Bitongo is located at the base of the formidable Virunga mountains in the Kisoro region of Uganda. Since RTV breaking ground in 2011, the community has worked hard to secure a better future for themselves and future generations.
Remember the 23 goats that arrived in the village last year? Well they’ve been busy, 11 have given birth to date and there are now 35 goats living happily in the ‘abandoned place’ (the name doesn’t really ring true anymore!). In late March all goats were de-wormed and tagged so we can track their progress; ensuring they stay healthy and continue to provide vital nutrition and income to the community.
Last year demonstration plots were planted and now potatoes, beans and cabbages have been harvested and sold and the funds have gone back into the agricultural cooperative. This program has led to 20 households benefiting from improved seeds and farming techniques. Additional members are being added to the program each season which will lead to Bitongo’s self sufficiency and equipping them to deal with challenges such as unseasonal weather and crop disease.
Every household is now able to collect water from one of the 3 rainwater harvesting tanks that have been constructed. Before these tanks were in place, villagers would have to walk 6 hours to collect water that was likely to be contaminated. Now they only have to walk for 10 minutes and can collect clean water several times a day. The effective management of these tanks by a committee ensures the village has enough water during the dry season and helps to prevent water borne diseases.
The passion and dedication of the community along with the support from RTV has proven to be a winning combination. Just see what we can achieve when we work together!
The goats have now arrived and with the help of a local vet, the communities have been busy tagging and immunizing the herd.
As the goats reproduce the cooperative will grow, giving even more community members an opportunity to rear animals that will provide them with a valuable source of protein and a means to increase household income.
We’re thrilled to see this positive progress happening every day within the communities we work with. Together we can change lives!
You may know that John Phyper is on our Board of Directors, but there’s so much more to his RTV story! See below:
Raising The Village: When did you start volunteering with RTV and what have you worked on with the team?
John: I started to volunteer in July 2012 as a member of the Board of Directors. I’ve contributed to the building of our fundraising strategy – where can we get the money from!
Raising The Village: How did you first get involved?
John: Through Monish, another board member. He passed on information on what the group was doing, and I was intrigued by what I heard.
Raising The Village: Why were you interested in volunteering with the organization?
John: I was initially drawn to the sustainable nature of the projects. Raising The Village doesn’t just give money, but concentrates on working with villages to identify what they need, to build plan to work together to build the project and ensure that there is ongoing funding for maintenance. Another critical draw are the Key Performance Indicators. Their definitions and the information they are tracking is way ahead of any other volunteer organization I have seen.
Raising The Village: What is your professional background? What do you do for a day job?
John: I have degrees in Environmental Engineering and spent most of my career either consulting on Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) issues or creating and selling EHS software. For the last 4 years, I have been EVP Sales, Marketing & Alliances at Intelex Technologies.
Raising The Village: Share a funny story or anecdote that has come up in your work with RTV:
John: Raising The Village is all for trying new innovative projects. We heard about the problem a village was having with elephants trampling their crops. Bee hives were proposed as the out of the box solution, which led to our discussion of how we were going to “seed” the hive. Great brainstorming sessions as a result.
We are fortunate enough to have the brilliant Rohit Ramchandani on our board as Public Health Adviser, bringing a breadth of valuable knowledge and experience to the team.
Rohit’s work with ColaLife is now being showcased in an inspiring new film. Set in Zambia, The Cola Road follows the launch of the first trial to use Coca-Cola’s crates and distribution know-how to deliver life-saving anti-diarrhea kits.
“You will find Coca Cola is any village in Zambia, at any time but you will not find medicine – what is the difference?”
The exclusive pre-screening is being held at Waterloo University for the Applied Health Sciences alumni community on May 9th. For the rest of us, we are eagerly anticipating the film’s official release – keep checking in for more news!
Only a few more days before the challenge begins and fundraising is really ramping up!
Top 3 fundraisers:
Imagine living in an impenetrable forest with the closest town a 35 mile hike away (something to bear in mind the next time we’re having a difficult commute!). This is the reality for the 350 plus people living in Kanyamahene. Raising The Village has been working with this remote community since 2011 and plenty of inspiring developments have taken place since then, including the hugely successful bicycle ambulance and beehive fence.
So what’s been happening since our last update? Here is the latest news hot from the field.
The community goat co-operative has got off to a flying start. There are now 37 healthy goats in the village and the community have been meticulously recording and rearing the animals to ensure the co-operative runs smoothly and effectively.
A major priority for the people of Kanyamahene was a local source of clean water. Previously, the closest water source was a 2 km hike over rough terrain, back-breaking with a 20 litre jerry can. The answer – rainwater harvesting tanks, which have been successful across many of the villages we work with. Three tanks have now been installed, each holding 10,000 litres and providing clean water for up to 24 households. Water and sanitation training was carried out in February by Remmie and Clement (Ugandan Project Advisor, South West) with full participation and commitment from the community.
There have also been positive developments in the agriculture diversity in the village. So far 20 households have received improved seeds, allowing them to provide improved nutrition for their family as well as make a living from the sale of the produce. 20 more households are scheduled to receive the seeds by the end of the year. Crops of potatoes, beans and cabbages have now been harvested and the new seeds will be planted next season (August/September).
It has been a very productive few months in the ‘place where goats graze’. We’re thrilled with the progress so far and the community’s dedication and hard work. Keep in touch for more updates coming soon!
- No public Twitter messages.
- Behind the Scenes (9)
- Bernard (4)
- Bitongo (6)
- events (3)
- from Shawn (19)
- From the Field (24)
- games changers (9)
- Grace (5)
- innovative solutions (8)
- Krystal (5)
- News (9)
- newsletter (8)
- Photo Friday (99)
- Photo of the Week (1)
- Profile (1)
- Projects (11)
- Richard in Kampala (13)
- Richard in Uganda (2)
- RTV (20)
- Ssanga (3)
- Uganda: March 2011 (15)
- Uncategorized (24)
- May 2013 (6)
- April 2013 (13)
- March 2013 (8)
- February 2013 (5)
- January 2013 (6)
- December 2012 (8)
- November 2012 (7)
- October 2012 (3)
- September 2012 (6)
- August 2012 (8)
- July 2012 (8)
- June 2012 (3)
- May 2012 (7)
- April 2012 (9)
- March 2012 (7)
- February 2012 (6)
- January 2012 (3)
- December 2011 (7)
- November 2011 (9)
- October 2011 (4)
- September 2011 (5)
- August 2011 (7)
- July 2011 (7)
- June 2011 (12)
- May 2011 (10)
- April 2011 (16)
- March 2011 (2)
- February 2011 (2)
- January 2011 (8)
- November 2010 (11)
- October 2010 (10)
- September 2010 (6)
- August 2010 (6)
- July 2010 (3)
- June 2010 (1)