At the end of December I visited Uganda and the MicroGrant communities that BESO has been working with. The very fist MicroGrant in Uganda is being implemented with a group of Women from Wanteete Village. The women are building a pre-primary school. Since October, their school garden has flourished, their pigs are healthy and the land where the school will be constructed has been cleared, the latrines are nearly done, wooden poles are standing (donated by both men and women in the community) and the women are planning their fundraiser. The school will serve the children in the area who are currently just sitting around. A school will provide a space for stimulating thinking, innovation and growth. The women are writing a new proposal for additional funding to support additions to the school, primarily to expand the land and improve on the structure of the buildings.
The Wanteete celebration in October, that commenced the implementation of their MicroGrant project, gained attention from neighboring villages. An association of women from a one village even organized to traveled and attend the celebration. The association, supported by a strong and engaging female politician, invited us to their meeting hall to discuss MicroGrants in December. The event was populated with reporters and politicians who are preparing for the upcoming Ugandan elections. The association was excited to have their own opportunity at a MicroGrant, and with politicians wanting support; they will hopefully be supportive of the project and the women.
The community listed out a number of problems facing them and projects they would like to implement. They have already started a chicken project to generate eggs for their children to eat and purchased chairs for their assembly room (and to rent out for income), but they still face severe problems and lack the resources to put new ideas into action. Some of the problems they listed included: a reliable water source, feed for chickens, women’s knowledge on their rights, early marriages and lack of vocational training.
In the coming weeks the BESO staff will start discussions around which problem the community would like to address with their MicroGrant of $1500!