Bees put a buzz into Ugandan lives

The Planning, Development and Rehabilitation (PDR) programme of the Church of Uganda is showing people how to make more from their land and building prosperity as they do so.  With 80% of Ugandans living off the land and 35% below the poverty line, those who live off the land are more likely to have adequate food.  It makes CWS’s partner’s focus on improving food security a sensible way to build better communities.

Sande George of Mirambi Village, Ndyeke parish in Western Uganda offers a good example of what is being done to increase business opportunities for those in need.  Sande has been trained in small business development with a specific emphasis on beekeeping.  He started with 19 beehives and the local diocese later donated five extra hives.  As business improved he bought another six hives.  Of these he is presently harvesting 26 hives with an average yield of about 100kg per harvest.  Sande sells these yields for about 10,000 Ugandan shillings (NZD $4.48) per kilogram.  He harvests twice a season.

Sande has helped pull together two groups of bee farmers in his district who pool resources and mentor eight members who have each put 12 beehives on their acre blocks.  The star performers in this group have been supplied with bee suits, smokers, gloves, airtight buckets and extra hives by the diocese to help boost their production. They have also planted pine trees.

Meanwhile Sande has set up a roadside shop where he sells his honey.  He also buys honey from other farmers which he sells at retail prices to tourists and travellers.  Now with this strong business base he can pay his own way and invest in the future by sending his children to school.

Others have used the small business development training received from PDR to establish new opportunities.  For Jovail Baibanga, a widow who is raising her orphaned grandchildren, skills training has meant she has learnt how to buy and market rock salt in a more profitable way.

“I also grow crops like maize, beans and millet both for food and for commercial purposes so I can pay the school fees for my grandchildren and look after their general upkeep.  From my savings I was able to purchase 16 local chickens whose eggs I then sell on trays.  I am now saving for construction of a permanent house in the near future.”

In other parts of Uganda PDR is helping lay the foundations for better lives in areas traumatised by years of violent conflict. Skilled counselling is turning lives around.  Lives like that of Chepkwais Chrispus who lives in St Peter’s Parish.  His household was targeted by the support project.

“Our lives were so miserable; I used to drink a lot and would beat my wife.  My children were always going hungry.  I could not pay my children’s fees.  These days I spend my time in my tree nursery.  I no longer drink and fight.  I am optimistic about the future; my plan is to build a permanent house for my family.”

 

More about the Church of Uganda

CWS has been supporting the Church of Uganda’s development programmes since 1992. The work includes

  • Anti-malaria programme (including nets and public education)
  • Environmental protection (including reforestation)
  • Livestock programmes (goats, cows, bees and more providing food and income)
  • home based care for people living with HIV and AIDS
  • Small loans/business training

The Church of Uganda is made up of 31 dioceses throughout the country.  Each year they offer the programmes in two parishes within each diocese, thereby helping 62 communities.  Each diocese chooses the parishes as most needing the assistance each year.  This has proved an effective means of sharing the care in a country where aid assistance is often distributed unevenly.