Everyone has the potential to change the world, often it’s only a matter of unlocking that potential. This is one of Mama Hope’s core values and something the Budondo Intercultural Center aims to achieve through its three programs. By providing the Budondo community and surrounding villages the opportunity to access healthcare, business opportunities, and knowledge, big things are happening — one of the many reasons I am excited to introduce the PHE program!
Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) is a program designed to empower households and individuals to be the makers of change in their community. By investing in the people and implementing participatory and integrated population, health and environmental activities, the PHE program will provide the community with resources to better their lives. The project will train individuals on topics including diversification of their farm, healthcare, family planning, microfinance as well as other topics of their choosing. Each trainee will act as a leader in the village and share the knowledge they learn with neighbors; empowering them to empower others!
Before introducing you to the trainees, here are some important points to consider along with the goals of the program. Keep in mind they are intertwined with the Ugandan culture and the general perspective of many living in this region:
- Farmers in East Central Uganda (where Budondo is located) typically grow sugar cane as it is neither labor or capital intensive. They have relied on sugar cane as their main source of income because 1) they know how much time it will take to harvest (18-months) and 2) it will yield 3.4 million Ugandan Shillings per acre in monetary return. While this may seem like a great idea, it leaves families with little food security, resulting in a high percentage of malnourishment. This cycle has persisted due to lack of knowledge of alternative farming methods and lack of resources to adopt sustainable production systems. PHE will teach friendlier environmental practices which will reduce the misuse of the environment.
- Unintended pregnancy is common and has lead to high levels of unplanned births, unsafe abortion, and maternal injury and death. There is also a general negative perception of contraceptives which is why many men and women do not choose to partake in family planning. PHE will provide incentives and confidence for local communities to overcome barriers which currently limit their adoption of family planning measures. It will also improve maternal and child health through advocacy for family planning methods.
- Women are often considered subordinate to men leaving them very dependent and unable to generate their own income. Domestic violence and sexual assault also remain prevalent issues in Uganda. PHE will equip the community members, especially mothers and youth, with entrepreneurial and life skills that will enable them to generate incomes to support their households.
Now, without further notice, meet the trainees!
We are starting with 16 pilot families (pictured below).
**Not pictured: Ntambi, Sophie, Ben, Malinzi Ismael, Irene
Over the next few weeks, we will have sessions on the above topics and I hope to keep you all updated on the progress as best as I can (with limited access to wifi). In the meantime, please consider making a donation to help support these individuals in their journey to create a life they want for their family. All donations will support the operational costs of implementing this program.
Make a donation here: (give.classy.org/juliabic).
Thank you all for your support!