A member of the Busiisi
SIDA women's group in Hoima has received two loans to buy goods
to sell in her small retail shop she and her husband run. Members
must demonstrate that they have a working business before they can
apply for a loan.
Location of the
A decade of political and civil strife in Uganda left the economy in shambles and the rural population even deeper in poverty. Rural family health, water supply and sanitation in the late 1980s became alarming; the status of health services was for the most part inoperational, and the road network was in ruins. Of special concern were the districts of Hoima and Kibaale. The absence of land and food shortage in the region as a whole meant that villagers were suffering from malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality, AIDS and a host of serious diseases. Basic services were lacking particularly health-related ones as were the roads, increasing the isolation of inhabitants in this already remote area.
Less than 40 % of the population in Hoima District and a larger percentage in Kibaale District had access to safe water and sanitation was poor. Many families living in the project area were ignorant of improved technologies for hygiene, sanitation and agriculture, while health infrastructure and roads were inadequate. For a truly sustainable development, assistance had to be channelled through women. Beneficiaries included smallholder farming households and womens groups.
A conducive environment prevailed in terms of macro-economic policies and district-level decentralization. Furthermore, flexibility in project design enabled incorporation of new activities based on beneficiary demand. Beneficiary participation, in general, from the very outset brought a commitment to providing material and labour for construction as well as to subsequent management of infrastructure and social services.
In order to improve nutrition and health status, 7 health units were equipped and made operational under a cost recovery plan. Training in community health care has been administered to trainers of Child Health Workers (CHWs) and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). In 1997, attendance of outpatients at health centres increased by more than 200% over 1994. The project promoted a National Health Management Information System. Immunisation coverage against childhood diseases (tuberculosis, polio, measles, whooping cough and diphtheria) is over 85%, in addition to anti-tetanus immunization for pregnant women and those of reproductive age.
Boreholes, shallow wells and ventilated improved pit latrine blocks were installed at primary schools, water sites were protected. Safe water coverage for Kibaale and Hoima has increased from 24% and 20% respectively in 1992 to 38% and 53% in 1998. This has led to a reduction in the incidence of diarrheal diseases.
Rehabilitation and operationalization of a research farm have been successful. The Credit Scheme, critical to mobilization of the abundant land to poverty alleviation efforts, has reached 23% of all group members. Sensitization of civic leaders and beneficiaries has been commendable: over 5000 beneficiaries are now functionally literate.
The project has allowed the rehabilitation of 116 km of feeder roads and over 700 km of access roads and the provision of road tools to 210 sub-parishes. District Administration Treasury staff have been trained in revenue collection for service delivery to districts.
The governments commitment to democratic decentralization, in this case to district level, has created the much-needed enabling environment for the poor to develop a sense of ''ownership'' of project interventions, and take charge of their own destinies.