Reaching Out to the Most Vulnerable Communities

When the Ssamba Foundation opened its doors to the community of Kyampisi sub-county, Mukono District, we talked to the community members about what they thought were the issues that affected their lives and the problems they faced.

Our development philosophy is that the communities need to tackle the problems themselves; we want to give a hand up, not a hand out. Hand ups create self respect; self belief and the results are infectious.

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The community identified their hardships as being caused by poor education; lack of farming knowledge; lack of money and access to it; and poor health to which we have added environmental management.

These 5 hurdles provide the foundation stones of all our activities and we have projects aimed at targeting aspects of each. We believe that if poverty is to be alleviated, all the problems need to be tackled at once.

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We have divided our projects into 5 areas in which we can focus our work.

Our understanding of ‘Sustainable Development’ is that which focuses on the social, environmental and economic factors that are needed to ensure a development for the existing community that does not affect the ability of future generations to enjoy the same opportunities.

Our strategy focuses on change within the community. We do this in three ways.

  1. Investing capital in infrastructure and resources in schools and agricultural projects.
  2. Promoting small business development through micro-loans, and
  3. Building the skills and knowledge of the individuals.

Together with the community we have identified 5 key areas where change needs to have a positive impact if poverty is to be beaten in a sustainable fashion.

  • Health
  • Education
  • Water & Sanitation
  • Agriculture & Environment
  • Community Development (Social Economic)

Partnership, Participation, Progress

The method by which change is brought about is as important as the change itself. If change is inflicted on a person or community then it is likely to be resisted and the process likely to fail. The process of change must therefore be both desired and inclusive.

Our approach is to work in partnership with the community, collaborating with them, ensuring their full and active participation in the process. This reduces our role to simply one of facilitators, mentors and monitors.

Our role in the partnerships we build with the community’s formal and informal leaders is to bring external knowledge, skills, know-how and funds to the table to complement, enhance and build upon the existing skills, knowledge and passion. In this way we help turn their words and aspirations into projects that can help deliver what is needed to assist in the holistic process of change.

The communities understand that no single project is going to alleviate their poverty but that a number of projects focused on the 5 key areas will have a lasting positive impact and ought to provide them with the skills, knowledge and wherewithal to defeat poverty. It is important therefore for our donors also to understand that each project is but one spoke in the wheel of success and that the strength of the wheel/success comes from the combined efforts of each project. In Uganda the children and youth learn that Unity is power.

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