2016 has been quite a year for Raising the Village. We have continued our pioneering work eradicating extreme poverty within “last mile” at-risk communities in Uganda and through the introduction of our new cluster approach, our work is making a greater impact in more communities. As a result, we have added 25 new partner villages representing 25,979 men, women and children who are benefiting this year!
The RTV Cluster Approach allows us to multiple our work by taking advantage of farmer to farmer interaction and leveraging our project officers who can work with a group, or “cluster”, of geographically proximate villages. In our pre-cluster iterations, we were often approach by neighbouring villages if their villages would have the same opportunity to participate in RTV partnerships. and even as we selected other communities in the area, we would see definite sharing of knowledge and best practices outside our partner villages. Having worked through our first 5 clusters, we have seen the flow-through effects of these interactions. More so, clusters have enabled our staff to better utilize their travel or save on direct input costs as they can work with all several or all villages in the cluster in the same visit. All told, clusters have increased our average project of 1 village and 1000 people by a factor of 5.
One such partner is Mirengeizo village, located 3.5 hours northeast of Ugandan’s capital, Kampala. Mirengeizo prioritized their needs to include health and water, agricultural training and income opportunities for their young adults. To address the community priority to access clean water, RTV provided for a new borehore. This reduced collection times from 5-7 hours travelling nearly 9km to less than 1 hour and has been a big increase in time that women can spend tending crops and for children to attend school.
As well, 8 Village Saving & Loan Associations (VSLA’s) were formed in Mirengeizo, to distribute and manage their particular initiative. For each VLSA, half the households received the initial inputs and as an initiative succeeds, the remaining households receive their portion from their neighbours. In Mirengeizo, the following were started:
- Five household level initiatives (Goat-rearing, Beans, Maize, Sweet Potatoes and Fruit Trees). By using higher quality seeds and employing new agricultural techniques taught by RTV, there has been a dramatic increase in agricultural outputs, turning what had been subsistence farming into income generating opportunities. The average crop is producing over 200% yields compared to previous, and as the year continues, the leaders in each VSLA
- A women’s peanut income project which has provided women their own VLSA and income from a 98kg peanut harvest.
- A piggery pilot supporting orphans and other vulnerable children. Last fall 12 piglets were given to orphans and vulnerable children. A year later, these have become 57 pigs, providing fertilizer for farming and assets that can be sold and turned into a source of emergency savings.
As a result of RTV’s partnership and the effort of each community member, participating households have seen their incomes increase from an average of $0.27 a day – the bottom quartile of extreme poverty – to $1.84, an amazing 681% increase. Further, the number of leadership positions in the village increased from 10 to 40 – 16 of which are women. These 30 new leaders ensure the success of the initiatives, tracking results and collected household contributions to generate further economic activities.
These initiatives have become an integral part of the village and the community, through the dedication of the leadership, are actively meeting and planning for their future – none of which could have been done without your support.
Through Raising The Village, a life-changing transformations can be achieved with an investment of just $20,000 (CDN) per village. One hundred people donating $200 each could fully fund a village of 1000 people in the next Mirengeizo. Help us reach that goal through a one-time gift or chose to become a monthly donor.