KAMPALA – Buyanja My Roots – BMR, a free and open entry voluntary and community initiative has begun fundraising to equip Buyanja Health Centre III and Kasheshe Health Centre III both in Rukungiri district, with reliable rainwater collection systems.
With over 1,200 registered members, Buyanja My Roots is composed of people from Buyanja Sub-county in Rukungiri district.
Speaking to the press at a meet and greet at La Jola Gardens, Kisaasi, Mr. Asinguza Allan Mutemba, the chairman of the group said they gathered together to plan a year ahead.
He revealed that it is their role to support their homeland’s health services, education, and even agriculture.
In 2021, Asinguza said they were able to support the two health centres with equipment worth Shs33 million including maternity, delivery and patient beds, lighting, waiting area and refrigerators.
According to him, BMR started for purposes of networking, and also to ensure that they can get opportunities.
“When people meet in such a place, they are able to know one another, discuss and who knows, there could be an opportunity one is able to utilize.”
Mr. Chairman said they started the group in 2018 with about 20 members and today they have grown to 1200 registered members.
In their four years of existence, Asinguza says they have secured about 25 scholarships for university students both on diplomas and degrees.
He said that they also contributed to the building of blocks at Rwetuha primary school.
“Those are some of the few achievements…..we have been able to connect people for internships programs, we have been able to provide 25000 seedlings of coffee for people back at home and we were recognized by the president for supporting the COVID-19 TASK FORCE. We collected money and gave people soap, and gloves when COVID was at its appendix.”
“…. not forgetting, we have collected for over 45 members of ours who have been sick to take them to hospitals, some to India, and those who have lost their loved ones, we are always there to come in support and make sure we condole with them,” added Mr. Chair.
Dr. Edrian Beinebyabo Bwankwindi, a founding member, BMR, and also the chief mobilizer said they were forced to start up the group because they never had any means of how people from Buyanja sub-county and town council could come together for a common goal.
“We thought that we would get means of coming together and see how we can socialize, know each other but most importantly to find ways to give back to the community where we come from.”
Dr. Beinebyabo, registration no. BMR 001, also a senior lecturer at Uganda Management Institute – UMI and also a member of the governing council of UMI said it is their role to supplement the works of the government where they think the government has not provided.
“We are not competing and we are not saying the government has done nothing but we are supplementing on what the government has done so that we can get the best service delivery.”
“We wouldn’t say central government or local government is in charge of this yet we have a role we can play because we have medical workers, social workers, physiologists who can come back and supplement the works of the government and we have people who have money who can supplement government’s works,” he said.
However, he says they are challenged by the economy and most of the young people have no money to contribute for the group’s cause.
“When you tell people 30,000 membership, 20,000 subscription, then meet and greet pay 35,000, there are categories of youth who cannot afford. They can afford to be on WhatsApp group but they don’t have the funds and when it comes to contributions to burial arrangements, we have youth who are vigilant but they can’t easily pay.”
“We also have a challenge of the most top people, they’re not yet close to us. We have ministers, permanent secretaries, generals, they sympathize with us but they are not yet our members,” he added.
Dr. said they are also challenged with over expectations of the community.
“People now have known that Buyanja My Roots is almost a solution for everyone. Schools want funding, churches want funds, all want to go through Buyanja My Roots yet for us we are saying we may touch, but we may not necessarily be responsible. Even the local governments are telling us we want houses for staff health.”
Dr. Beinebyabo, anticipates BMR to be a model organization in five years’ time.
“I can see how generation are participating already. We have people who want to benchmark, Kebisoni wants to benchmark, Rwerero wants to benchmark, Ruhinda wants to benchmark, and neighbouring local governments want to benchmark. I think we shall be on consulting level.”
He appealed to members to embrace Buyajja My Roots’ dream, and also participate in the development of their people back home.
He also cautioned members to desist from engaging politics in the organization “because the moment we go in politics then we may have division.”