Renewable Energy in Uganda
Uganda is a country that is home to roughly 49 million citizens, and of these citizens, only 42% have access to electricity. The country works around the clock to grow infrastructurally and economically so that it may provide equitable access to all its citizens. However, more than this, the government, nonprofits and foreign countries are pooling their efforts to create a future for renewable energy in Uganda.

About Electricity Access in Uganda

Uganda faces a few key issues when it comes to getting electricity to its people and throughout its country. Currently, it is facing three main issues:

  • Environmental challenges make it extremely difficult for Uganda to utilize hydropower.
  • The up-front costs of renewable energy (ex. solar, wind or nuclear) are large and can discourage investments from the government or private investors.
  • Rural areas have a harder time obtaining electricity compared to urban areas because of the barren terrain in these more rural places.

Uganda faces the issues many countries do, and while these issues are complicated, they are not impossible for countries to overcome. People from across the country and from across the globe are implementing numerous innovative and educational projects so that the country may continue in the search for and construction of renewable energy in Uganda.

The Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) Project

The Ugandan government is spearheading a renewable energy project called the Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) project. The Ugandan government has enacted the project in parts since the early 2000s and is currently in its third phase. The project is targeting the most remote citizens of Uganda first as it aims to build energy infrastructure in rural areas and bring internet and technological information and communication to schools and hospitals. Once the government connects these areas to the grid, it turns the newly built infrastructure into green energy resources including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass.

More than 7,000 people have been connected to the electrical grid and there has been a 31% decrease in the use of nonrenewable energy for industry from the past two phases. The third phase of this project aims to not only bridge the gaps where there are still vast expanses of rural areas in Uganda that do not have a connection to the electrical grid but also to bring renewable, green energy for an equitable future.

The Uganda National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Alliance (UNREEEA) has also promoted Uganda’s renewable energy development. It is a nonprofit conglomerate of green energy business leaders trying to promote private investment in green energy building within the country. UNREEEA helps to advocate to private business owners and energy companies to invest in the long-term future of renewable energy in Uganda, and among these advocacy efforts is its Green Banking Project. It has teamed up with the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services (UIBFS) to educate on, promote and encourage private and decentralized businesses to bring their companies to all of Uganda.

UNREEEA and UIBFS have created online training courses, seminars and partner lectures to instruct businesses on why they should build renewable energy in Uganda as well as the best ways to implement green energy within the country. UNREEEA and UIBFS are working tirelessly to encourage worthwhile investments in Uganda’s technological and renewable future.

Germany’s Role in Promoting Renewable Energy in Uganda

Germany has recently been lending a helping hand to Uganda’s renewable energy front. Germany’s project started in 2020 and will be ending this November in 2023, and it is an intellectually collaborative project that focuses on bringing more biogas plants to Uganda. Biogas is a modern form of renewable energy, and because of Uganda’s low rainfall and wind rates, it can be very helpful in alleviating the challenges of implementing other forms of green energy posed by changing weather patterns. The German Biogas Association (FvB) is currently helping the Uganda National Biogas Alliance (UNBA) by freely sharing its information on biogas technologies. The FvB has helped support and advocate for the interest of biogas, develop services and infrastructure and train management positions during the past three years. The FvB is a leading example of how all countries can benefit by lending a helping hand.

While not every person in Uganda has access to electricity or the internet, every person in Uganda can rest assured that their country’s leaders are working to not only give everyone equal opportunities but also to invest in a green, renewable future. Uganda faces many challenges like the lack of infrastructure, the lack of fiscal resources, harsh weather and desert terrain and many other issues. Despite this, the government, nonprofits and neighboring countries continue to collect their efforts and garner support for capacity building and green energy advocacy across all of Uganda.

– Alexandra Curry
Photo: Flickr

Fight Poverty in Uganda
When one thinks about ending global poverty, one often thinks about economic possibilities and foreign policy. However, thinking deeper, one may wonder about what specific, pragmatic factors they can focus on as surefire ways to reduce poverty globally. According to researchers at Stanford University, one of those surefire ways is electricity. By looking at Uganda, a developing country in East Africa, these researchers have proved that having access to reliable energy sources is vital in raising the world’s poor out of poverty. Here is how electricity can fight poverty in Uganda.

The Power of Electricity

Though many developed nations take access to reliable sources of electricity for granted, in many regions of the world this basic commodity is still missing. In developing countries, almost a billion people lack access to electricity – with more than half of these people being children under age 18. In a world that is becoming more digital and automated, those living without electricity are at a heavy disadvantage. Many factors that often lead to a better quality of life – such as plumbing, clean cooking and internet access – hinge upon access to electricity.

Even as technology progresses, those in impoverished countries continue to lag in the field of electricity. For example, even though in the past 10 years more of the global population has gained access to electricity, in Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people without access to electricity has increased. Estimates say that by 2030, 660 million people will still lack access to electricity – most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Hope in Uganda

Access to electricity is vital to the fight against poverty in Uganda. While one may consider how crucial it is, according to Stanford researchers, it is incredibly important. Using cutting-edge AI research technology, researchers looked at Uganda, a country that has struggled to access sophisticated technology. Researchers focused on Uganda’s rapidly-expanding power grid, examining how the expansion of electricity services affected the people of Uganda.

The study’s results were clear. Between 2015 and 2020, electricity access in Uganda’s population jumped from 18.5% to 42.1%. When looking at the communities that gained electricity access, the study discovered that they were able to increase their wealth at double the rate of those who still were without access.

One may ask how electricity access in Uganda creates opportunities for economic growth. Considering that almost 75% of all Ugandans work in the agricultural center, having access to electricity means access to new, effective technologies that increase yields and economic prosperity. Electricity access also drastically improves many facets of domestic life, including access to clean cooking fuels and methods. As the access to electricity increases for Ugandans, their wealth increases along with opportunities for improved living standards and long-term economic growth.

Looking Forward

The Stanford researchers hope their new research method, and the findings from their study of electricity access in Uganda, will help inform economic policy globally. As the fight against poverty in places like Uganda continues, considering simple commodities, like electricity, is vital in raising the standards of living of the poor. By understanding how technology can make such a huge economic impact in the fight against poverty in Uganda, better policies can form to help developing countries flourish.

– Elijah Beglyakov
Photo: Pixabay

Education Gap in Uganda
In Uganda, there is a clear disparity between the teachings of educational institutions and the demands of the labor market. UNESCO’s partnership with China Funds-in-Trust Phase III: Higher technical education in Africa for a technical and innovative workforce (CFIT III) attempts to alleviate the effects of this education gap in Uganda.

The Education Gap in Uganda

A key goal of childhood education is preparation for one’s future career. When higher education programming does not prepare students for success in a country’s labor market, the disparity is termed an “education gap.” In Uganda, this is extremely prevalent in the agriculture industry. It is therefore necessary for youth to receive more training to prepare them for employment in this sector.

As of 2017, 42.2% of Uganda’s population lived on less than $2.15 a day. If Uganda closes this education gap, poverty levels could decline as a result of increased opportunities for individual success.

The UNESCO-CFIT III Program

In 2019, an agreement between UNESCO and the People’s Republic of China established phase III of CFIT in order to bridge the gap between education and employment. This program covers six countries including Ethiopia, Gabon, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. The main focus is on institutes of higher education, with the program providing support and funding for enhanced student learning experiences.

Goals of the Program

The UNESCO website states multiple expected outcomes of the program, the most important one being, “Effective utilization of information from labor market analysis, curriculum review, graduate tracer studies by HEIs [higher education institutions] to improve the delivery of technical education.” This means that the problem will be approached from multiple angles, including research on what types of changes will be most beneficial to student growth.

Mbarara University of Sciences and Technology

In Uganda specifically, CFIT has supported the development of the Innovative Bio-organic Farming Techniques (i-SOFT) project at the Mbarara University of Sciences and Technology (MUST). This program contributes to entrepreneurship and skills-focused training for graduate students at the university. Specifically, the project, “focuses on converting biowastes into high-quality sustainable fertilizers to boost agricultural productivity,” according to UNESCO. This technological innovation, coupled with increased training for students, has been able to develop the agricultural industry and allow greater student involvement in a constantly growing field. It has seen widespread results across farms in four different Ugandan districts.

In addition to those specific effects, the i-SOFT program has been able to educate students about important abilities relevant to any type of future career success. These include business skills, marketing, ICT knowledge and more. This has allowed students to explore greater opportunities and create their own businesses.

Outlook

The implementation of UNESCO-CFIT programming in Uganda specifically fosters optimism for the agricultural industry. More importantly, it allows students to gain an understanding of the key skills necessary for future success in the labor force.

UNESCO has stated that “it is hoped that students will promote agro-industrialization in their communities using the skills acquired and develop other innovations.” Using this explanation, implementing UNESCO-CFIT programming in higher education institutions is a strong step toward closing the education gap in Uganda.

– Hailey Dooley
Photo: Flickr

HIV/AIDS in Uganda
Uganda is among the largest countries in Africa and is home to around 46 million people. Many have recognized Uganda for its significant efforts to mitigate HIV/AIDS among its population in the last couple of years. Nonetheless, HIV/AIDS in Uganda continues to present disproportionate ramifications among women. This is why government partnerships with several foreign agencies are key to facilitating effective treatments for HIV-infected women of all ages and addressing the gender gap in treatment.

History of HIV/AIDS in Uganda

The HIV virus ranks among the most dangerous health diseases in many Sub-Saharan African countries. In Uganda specifically, the disease has been following an exponential upward trend since the start of the 1980s. Among female adults (>15 years), HIV-recorded cases ranged from 1.7% for those between the ages of 15 and 19 to 13.6% for those 50-54 years of age. HIV also underpins gender inequality, as 12.4% of females between the ages of 30 and 34 had HIV while only 4.8% of males in that same age group had HIV. In Kampala in 1985, estimates indicated that 11% of pregnant women had HIV, which likely only increased up to the early 90s since by 1992, 18% of Uganda’s overall population had HIV.

Progression of HIV/AIDS in Uganda and Women

Over the past few decades, Uganda has significantly progressed in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Through the introduction of behavioral and educational policies, Uganda’s government reduced the prevalence of the HIV burden to 7%. Uganda’s government launched various campaigns devoted to advocacy efforts encouraging citizens to undergo testing, as well as donated condoms among different rural regions of the country. From 2011 to 2016, the country witnessed an overall 18% decline in the prevalence of HIV-recorded cases for ages 15-49. This indicates effective development in the health sector, which is especially necessary to alleviate the number of cases.

According to UNAIDS statistics, HIV continues to affect almost 570 Ugandan girls and women aged 15-24 per week. One can attribute the increased vulnerability of young girls to HIV to their reproductive systems which have not yet matured, which increases their susceptibility to contracting the virus during sexual intercourse. Data shows that in Uganda, two-thirds of all new infections of HIV occur in young girls, but only about 30% of them receive any HIV testing services.

Working Towards Equality

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program and the CDC partnered to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Uganda. Since March 2022, the CDC supplied HIV treatment for more than 700,00 people residing in Uganda, including around 19,875 pregnant and breastfeeding women. Based on Uganda’s Ministry of Health records, there has been a considerable decline in mother-to-child transmission of HIV in 2000 from 20% to 2.8% in 2021. Considering this, it seems that Uganda is making progress in addressing the gender gap in treatment.

The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) is a non-governmental institution, which has significantly reduced the number of HIV cases in the country since its inception in 2006 by Uganda’s government. The NGO works to support infected patients through its community drug distribution point (CDDP) by providing physical and psychological aid. The CCDP reduced travel time for Antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the wait times from typical pharmacies from two to three hours to 30-45 minutes. An estimated 65% of the patients enrolled in the CDDP program are women, with the program targeting 200 female sex workers.

The battle against HIV/AIDS in Uganda has been persistent for several years. With the various external and internal forces working to reduce existing inequalities in HIV treatments in Uganda, Women may be better able to access adequate treatment. Collaborations such as those between the government of Uganda and governmental agencies from the U.S. demonstrate the importance of U.S. aid and a mutual goal in addressing the gender gap in treatment and helping the most vulnerable populations across the world.

– Andres Valencia
Photo: Unsplash

Electricity in UgandaElectricity in Uganda remains a fundamental need many citizens live without due to poor infrastructure and high prices far outside the budget of average Ugandans. Uganda’s president has repeatedly complained about the electricity tariffs and soaring fees from private companies. As a result, the Ugandan government decided not to renew its contracts with Eskom, one of South Africa’s top electricity providers. The government is taking Eskom’s plants over with the Uganda National Electricity Company Limited (UNCEL) to control electricity prices, expand access to electricity and decrease multidimensional poverty in Uganda.

Overall, access to electricity is essential for economic growth. Without it, people are fighting to attain a proper education, access to social services, clean water and countless other necessities for living a life free of poverty. As access to these necessities expands, the quality of life could improve and so could the economic productivity of Uganda where 42.1% of people live in a complex web of multidimensional poverty.

Changing Infrastructure of Electricity in Uganda

Electricity in Uganda does not reach the majority of the population. Currently, around 42% of Uganda’s population has access to electricity, leaving the internet penetration rate at 26.2%. Electricity in Uganda has the opportunity to be innovative because it is typically non-reliant on fossil fuels. Uganda’s energy suppliers use biomass, hydropower and wind power more often than fossil fuels. Two hydropower stations are Uganda’s primary sources of electricity: the Nalubaale Power Station on the White Nile and the Kiira Hydropower station. Both hydropower stations have been under lease by the South African company Eskom since 2003. The lease will end in 2023.

Uganda’s government announced that it does not plan to renew the Eskom lease for the hydropower plants. Instead, it will take control of them through the state-run branch, the Uganda National Electricity Company Limited (UNECL). This decision stems from the incredibly high electricity costs limiting Ugandan’s electricity access.

Power Africa in Uganda

Power Africa is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) initiative striving to bring electricity to all regions of Africa thereby ending energy poverty and improving well-being. Power Africa in Uganda has already brought significant improvements to Ugandans. To date, Power Africa in Uganda has increased electricity access rates by 63% in urban Uganda and 11% in rural Uganda, creating more than 1.5 million new electricity connections in the African nation.

Notably, Power Africa in Uganda has provided loan guarantees to several of the energy providers in Uganda to build miniature hydropower plants. It has also financially supported projects in Uganda to guarantee the building of full-size hydropower plants to secure funding from organizations such as the African Development Bank.

Implementing Plans

Much of the electricity in Uganda comes from hydropower plants. When drought hit in 2005, there was a severe shortage of electricity available in the years since there has been an incredible surplus and increased electricity generation. The surplus has caused high tariffs, making access to electricity challenging and continuing the limited access to the internet. The tariffs are set by Eskom and are free from government regulation, which is why the Ugandan government is taking control of the hydro plants to have proper access to expanding internet penetration at reasonable prices without tariffs.

The government has implemented many plans to boost electricity penetration rates. Coupled with help from USAID’s Power Africa initiative, the future looks bright for Ugandans.

– Clara Mulvihill
Photo: Flickr

Honey Pride Arua
Honey Pride Arua, a private organization started in 2015 by Sam Aderubo offered an innovative approach to inclusive economic development across the region of Arua, Uganda. Specializing in honey, the organization aims to construct sustainable markets for beekeeping and production, alongside raising awareness amongst local farmers of the commercial potentials of beekeeping.

A comprehensive program offers education on all aspects of beekeeping and the honey production process, from apiary management to the packaging and distribution of goods. Through this, the organization enables existing local farmers and anyone with a desire or interest to enter into beekeeping to convert their hobbies into economic output, sustaining themselves and their families.

The Effects

As Betty Ayikoru, a local beekeeper and councilor outlined beekeeping benefits communities in more ways than selling honey. Honey Pride Arua has grown commercially in the scale of operations and income, but what is more significant is the effect this has on the surrounding community and stakeholders.

Today working with more than 1,700 farmers – 30% women and 60% youth, the organization makes emphasis on targeting marginalized members of the community. A holistic and immensely effective approach in addressing local unemployment by gearing their project to those in the community most likely to be unemployed, or equipped on average with lower prospects.

Honey Pride is also noted for the inclusion and support of refugees in economic activity for local development. Arua, in Northern Uganda, is a region largely populated with refugees compared to other parts of the country. Honey Prides’ inclusivity played a key role in gaining external funding from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

Stable markets offer stable incomes and Honey Pride’s activity has helped local farmers put children through school, financially sustain households and their families, as well as offering a nutritious element to their diet, according to a U.N. News podcast.

Previously it was difficult to find a reliable market with stable prices to sell one’s honey in Arua. However, prospects for beekeepers have drastically changed since Honey Pride entered the industry. Delivering on one of its central tenets, a stable honey market has emerged across the region. A kilogram of honey in 2015 was worth 3,500 Ugandan Shillings, today the market price is around 7,000 Shillings per kilogram. Encouraging statistics motivates many young members of the community to venture into beekeeping.

Another noteworthy aspect of Honey Pride’s operations is the efficiency of its practices. The organization works to eliminate waste by offering excess produce and residue to the community to fertilize local gardens and land, as well as feed livestock, according to a U.N. News podcast.

Investment

The most significant challenge to the organization has been financial. As Sam Aderubo himself states in the podcast, “finance is the lifeline of a business.” The organization in its early years, like most small Ugandan businesses, was unable to get investment from commercial banks. Aware of its social impacts and inclusivity practices focused on a community-benefit model, the UNCDF found a worthy beneficiary, investing over $117,000 to help Honey Pride Arua reach a certain threshold at which it will begin to attract investment from larger commercial banks and private equity firms.

This came in the form of loans for processing equipment and operations, alongside technical assistance and support in designing a sustainable and viable business model. Through these efforts, Honey Pride procured the likes of professional filtering equipment, an electric honey press for the extraction process and eight honey settling tanks each with a capacity of 1,000kg, UNCDF reported.

A direct impact of such measures saw a substantial increase in output from three to five tonnes per month post-investment, which, according to UNCDF, in 2021 amounted to a monthly increase in income by over $8,000.

Following the successful implementation of these loans in growing the organization, in the case of Honey Pride, several private equity firms have since displayed an interest in investing, offering a blueprint for further upscaling and aligning the company for greater success in the future, according to the U.N. News podcast.

What the Future Holds

Further expansion and entry into new markets is the next step for Honey Pride, having met international standards with its product. With increases in output and income, Honey Pride can begin to invest more in outreach and marketing, further consolidating the stability of local markets in addition to developing foreign ones as well.

Looking ahead, Honey Pride Arua aims to implement a program to equip local farmers or those with a desire to venture into beekeeping with the required equipment and facilities. This way, it is helping to establish more local beekeeping businesses that return on the investment they received from Honey Pride through their yield. An innovative, circular model of business. As Honey Pride grows commercially, its inclusive practices and reach spread, benefiting ever greater numbers of people.

– Bojan Ivancic
Photo: Unsplash

Women's Education in Uganda
Gender inequality remains a significant issue in Uganda. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these inequalities, significantly affecting women’s education in Uganda. Even before the pandemic, Uganda saw disparities in male and female literacy rates. According to the World Bank, in 2018, the adult male literacy rate stood at 83% in comparison to 71% among adult females.

Gender Inequality in Uganda

There are about 45.7 million people living in Uganda and 51.71% are female. For the past 20 years, Uganda has committed to a more gender-equal society by promoting women’s empowerment. A series of factors contribute to the marginalization of Ugandan women, including gender norms and lack of skills development and education among females. By improving women’s education in Uganda, organizations can reduce gender inequalities while empowering women and helping them to rise out of poverty.

Education in Uganda

World Bank data indicates that only 54% of primary school-aged girls in Uganda completed primary education in 2017. In 2016, only 57% of females who completed primary school moved on to secondary education. Furthermore, only 25% of females completed lower secondary school in 2017.

Rampant gender inequality in Ugandan society limits the education of girls. Families prioritize the education of boys and girls shoulder the burden of household chores and caretaking, leaving little time for education. Although this issue has lingered for many years, organizations are committed to promoting women’s education in Uganda and advancing women’s rights.

Spreading Sunshine

The Borgen Project spoke with Patricia Stivala, co-founder of an organization called Spreading Sunshine. Patricia and her husband Steve Stivala founded the small organization as a means of bringing light into the lives of disadvantaged people. Part of the organization’s efforts includes supporting the Street Business School in Nakigalala, Uganda. The Street Business School empowers impoverished women by allowing women opportunities to develop their business skills and education so that they can establish small businesses.

Spreading Sunshine donated money to the Street Business School to allow more than 100 women to go through a six-month training program to start their own businesses. Patricia attended the graduation ceremony of these women. From spending time in a large group to enjoying lunch together, she was able to celebrate these women’s successes. She went on to mention the pride and joy these women felt after rising above the societal limitations placed on females.

Other Efforts

Many other efforts are underway to promote girls’ education. The U.N. explains that “Education Plus is an advocacy drive to accelerate actions to prevent HIV and [gender-based violence] with access to secondary school education for girls as a strategic entry point.” Five U.N. agencies are co-leading the Education Plus initiative, working with the leaders of nations across sub-Saharan Africa. The Ugandan government launched the initiative in Uganda in June 2022, showing its commitment to advancing women’s education in Uganda.

In August 2022, the Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) organization launched the #everygirlinschool campaign. Through this campaign, female mentors work to tackle the limitations preventing women’s education in Uganda. By working with the Ugandan government, the organization hopes to strengthen the roles of senior women teachers in the country. An external assessment proves the positive impact senior women teachers have had on the education of young girls. According to statistics, “engaging with senior women teachers increased a girl’s chance of developing reading and writing skills by 264%,” UKFIET says.

The Ugandan Government’s Efforts

Not only is the Ugandan government working with other organizations that strive to promote women’s education and rights but it also launched a new policy of its own in February 2022. The policy encourages previously pregnant girls to return to school to complete their education. As a result, Margaret Babirye (a 17-year-old Ugandan citizen) is able to tend to her baby during her school lunch break. This is an opportunity Babirye never thought she would have prior to the release of this new policy.

In February 2022, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recognized Uganda’s considerable improvements in both women’s education and human rights. Improvements such as “gender-sensitive educational infrastructure” and strategic laws have led to significant progress.

In August 2022, U.N. Women collaborated with Sweden to launch the Promoting Second Chance Education Program for marginalized young women in Uganda. This initiative provides young women with a six-month course in electrical installation. Atemi Salami, a participant in this program, tells the U.N. that the program has allowed her to obtain a job at an electrical store where she earns a living to support her family.

Looking Ahead

Many efforts are underway to promote women’s education in Uganda. With ongoing commitments, organizations and the government can make strides in reducing gender inequality and empowering women.

– Madison Stivala
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Reduction in Uganda
In January 2022, Uganda’s economy grew by 4.6% an uptick from 3.4% in 2021 and 3% in 2020. Despite facing challenges during the pandemic, the country’s economy quickly recovered as the services sector and industries resumed activity. However, the East African nation with a population of 47.1 million people has an international poverty rate of 42% making poverty reduction efforts more critical than ever.

The Slowdown in Poverty Reduction in Uganda

The slowdown in poverty reduction in Uganda was in part due to rising commodity prices and disruptions in the global supply chain exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. This triggered high inflation which reached 6.8% from only about 2.7% in 2021. In response, the Bank of Uganda increased its policy rate by 1% in 2022 to 7.5%. This monetary policy slows the economy to keep inflation stable and return to lower price levels. A more stable economy in January 2022 allowed Uganda to experience increased private investment and higher activity in construction and manufacturing and export diversification.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Poverty Reduction in Uganda

One cannot dismiss COVID-19’s impact on poverty reduction in Uganda. In 2020, the government closed the borders and issued a nationwide lockdown and curfew. In addition, it also shut down schools, shops and churches. Economic growth slowed down and the government’s free health care programs reduced access to health care. In this period, relief aid went to urban areas and the poorest in rural areas ended up vulnerable. After seeing the impact of the pandemic the government gave out credit facilities, offered waivers of interest on tax, tax deductions and lowered interest rates to finance the private, agribusiness and manufacturing sectors.

The Village Enterprise Microenterprise Program

NGOs have also stepped in to boost Uganda’s economic growth and development. The Village Enterprise microenterprise program partners with governments and NGOs to eradicate extreme poverty primarily in rural East Africa. It works directly with poor households through entrepreneurship with the objective of lifting 20 million people out of extreme poverty by 2030. Over a period of one year, it provides them with mentorship, cash transfers, business training and the formation of saving groups. In Uganda, more than 30,000 businesses started through this program and 113,000 first-time entrepreneurs have received training. The impact created more consumption and income and improved the standard of living of hundreds of thousands of households.

The Strengthening Education Systems for Improved Learning (SESIL) Program

Uganda’s low education level presents another challenge directly contributing to poverty. Two out of five secondary school teachers did not have undergraduate degrees in 2017. Additionally, most classrooms have too many students, in some cases more than 60 which does not provide an environment that facilitates quality education. Uganda has one of the fastest-growing youth populations but government spending on education has fallen from about 25% in the early 2000s to only 11% in 2018.

The government recognized the growing youth population and in 2018 launched the Strengthening Education Systems for Improved Learning (SESIL) program. This U.K. aid-funded program improved the quality and equity of education in lower primary schools by focusing on an approach called Managing for Results (M4R). Teachers and ministry officials used data collection and analysis to monitor student progress. Based on their interpretation they were able to make decisions to improve students’ learning outcomes. This program has undergone implementation in more than 1,800 schools and trained more than 6,000 teachers in Uganda. There has already been evidence of the value of the program and its data collection approach to spot challenges and sustainable solutions in lower education.

The youth is what makes poverty reduction in Uganda and in other parts of the world important. They make up the future generation of this world. Their education is of the highest priority. It not only provides them with opportunities and pathways away from poverty but it also guarantees a more sustainable future.

– Hans Harelimana Hirwa
Photo: Flickr

Ebola Outbreak in Uganda
About 41% of Uganda’s population lives in poverty in 2022. The Ebola outbreak in Uganda has put the region of central Uganda at an even greater risk.

Ebola in Uganda

The Ebola outbreak in Uganda occurred in September 2022. In October 2022, the Ugandan Ministry of Health reported 43 cases and 29 deaths due to the rare Sudan strain of Ebola which can have up to a 90% mortality rate. However, outbreaks may now become less of a problem in Uganda as a consequence of the rest of the world’s increasing pandemic preparedness in the wake of COVID-19.

Previously, Uganda was not able to fortify its healthcare system due to a lack of support and funding. As a result, when this rare strain of Ebola began to attack several districts in the country, Uganda did not have the infrastructure necessary to appropriately contain it. One can see this as a clear indicator that countries like Uganda are still in need of a lot of help, especially from countries like the United States. Patients that have or are suspected of having Ebola also often are diagnosed with malaria which is another sign of people who are in need of assistance.

Uganda’s poverty rate has been climbing for the last decade due to a lack of infrastructure and economic growth. This has made it more difficult to effectively fight against the Ebola outbreak. Uganda does not have enough trained personnel in order to service all of the infected individuals.

Outside Impact

Organizations like Doctors Without Borders have stepped in, erecting temporary hospitals, to provide initial emergency assistance. Meanwhile, on October 6, 2022, USAID donated materials in order to help treat patients who have contracted the disease. It has deployed supplies in a timely manner in hopes that the spread does not get any worse and impact Uganda even more.

The quickness and severity of this outbreak are signs of larger struggles that the country is having when it comes to its economy and healthcare systems. There has been a noticeable response from within and outside of the country but if efforts do not keep up, the effects of this outbreak may only become worse and more noticeable in this community.

USAID, by way of the World Health Organization (WHO), has also provided support to Uganda by providing three viral hemorrhagic fever kits to help combat the spread of Ebola and an assortment of PPE to ensure the safety of all individuals in the area. These supplies have proven invaluable to the efforts of slowing this outbreak and continued support will likely be necessary for a while.

Looking Ahead

Uganda does have experience fighting outbreaks similar in nature to this one as it fought an Ebola outbreak in 2019 and completely contained it in less than a year. Hope exists that with that experience, they will be able to have the situation under control in less time than that and Ugandans will be able to return to normalcy.

– Alex Peterson
Photo: Flickr

Children in UgandaIn Africa, a large number of people are suffering from poverty and disease. As a result, many children are suffering. Half of Africa’s population comprises children, and the spread of disease has forced many of them to become homeless orphans or die at an early age. Thus, some organizations are implementing concrete actions to improve life for children. For example, in Jinja, Uganda, East Africa, there is a nonprofit non-governmental organization (NGO) called Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels, which Barb Giruad and Edwin Lufafa founded in 2009, and is helping “protect and care for” orphaned children “by providing education and a loving, stable home.” Here is some information about the organization and its accomplishments.

A Brief Introduction to Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels

The Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels’ name has a heartwarming meaning. Jaaja stands for “grandma” in Lusoga and Barbara Giraud is a grandmother who helped found the organization alongside Edwin Lufafa, who is from Jinja, Uganda.

Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels aims to improve life for Uganda’s children. In Uganda, HIV/AIDS has left many parents unable to afford child-rearing responsibilities. In many cases, young children are caring for themselves and their younger siblings at the same time and many children are homeless. Statistics showed that one in four of Uganda’s households has at least one orphan.

The intent of the organization is to help children find a home and gain education. As a result, Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels is not only providing a safe haven for orphan children but also acting as a children’s welfare project.

Success Stories

The Borgen Project emailed the staff at the Home of Angels to learn about their experiences with the organization and its accomplishments. The inquiry revealed that Edwin and Barb rescued 11 children who were living at an abandoned orphanage and provided them with shelter, food and water.

Currently, the organization is taking care of 32 children and has even implemented a nursery and a primary school, thanks to donations and the selling of banana bread. The organization also built a grass hut where the children can have meals and attend events. It also contains a projector and screen from which the children can learn English. Additionally, the organization implemented a well to provide both the shelter and its community with access to sanitary water.

Looking Ahead

More recently, Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels is providing aid to poor families with mentally and physically challenged children by giving their families land and seeds to grow food. Additionally, Edwin is teaching families how to make bricks to sell.

The kindness and love that Barb, Edwin and their co-workers are giving to children in Uganda are incredibly important. Their efforts have helped feed and shelter many children and their families.

– Ella Li
Photo: Flickr