UGANDA OUGHT TO ADOPT SAEMAUL UNDONG TO DRIVE OUT POVERTY

The government’s endless efforts to uplift the living standards of poor people as a way to drive out poverty, through development funded programs to all categories of people seem futile.

“Government has tried to invest in different groups like Entandikwa, youth livelihoods, NAADs, PMA, Nusaf 1 and others however the money from grants hasn’t made any impact due to a negative mindset and poor time management,” Jennifer Namuyango, State Minister for Local Government said this during a media café at Hotel Protea on 22 December.

 Like an old saying, two heads are better than one’; in other words we can grow together as a group as opposed to being one. Let’s us teach the public how to fish, so that they can fend for themselves for a lifetime because government can’t sustain the population by doling out money to different specialties.

The media café discussed about Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities, an indigenous solution for rural areas. Communities are able to rehabilitate village infrastructure, improve living conditions in the locality and significantly increase house hold incomes.

The guest of honor, Minister of State for Local Government, Jennifer Namuyango praised all the partners that put forward the initiative, with an aim of transforming communities to have a better life for all.

ISNC also called ‘Saemaul Undong’ in the Korean language, a new village model based on principles of diligence, self-help, and cooperation, was started in early 1970’s to develop rural communities in South Korea. Hence this has sprouted into sustained household incomes from small scale enterprises, improved sanitation and positive thinking.

Namuyango informs that government spends a lot of money that doesn’t yields to the desired goals but with the ISNC, communities come together to identify their needs so that they can solve their problems

A pilot study has been done in three districts since July 2015 in Luuka, Maracha and Kabarole after Uganda was shortlisted among the six countries at the global forum for local development in October 2013. Only $ 2million was invested that has reaped big and changed the people’s livelihoods through saving groups, vocational training, improved sanitation and others. A number of success stories were revealed from each area of beneficiary as follows;

Chairman Local Government Maracha District, Lawrence Adiga says SMU has awakened all community members through mobilization. We have been able to achieve 26 rehabilitated roads environmental protection by planting over 2000 trees, adopted Latrine coverage mechanism and established business enterprises for income generation.

Residential District Council Steven Nsubuga, natives never used to care for their children’s well being because of experiencing high levels of poverty but with the eye opener from SMU, locals have been able to adopt to value chain systems in their agricultural practices so that they can take care of their families.

Urban Tugumisirize, a banana plantation owner from Bunyangabo district that was separated from Kabarole district assures that due to collective farming, we are able to export 1000 bunches of matooke (bananas) every after two days. We formed a cooperative that has 46 members and constructed a 7km feeder road to help in the transportation of our products to the main road and easy access to the markets.

The project was funded by the republic of Korea through Korea International Development Agency, United Nations Development Program and the government of Uganda.

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