicentre thriving more and more at the helm of the community. With the self-reliance status you have achieved, I implore you to work towards being better versions of yourselves in each and everything you do.”
Sulayiman Jjagwe, the chairman of the Mpigi Epicentre thanked The Hunger Project for the 20 years of patronage. While sharing the journey of the centre, he acknowledged the transformation The Hunger Project had introduced into the community members.
“I am glad to note that the various facilities here have changed us tremendously. We have come from quite far and I am happy to note that we are able to see where we are headed. The Self-Reliance status will even propel us to greater heights into developing this centre to help more members of the community.”
In 2001, His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni commissioned Uganda’s first community epicenter in Mpigi, Senge village, Kalamba Sub county. The Epicenter later became part of Butambala when the area earned district status in 2010.
Usually, the community provide the land and the Epicenter assists in setting up the structures such as a community hall, hospital, an early child learning center, a village bank and any facility necessary for growth.
After the construction, The Hunger Project together with the community embark on a 10-to-20-year journey of community transformation through leadership and poverty alleviation.