David Fortune's Visit to Uganda
I am very grateful for the experiences I’ve had during the last 5 ½ weeks in Uganda. I received the Philip Russel Scholarship from Kingston University which has given me the opportunity to open my eyes to the pearl of Africa. This report covers the activities carried out during my stay.
The activities includes:
Destiny Junior School development
Trip to Masaka
Wait/ Girl-Child Presentations
Visiting poultry project
We did jigger removing and hygiene/sanitary talks in Luuka district for two days. We camped at Kigulu prime academy, Iganga district. We set ourselves up in the village to clean, disinfect and remove jiggers from their feet. It was a very humbling and valuable experience to be part of. Whilst cleaning their feet I could see how hard life is for the affected persons. Most are living on the poverty line and are uneducated. It affects both the young and old.
During the stay at Kigulu academy we met with the Director, Paul. We delivered two sets of computers in order to promote basic computer literacy for the school community. It will also help in administrative duties. Paul expresses much gratitude on behalf of the school.
Destiny Junior School development
I was received with a lot of love at Destiny Junior School. We took pictures of all the pupils and teachers of the school and updated their profiles. We levelled the land and put up a fence assisted by a few volunteers. I was impressed by the small urban farming project in the school. Vegetables are now growing in old sacs which is being used to teach the children agricultural skills. The vegetables will also supplement their school meals.
There is a need to construct three classrooms and a clinic. Bricks can be baked by volunteers from the soil that was dug up from the land. A water tank is needed to provide water storage for the bricks and irrigation of crops. There is also a need for desks as children are currently kneeling on their knees when writing.
Materials were purchased to complete the plastering of the community building and a new window and door was put in. The community building will be used by the local women and will host IRFF-Uganda office. The two volunteers showed us how to mix the sand and plaster. It looked much easier than it actually was.
Trip to Masaka
We took a two day trip to Masaka, the southern part of Uganda. I ticked off a goal on my bucket list which was to stand at the equator. In Masaka we visited a tree nursery and Butale primary school. We also volunteered alongside the school children to make a new bathing shelter (Ugandan style) and put up a roof on the kitchen, for a child and his grandfather. The living conditions were unsanitary so we fumigated and cleaned the house. Before leaving, we donated a few basic necessities; cloths, books and mosquito nets.
I attended three joint WAIT and Girl-Child presentations. The talks touched on the subject of HIV/AIDS, STDS and character development. After the joint talks we separated the sexes and had fruitful discussions on hygiene and sanitation. The girls were provided with pads and were very grateful for what they received.
Through community development programs, IRFF-Uganda is creating sustainable income-generating projects. Its focus has been on horticulture and poultry. We spent two days visiting poultry farming projects in the local area. This project started three years ago with 50 chickens. The idea is, once eggs are hatched, chicks are passed on to other beneficiaries and so on. From the 50 initial chickens, 9000 chicks have been hatched and distributed.
Ten months ago IRFF partnered with the Maendeleo Foundation, which goes to schools to train children in computer skills. The pupils have to pay a fee to be trained in computer skills. The problem is most children (school) cannot raise enough money to pay any fee. To address this problem we piloted a project in which we gave 5 hens and a cock to 30 children. As a result, these children have been able to afford the fee in order to learn computer skills. The director expressed that she thought it was a crazy idea but after the initial attempt she testified that it was “surprisingly successful”. Now the foundation also keeps some chickens and try to hatch chicks where some are given to the youth or sold to cater for expenses.
For £10 a pupil can get a cage, 5 hens and 1 cock in order to learn necessary computer skills and pay school fees. The idea is that this can be a one-off sponsor scheme.
It has been a wonderful and educational experience for the last 5 ½ weeks. I am very grateful to have been sponsored by my university for giving me this opportunity. I also like to thank Uncle Robert, his family, and the team for taking care of me and showing me the Ugandan way of life.