Poverty is a major problem affecting the communities that IWA serves, especially in Africa. Recent estimates show that 6 of every 10 people in Teso, in Uganda are poor. These high rates of poverty have affected the communities in multiple ways including failure to ensure the education of children, failure to access good health care, inability to build or acquire decent housing, low agricultural productivity and lack of food for consumption and sale, among other consequences. In the UK, members of IWA are also affected by poverty of a different nature.
To reduce poverty and inequality, IWA we sensitize our members and the wider community about economic opportunities and provide information on economic and employment opportunities; and conduct skills training. In the long term, we are working to strengthen our financial base by establishing an income generating project; and setting up a savings scheme for members. In Uganda, our plan is to support agro-processing; conduct research on viable economic enterprises; support the formation of cooperatives; promote local tourism in Teso region, and set up a micro finance institution as precursor to Bank.
IWA donates food to victims of hunger in Uganda
Early in 2017, 11 million people in Uganda were affected by food shortage. Teso region in eastern Uganda, an area inhabited by 2 million was most affected. Several people died due to hunger. The hunger affected vulnerable people such as children, sick people, especially those suffering from long term illness like HIV/AIDS, old people, pregnant women, etc., most.
In May 2017, IWA UK in line with its strategic objective of addressing poverty and together with her lead partner in Uganda, IWA Uganda launched Teso Hunger Appeal to help people to raise food aid for people affected by hunger in Teso. The Appeal raised closed to 40 million Uganda shillings or £8,000. This Appeal attracted individual well-wishers, churches and different groups as well as corporations in Uganda and UK. Because of the good working relations between IWA and the government of Uganda, the government provided transport to take food to the affected communities.
A total of 3,000 primary beneficiaries received food aid from across the 10 districts of Teso. Each of the beneficiaries received beans, polish (maize meal) or rice. All together 6,597 kg of maize meal, 1,350 kg of beans and 100 kg of rice were distributed.
As much this we could not reach everyone affected by hunger, beneficiaries of our food aid appreciated IWA for the gesture of care and concern. Like the beneficiaries, officials in all the areas where IWA distributed food expressed appreciation to IWA for the intervention.
For example, in Nyero Sub county in Kumi district, the Chairman Local Council III said, “I thank IWA for having identified this kind of critical group [people living with HIV] that has always suffered during food distribution [food distribution by other agencies or government] to the general population whereby they would be unable to struggle and end up being pushed away thereby missing food”. He added that, “IWA’s approach to food distribution was very unique, [because it is] systematic and peaceful”. Similar sentiments were expressed by most of the officials who collaborated with IWA in this activity.