Trio Uganda operates as a micro charity, leveraging modest UK resources to advance social action by indigenous Community Based Organisations (CBOs) in Eastern Uganda. Based in Cardiff, we contribute to sustainable development in impoverished communities through a local to global model that prioritises grassroots investment, citizen empowerment and collaborative social action.
In February 2019, the Trust awarded Trio Uganda £500 to support its partnership work with Namabasa Alive Empowerment Project to build sustainable community micro-agriculture to benefit impoverished and internally displaced people. Receipt of the grant was especially important as it represented the first recognition of the CBOs work beyond Trio Uganda’s support
NAEP is the only registered CBO working in Namabasa Parish, an impoverished community of 8,000 on the northern outskirts of Mbale city. The community is severely impacted by the effects of extreme poverty, most especially child and elderly abandonment, early pregnancy, drug and alcohol dependency, gender violence, lower than average school attendance, high morbidity and mortality due to HIV/AIDS, malaria and hepatitis B, poor medical facilities and cost of treatment. A third of residents have been internally displaced from outlying villages in the Mount Elgon region due to landslides, economic migration, family breakdown and loss of land rights.
The grant allowed NAEP members to develop a community-led poultry project to provide increased household nutrition and income. The project supported 35 beneficiary households, including men, women, children, youth and elderly across ethnicities and faiths. The project outcomes included healthier, wealthier and stronger families and a productive community.
Community Based Organisations work to build social capital and strengthen local resilience yet receive scant support from funders, NGOs or government programmes that prioritise scaled programmes. NAEP and Trio Uganda share the view that the skills and potential of committed local activists are consistently ignored by well-resourced agencies that fail to inject modest investment at the grassroots level to incubate social action and sustainable change. The result of non-investment at the local level is continued dependency, disempowerment and social breakdown. The funded project represented a small but important step towards realising local change by local people.
NAEP reports that households receiving poultry birds were able to improve on the breeds by cross-mating to improve egg production, increasing household nutrition, and income through sale of surplus. Despite its small scale, the project was especially effective in building trust and relationships between the CBO and the community.
Challenges included a budget shortfall due to higher feed costs and disease control. The shortfall was met by Trio Uganda. One of the main arising issues was that investment in the community immediately raised expectations. The CBO recognised the need to develop more training and sensitisation, moving beneficiaries beyond a short-term focus to recognise that project sustainability can effect solutions to shared problems only in the longer-term. A short-term focus is due to the daily health and family impacts caused by extreme poverty; the long-term is only theoretically beneficial when you are coping with malaria or the death of a child through malnutrition. What is needed is consistent and realistic investment to enable projects to achieve sustained benefits, including scaling to increase income generation through cooperative activity.
Overall. the project was a success, and the gained experience will be used to approach a new funder for second-stage development.