We have recently returned from Uganda where we revisited Bunambutye. The first thing that struck us as we drove up to the villages was the scorched maize which has withered and died as a result of too much sunshine and not enough rain. This crop failure has serious implications for the villagers who rely on this harvest for their food and income. Last year a number of people died in Bunambutye as a result of food shortages and it seems likely that more people will die again this year. The villages are in a desperate situation once again and it reinforced the importance of our work in supporting the villagers to develop sustainable projects to reduce their poverty and vulnerability.
Thankfully, we are now in a better position to support Bunambutye as we have set up an organisation called Blossom Africa. We have a board of trustees in the UK and our aim is to work with the community to develop community owned, sustainable and long term solutions to the poverty they experience.
After much deliberation we have decided that the way forward is to deliver comprehensive training to the most ‘active’ members of the community. This training will have many facets including project planning, implementation and management, saving and budgeting, developing income generating activities, improved agricultural methods and managing natural resources. The overall aim of the training is to support individuals and groups to develop skills which will enable them to develop and implement their own solutions to the challenges they face within their communities.
In June 2012 we took 18 ‘active‘ community members (3 people from each of the 6 parishes of Bunambutye) on a visit to nearby community groups who had been given training and enabled to improve their farming methods and income generating activities.
Photo from community visit in 2012
We followed this visit up in 2013 and met with all 18 people a year later and we were amazed by how much the visit had benefited them and how much they had valued the opportunity! They were extremely enthusiastic and eager to take part in more training sessions, they had remembered and implemented so much that they had seen and importantly had also shared with their community groups and neighbours. This reassured us and made us even more certain that these are the people we want to work with initially.
Meeting with 'Active' community members
The training which we will deliver to this group of individuals will be intensive over a period of approximately 6 months. It will be delivered by a fully qualified facilitator with guest facilitators used when necessary. The training will be supported and reinforced by a local community worker on the ground to ensure that each weekly session is understood and implemented by the group members.
We spent a lot of time on this trip talking to knowledgable and experienced people who are prepared to assist Blossom Africa in an advisory capacity. We are very fortunate to have this level of support in Uganda and this will certainly help us going forward.
Meeting with Nangoli Martin from Wake-up Ministries
So, it is an exciting time for Blossom Africa as we embark on our first major project! Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and if you have any comments or questions about our work or would like to get involved then please do not hesitate to get in touch!!