Community & holiday project in Uganda
This type of trip is ideal for people who are unable to take very long periods off work but who are interested in volunteering to work with communities in need, or in wildlife conservation. These shorter trips combine volunteering with an opportunity to see the main sights in destinations.
How Community & holiday project in Uganda makes a difference
We provide a link for visitors, volunteers and researchers to engage with community organisations, from a well-supported and comfortable base. We are a charity as well as a small family, not-for-profit company, committed to partnership and community development. UK organisers are unpaid volunteers.
We provide a flow of volunteers, and help community projects by fundraising and school link schemes. Our charges include payments for household maintenance and services, and local liaison work. Small group visits include a contribution to the community organisation they are placed with. Extra payments may be required for research interpreters.
We ask visitors to take personal responsibility for their waste and to discuss issues of rubbish, water and ecology with their house and community hosts. Water bottles and glass are recycled, though other plastic is a problem, and obviously there is no rubbish collection. The house uses stored rain - the tanks and plumbing having been repaired. In drought periods children and farm workers carry water in churns from bore holes. Drinking water is brought in from town supplies, but must be purified.
There is no air-conditioning, but Kanaama lies relatively high and is pleasantly breezy, cooler than Kampala. Cooking is done over fires - necessitating wood supplies. Milk, meat, beans, vegetables and fruit are mostly produced by the family.
Western visitors increase the strain on local resources: water for showers and laundry; diesel for electricity; wood for fires. We are considering alternative forms of power for Kanaama. Interest in developing biogas and solar power abounds, and compulsory science in secondary schools will hopefully boost this movement enormously.
Hosting visitors, working to budgets, and managing links with community organisations enhance skills, encourage dialogue and widen knowledge. The project treats women and girls equally with men and boys, appreciates the importance of domestic tasks, and brings wives more fully into decision-making. By sharing the same house, visitors will exchange experiences and support each other, and mealtimes provide opportunities for discussion with family members. Many visitors maintain contact and support with family and community members afterwards, and with our organisation in London.
Volunteers and visitors to Kanaama have contributed significantly to community development:
- Their initiatives have provided a school water tank and school shutters and books, three church renovations, and support and sponsorships for 129 needy children. Fundraising is going on for classroom floor and windows. One volunteer’s efforts led to a school link and head teacher exchange with British Council funding. Several teachers have conducted enterprising creative projects in primary schools.
- Volunteers have helped to launch a women’s microcredit scheme (Kashare Tuhwerane – Helping each other), based on Grameen small group methods, with two local workers trained and supervised by Isebail MacKinnon from London. Members receive training in financial management and business planning. Since July 2010 fundraising and trust donations have raised £41,800 for this project which has made 150 loans of £60 for small businesses (poultry, brick-making, tailoring, retailing). An impact evaluation of this work is underway by a Ugandan researcher, and in July 2012 the project will be handed over to a Ugandan supervisor. We will still raise core costs, since projects aiming at the financially excluded need ongoing support.
- Microcredit members receive agricultural training to encourage better use of existing resources and to tackle climate change. The pilot scheme, planned by a civil engineer volunteer in collaboration with Kashare Environmental Development Initiative (KEDI), is now being extended. A year’s stove building programme, arising from discussions in the locality, also starts in April 2012 in 240 households across the whole sub-county. These schemes have received Trust Funding of £1600 and £1800 respectively.
- A recent volunteer health professional went to Kanaama to map out the dispersed, fragmented and culturally complex health system, and map out how placements could help. This is a great way in which professional volunteers can help our work to move forward.
Our aim is to launch projects, increasingly in collaboration with KICS Uganda, our local Link Group, and then hand them over to local leadership. Currently we are seeking ways to improve communication and reciprocal understanding of funding needs and requirements through discussion and capacity building. Volunteers with experience of partnership working would be particularly welcome! We hope to use these methods for new initiatives, such as a project offering therapeutic support for orphans, and a journalism competition with young people - for which we still need to raise money. Any offers? Do contact us if you can help.
Community & holiday project in Uganda