Uganda | Support us, Give Now
Uganda is a nation with a population of approximately 36 million located in Eastern Africa and bordered by South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962, and was known for extreme instability through much of the 1980s and 1990s – especially under the oppressive dictator Idi Amin. Now, Uganda is much more stable and has gained strength economically, although increasing oppression of homosexuals and the long reign of Musaveni and his “no-party system” are the cause of some international concern.
Approximately 82% of Uganda’s inhabitants are involved in agricultural activities as the country is home to fertile soils, ample rainfall and a number of vital natural resources which have helped Uganda’s economy remain relatively stable. Despite this, 25% of Ugandans still lack access to clean water and 24% live below the poverty line. Violence against women continues to be widely tolerated and is also a leading factor of increased infection levels of HIV/AIDS in Ugandan women over men.
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The Hunger Project has been working in Uganda since 1999. Through our integrated approach to rural development, we are enabling people to successfully access the basic services needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and lead lives of self-reliance.
The Hunger Project works to build sustainable community-based programs using the Epicentre Strategy. An epicenter is a dynamic center of community mobilization and action, as well as an actual facility built by community members. Over an eight-year period, an epicenter addresses hunger and poverty and moves along a path toward sustainable self-reliance, at which point it is able to fund its own activities and no longer requires financial investment from The Hunger Project. Uganda has 11 epicentres which serve 612 villages in total, with a population of 248,204.
Improving Environmental Sustainability
Environmental sustainability is a cornerstone of our work in Hunger Project epicentre communities in Uganda. Many Hunger Project people in Uganda use energy stoves, which reduce firewood consumption by an average of 60 percent. Women have replaced their cooking fire or three-stone stoves with more efficient clay stoves which burn less wood. In this way, women do not have to spend as much time collecting firewood. Efficient stoves mean less work for women.
The Hunger Project in Uganda has been successful at creating long-term partnerships with a number of organisations including Bead for Life, Mildmay, Catholic Relief Services, Ford Foundation and local government.
A partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Kiboga Epicentre builds the capacity of rural partners to prepare and respond to a number of diseases affecting their main crop: cassava. Diseases have devastated harvests and continue to threaten the food security and incomes of cassava-dependent families. This four-year partnership with CRS is helping partners to protect their harvests and increase their yields and household incomes.
In Uganda we have also partnered with AFFORD and received 3,000 treated anti-malarial bednets for partners in Mpigi Epicentre. In the fight against malaria, Hunger Project animators are enrolled as community drug distributors who are trained by the government and given malaria drugs to distribute. Detailed records are kept of which partners have received nets and accessed malaria treatment drugs.
The Hunger Project’s Microfinance Program addresses a critical missing link for the end of hunger in Africa: the economic empowerment of the most important but least supported food producers on the continent – Africa’s women. From the beginning, the innovation of microfinance has allowed poor people – usually excluded from the traditional banking system – to obtain credit to develop microenterprises and build savings. Microfinance has become a real means of reducing poverty by improving both people’s standard of living and economic self-sufficiency, as well as offering a pathway to education, health care and equity between men and women.
The program eventually gains the financial means for economic self-reliance and official government certification to operate as a Rural Bank. Small loans are used primarily for farming and small trade and succeed in increasing household incomes. The majority of the Microfinance Committee seats are for women and 75% of the Board of Directors of the Rural Bank are women, giving women a powerful voice in the community — often for the first time.
Of the 11 epicentres that are operating in Uganda, nine have government-recognised Rural Banks and have been declared self-reliant.
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. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.
There is are an impressive 177 women serving in executive positions across Uganda’s epicentres, and a grand total of 1,270 active WEP animators in the country – averaging about 115 per epicenter. All of the epicenters have women’s solidarity clubs, four have female youth groups and one has a mothers’ club. The women’s clubs sensitise mothers and women in general to the values of sending and keeping their daughters in school, and the mothers’ club raises awareness about the important of breastfeeding and a healthy, nutritional diet.
Literacy and Education
Education programs for children and adults alike can improve all aspects of life in epicentre communities. Nine of the 11 epicentre communities operate a preschool for young children, often providing their only nutritious meal per day. There are also 33 primary schools and 23 secondary schools under construction in epicenter villages in Uganda’s epicenter communities, making education even more accessible. And while children are educated, mothers have more time for their own education and income-generating activities.
Health and Nutrition
Health Committees and clinics, which are made up of epicentre partners, operate medical programs that provide maternal care, disease-prevention, and HIV/AIDS services. All but two of Uganda’s epicentres have health clinics. Tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, meningitis, pneumonia, measles and tetanus vaccinations are available at all the epicenter health clinics. All of the epicentres with health clinics distribute bed nets, and all of the health clinics offer malaria screening and treatment.
Three of the nine epicentres with health clinics offer malnutrition counseling and treatment; eight offer diarrhea and dehydration treatment, and eight also offer height and weight tracking for children, to monitor healthy growth. Seven of the epicentres offer family planning services and prenatal care while eight offer postnatal care. Ten of the epicenters distribute condoms as a type of family planning. All of the epicenters provide HIV/AIDS testing.
Meet Daisy our Country Director in Uganda, learn more about the key initiatives that are empowering people to end their own hunger or take action now and get involved.