Uganda is an especially impoverished nation, with 41% of the population living in poverty. Although the country receives aid and help from other countries, it is also home to many nonprofits that seek to provide additional help to the country’s citizens. Many of the county’s nonprofits are located in more urban areas of the country, such as Kampala. The Butakoola Village Association for Development (BUVAD) is one of the few nonprofits aiming to specifically help one of the country’s most struggling populations — Indigenous Ugandans. BUVAD is a volunteer-run and Indigenous-founded nonprofit started in 2000 that aims to help all Ugandans — and especially Indigenous Ugandans — improve their overall quality of life. One of the most unique parts about BUVAD as a nonprofit is its variety of approaches to achieving its goals.
Women’s Economic Empowerment
One of the most unique groups that BUVAD is helping is female entrepreneurs. To do this, they started a microloan program for women with small businesses to receive money intended to go towards anything to help their business grow. Since the start of the program, 20 more women have joined and are currently receiving microloans for their businesses. Some businesses that BUVAD says these microloans have gone towards are mat-making, basket-weaving and beer-brewing businesses owned by women in Uganda. This program also creates a network for women receiving the loan, which has resulted in these women regularly holding meetings and helping each other with their businesses.
These microloans have helped women business owners, which is especially important in Uganda. In Uganda, nearly 40% of all businesses are owned by women, but women entrepreneurs earn 30% less profit compared to male entrepreneurs. By continuing to support women-owned businesses, perhaps the stigma surrounding businesses owned by women in Uganda will become less severe and profits will begin to become equal between genders.
HIV/AIDS Prevention and Support
BUVAD is helping lower Uganda’s HIV/AIDS infection rate as well. The nonprofit takes the approach of normalizing Ugandans to HIV/AIDS prevention methods by integrating the information into workshops about other topics. For example, in a workshop about bottle brick technology, BUVAD includes information about HIV/AIDS prevention, normalizing discussion about the disease in Uganda. This is especially needed in Uganda, with the HIV/AIDS infection rate in some areas of the country reaching as high as 8%, and the highest-infected areas also being the most impoverished. By normalizing discussion of HIV/AIDS and ways to prevent it, BUVAD hopes to reduce the disease’s infection rate in Uganda and get more of those who are infected on preventative medication.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Support
BUVAD’s most comprehensive program is one that focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene support for Ugandans, which the program aims to do by executing six main approaches to the issue. These are to promote regular handwashing, safeguard vulnerable communities against preventable water-spread diseases, improve water and toilet coverage levels, improve water sanitation and hygiene levels, improve awareness of government water programs and ensure the safety and consistent maintenance of safe water sources.
Water safety is an especially prominent issue in Uganda, with more than 20 children being admitted to the hospital per week in Kayunga, a district in Uganda, due to water safety-related issues. BUVAD helps these children directly by creating 10,000-liter tanks out of recyclable plastic for primary schools in Kayunga to store safe water. Water safety in Uganda is considered a crisis, with 83% of the country’s population lacking access to clean water. By creating direct approaches to providing clean water like BUVAD is doing, the water safety crisis will slowly become less of an issue over time.
BUVAD’s Multifaceted Work in Uganda
Although most nonprofits tend to approach one main issue out of fear of spreading resources thin, BUVAD has managed to address a multitude of issues effectively while still being able to consistently create new initiatives and approaches to issues. By continuing to do this, BUVAD will continue to help lift Ugandans out of poverty and help the country improve in both health and economy.
– Aidan Johnstone