In August we reported on a new partnership between The Real Uganda, Hopeline Organization, and Kain Foundation and our plans for an holistic community development program in Kkoba Village, Buikwe, Uganda. The Kkoba Community Development Project aims to help change the way local farmers produce food, how youth plan their economic and social futures, and how families communicate and support their members at home. Want to read the details? Click here.
Today’s update covers family development. These last few months have been inspiring and eye-opening to say the least. Here’s the story:
A PLEASANT SURPRISE
The first meeting (August 18th) was a total surprise. While we’re targeting 300 local families with this initiative, we honestly only expected about 50-100 residents to show up. Over 180 people attended and were ready to talk. No woman held back or acted shy. They had been waiting for an intervention like this. The district education officer, our guest speaker, spoke about the importance of sending all kids to school and stressed to men that it is their duty to financially provide for their families. Our baseline survey showed that lack of respect for formal education and abandonment are major social issues in this area. Women were instructed where to report instances of abuse and neglect.
Our family meeting project brought Kkoba village, and its issues, to the attention of district government authorities. The day after that first meeting, local men who had abused and neglected their wives and/or children were arrested from local drinking spots and kept in prison for 2 days, to “wake them up” **.
The next meeting (August 25th) had over 200 attendees. More men showed up this time – local drinking spots were indeed empty – and reported they were the ones being abused by women. Perhaps the community and government support gave women the confidence to exercise their rights. Counselors from the ministry of gender came and talked about child protection, health, and family breakdown. It was time to open a practical dialogue between men and women to begin building responsible, violence-free households.
In subsequent meetings district officials helped Kkoba residents to organize themselves into support groups, numbering 10 people. Members consult each other when family disputes occur and help each other overcome life challenges. This is a step toward demonstrating the long term impact of this project. Further, local sanitation and hygiene was judged by district officials as below that of surrounding areas. Each family must now construct a pit latrine, suitable bathing area, and plate stand. We expect these to be completed by the end of 2016.
THE INITIAL RESULTS
As a result of these family meetings and the consequent involvement of local government authorities in the area:
- The road leading to Kkoba has been graded to make it easier for farmers to get their produce to market;
- The district water engineer will oversee construction of 2 boreholes for the community of Kkoba. One will be at Hopeline Organization’s new school site (also the location for these weekly meetings) and the other in Kkoba trading centre.
- Hopeline Organization was given 5 acres of land by an area land owner who recognizes, and wants to support, the great work the organization is doing in the community.
How cool is that?!
Watch this space for an update on how Kkoba area farmers are doing.
* The photo from Family Meeting No. 6 was shared with permission.
** This was a discretionary decision made by local authorities.
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