Uganda: Strong Partnerships with Government and Other Organizations

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The Hunger Project-Uganda

Executive Summary

This reporting period, April - September 2008 was another successful time for The Hunger Project-Uganda. Most of the objectives for this period were fulfilled guided by The Hunger Project's principles of partnership: self-reliance, humanity and gender equality. Although challenges were experienced, they did not bring the work to a stalemate.

The Hunger Project-Uganda was happy to host Ms. Jill Lester, President/CEO of The Global Hunger Project who was accompanied by Dr. Fitigu Tadesse, Vice President for Africa Programs. During this visit, Kiruhura Epicenter, and the Iganga government-recognized rural bank were inaugurated in the presence of over 1,000 people respectively. In addition a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni and other government officials was held. We therefore take pride in the continued good working relationship, partnership and support from other organizations and relevant government authorities at both local and national levels.

In a meeting with President Museveni both at his office and later at his cattle farm, issues related to food security, income generation and enterprise selection were discussed. He then offered his helicopter to take us to one of the model farms in Masaka district to witness the enterprise selection and organic farming methods. We are delighted that our work continues to have a meaningful impact both at the national level and to women and men in Uganda's epicenter communities.

Details on Progress

Achievements

Improved status of food security.
  • A total of 50 tons of grain is stored in epicenter food banks and 10 million shillings on the revolving food accounts.
  • There is diversification of crops for better nutrition and partners have at least two meals a day.
  • 130 rural partners received cassava cuttings for planting in their gardens.
  • Children are not dying of malnutrition.
  • 70 percent of partners store food in their homes at least to the next season.
Increased HIV/AIDS awareness, and reduced incidents of malaria and other diseases.
  • An additional 824 rural partners participated in the HIV/AIDS program and Voluntary Counseling and Testing.
  • Levels of morbidity and mortality reduced.
  • 98% of rural partners in epicenter communities accessed mosquito nets.
Enhanced women's economic empowerment.
  • A fourth government-recognized, community-owned and women-led rural bank was inaugurated at Iganga with a total 925 members.
Increased levels of water, sanitation and environmental sustainability.

  • One more borehole was dug at Iganga Epicenter by the district in addition to protecting several other water sources.
  • About 79% of our epicenter partners/households have access to safe drinking water.
  • More tree nurseries have been established at Iganga and Kiboga Epicenters, enabling partners to have access to seedlings for planting in their homes.
  • Partners also use energy saving stoves.
Changed mindsets and increased literacy.
  • 34 Functional Adult Literacy classes were started making a cumulative total of 257.
  • Number of partners attending VCA workshops increased by 26,000 leading to a cumulative figure of 176,000.
Community cohesiveness and partnerships enhanced.
  • Kiruhura Epicenter, the seventh to be built in Uganda with its components, was completed and inaugurated as a symbol of partnership and community cohesion.

Objectives Not Yet Achieved

Over-stretched epicenter services.

Epicenter mobilization is carried out in villages demarcated according to local government structures both for effectiveness and for easy influence of local government policies. As a result, some epicenters are over-stretched in their services. Additionally, some epicenter villages are overpopulated while others are sparsely populated, leading to "seemingly" high or low number of villages. While in some cases, epicenter services spill over to people living outside the epicenter communities.

Inadequate available land for food production/food banks.

Limited access to land in some epicenters, especially those found in the central region, is causing most partners to grow food on a small-scale basis, resulting in small quantities of harvest. In addition, epicenters that were constructed earlier had small and limited food banks. We have therefore modified the L-shaped building to have separate and larger food banks to store large quantities of food.

Inadequate teachers/learning materials at epicenter preschools.

Teachers in our epicenter pre-primary schools are volunteers who live in epicenter villages with limited training in child centered teaching/ learning.

Inadequate materials for Functional Adult Literacy (FAL).

The graduates of level one FAL classes could not join the level two stage, which also teaches some basic English, due to lack of instructional materials. Recent Innovations

Recent Innovations

The Hunger Project-Uganda is working with a group of students from Mukono University, who are pursuing degrees in child development, to work with our epicenter nursery teachers to train them in child-centered learning techniques as well as helping to make materials from locally available materials.

Bigger and separate food banks have been constructed in new epicenters, which are fully dedicated to store over 100 metric tons of grain with better ventilation and storage capacity. Meanwhile, in old epicenters, where food banks were small and inadequate, we improvised the use of food cribs in the interim period as we await funds to construct bigger food banks similar to those that are being constructed in newer epicenters.

In addition to the different aspects in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and its specifications, with local governments, a forum has been created where Epicenter Committees meet periodically with the District Executives and technical staff to review progress of work. In addition, different districts are providing office space for our field staff at no cost hence reducing our operational costs. Our office space in Mbale Epicenter, which is the most recent epicenter, has been given to us by the district authorities and the money saved is dedicated to program work.

One of the cribs at Wakiso EpicenterFood bank at Kiruhura Epicenter

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

Animators and all research teams are empowered to constantly monitor and track the performance of program activities in the epicenter communities in line with our methodology and are able to make all the necessary corrections to move on the right track.

Based on the findings from the data collection exercises, our M&E team led by the M&E Officer was able to determine the input - output relationships and whether the inputs in the project are well utilized and whether or not our catalytic programs are making tangible results in transforming community outlook. In Mbale Epicenter, animators were strong enough to collect baseline data while in others, stakeholders' review meetings were guided in identifying challenges, sharing experiences and finding solutions for proper program implementation and sustainability.

Constant tracking and reporting on program activities is carried out properly by the right people in a timely manner and in line with The Hunger Project principles and methodology.

Examples of Results

The effectiveness of the Epicenter Strategy as a symbol of partnership as well as mobilization and sensitization through VCAWs and FAL classes as tools for clear understanding of the five steps of ending hunger and poverty as well as the methodology of The Hunger Project was well measured.

Empowering communities to end their own hunger is key to The Hunger Project. Findings from M&E activities show that epicenter communities are prepared and ready to engage in a number of programs but the input levels are still very low to make a meaningful impact. For example, in our food production program, the provision of improved seed alone has not generated desirable results because the other challenges, such as pest control, fertility of land, land ownership policies and total reliance on nature (except for demonstration gardens, has been a hindrance).

Economic empowerment of communities has had very significant impact especially to women. Greater coverage would essentially transform rural communities and eliminate income disparities.

The partnerships with district and local government structures in the implementation of The Hunger Project intervention programs in epicenter communities are strong. These partnerships result in: provision of clean water, tree seedlings, health services and security and the co-sharing of epicenter building structures.

Partnerships

  • We developed a grant partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in promoting cassava multiplication through establishment of cassava secondary sites to enable our partners' access and multiply disease free planting materials in Kiboga Epicenter.
  • We also have a partnership agreement with Population Services International (PSI) to promote reproductive health, water purification and improved sanitation as well as HIV/AIDS control measures in Iganga Epicenter.
  • Mpigi Epicenter is in partnership with a program in Gombe Hospital (Anti Retroviral Therapy Aide (ART AIDE) in promoting HIV/AIDS awareness through the HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops.
  • The Hunger Project is working in partnership with the government's National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) to establish demonstrations and promote enterprise selection through lead farmers, in all epicenters.
  • A conclusion on a partnership agreement with Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is being made to enable our partners integrate entrepreneurship training and skills upgrading into our programs, especially the microfinance program.
  • We continue to work with all line government ministries concerned with our work, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) with which a Memorandum of Understanding was developed.

In-country Funding Opportunities

  • Most recently, Mbarara local government gave us a grant towards construction of the nurses' house at the epicenter.
  • Catholic Relief Services (CRS) - Great Lakes Cassava Initiative (GLCI). GLCI is funding the Cassava Multiplication Project in Kiboga Epicenter.

Broader Awareness of The Hunger Project/Media Coverage

The Hunger Project President/CEO's visit to Uganda of in July was widely publicized in all media channels, both electronic and print. These included media coverage of the inaugural activities of rural bank at Iganga Epicenter, Kiruhura Epicenter, a visit at Wakiso Epicenter as well as the meeting with President Museveni.

The Country Director has participated in several meetings organized by both government and civil society at national and regional levels, where the work of The Hunger Project has been shared. For instance, the Country Director has recently been included on behalf of The Hunger Project-Uganda on a national Partnership Committee for the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.

The Country Director was also invited to make a presentation of the Epicenter Strategy in a Regional meeting organized by African Women's Economic Policy Network (AWEPON) on practical approaches to "Economic empowerment of African women in the context of the new aid modalities and the international trade agenda." At the time of report writing, we have also been invited to attend a workshop organized by World Bank-Uganda office where The Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) will be discussed.

Plans for the Future

  • Completion of Mbarara Epicenter Health staff quarters.
  • Mobilizing materials for the construction of Mbale Epicenter.
  • Opening of Epicenter Communal Gardens and ensuring epicenter food security.
  • Phase 2 partnerships with Catholic Relief Services in developing Cassava Secondary Multiplication sites.
  • Holding epicenter quarterly animator reunions.
  • Conducting HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshops at the grassroots level in all epicenters.
  • Finalize refresher training of FAL instructors in Kiruhura and Mbale Epicenters.
  • AWFFI/SPIA refresher training and loan disbursements in Mbarara, Kiruhura and Kiringente Epicenter.
  • Conduct M&E Workshops, reviews, data gathering, documentation and dissemination.

Profile of a Leader

The Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops continue to have enormous impact on the lives of our partners. They have acquired leadership skills, and are now confident and able to take decisions that create change in their communities. For instance, Mr. James Ssenkumba attended the first VCAWs in 1999 and was selected as an animator. He underwent more training as a Trainer of Trainers (TOT), conducting VCAWs in The Hunger Project-Uganda's epicenters and training animators. With time, he felt confident enough to campaign for local council elections. He was later elected the Sub-County Chairperson. This is a great testament of the effectiveness of VCAWs in transforming the mindsets and empowering people in leadership.

Country Profile - Uganda

Source: Uganda Bureau of Statistics

Population (Male, Female)30 million (UN 2007)
Percent of population in rural areas80%
Infant mortality rate136/1,000
Maternal mortality rate510/100,000
Life expectancy49 years
Percent Population undernourished19%
HIV/AIDS - Adult prevalence rate6.5%
HIV/AIDS - deaths77,000 people/annum
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS1,000,000
Literacy rate (Male, female)77% male, 51% female
Primary school enrollment87.3% boys, 86.9% girls
GDP per capita6.5%
Population earning less than $1/day38%