KAMPALA — Uganda is one of the most notable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to see vast improvements in its economy. Albeit its dependence on coffee exports, which makes it vulnerable due to fluctuating world prices, Uganda has made serious investments in both education and infrastructure. According to Reuters, the International Monetary Fund predicted its steady growth would rise to 5.5. percent next fiscal year, in part due to the spending on infrastructure. Per CountryWatch, significant reforms have lead towards an improvement in living standards as well as a reduction in poverty, despite the fact that “42 percent of Ugandans live under the poverty line.”
With refinements tailored to provide increased opportunities for Ugandans, there are three initiatives focused on alleviating poverty in Uganda that stand out. These key projects focus on alleviating poverty by:
- Employing women to provide them with direct services
- Reducing youth unemployment by launching a campaign to focus on entrepreneurship
- Training women to have more steady jobs
Fashion Company Initiative
A new fashion company called Msichana is special in its effort to improve the lives of many Ugandan women. They are a newly formed fashion company structured to help women who come from low-income families, in order to provide them the necessary skills they’ll need to succeed in the workforce. Their website also indicates a few of their core approaches, one of them designed to accommodate women who struggle with literacy by providing them with sufficient training.
They also provide vocational training and financial management courses. The result? “Better-educated, well-rounded women, equipped with income-generating skills and capable of running successful and professional careers.”
Youth Unemployment Initiative
Of the three initiatives focused on alleviating poverty in Uganda, the East Africa Youth Inclusion Program aims to directly provision needs for youth within the area. This project offers a unique service for many Ugandans who have conviction and ambition, but are in need of supplementary business and social skills designed to allow them to prosper. One of the trainees spoke on the outcome of the program, and how it prepared them to better utilize their resources to better farm.
“The one-and-a-half months of training helped a lot,” he said. “Communication is good in our group, there is accountability … there’s a change, people work together better than before.” Part of the problem is that there are not enough jobs in the formal sector to allocate jobs for the majority of Uganda’s population.
Another form of entrepreneurship that’s part of the three initiatives focused on alleviating poverty in Uganda aims to provide opportunities for women through agrarian-based enterprises. The Kudumbashree Mission is a community network predominantly focused on assisting women in the State of Kerala. Their functions are to help eradicate poverty and empower women; in addition, they also promote “democratic leadership, and support structures formed from the ‘Kudumbashree family.’” Their newly formed training programs are designed towards helping women to start a hibiscus wine and juice making business.
Originally organized by the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (Manage) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the training program “helps women to set up a plant to make juices and wine from roselle flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa).” This initiative has been quite successful, with the expectation of sales of wine to increase near the holiday season. According to a recent article, the women of this project reap profits of up to Ugandan Shilling Rs 3,000 a month.
Similar to other landlocked countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda hopes to enhance economic empowerment by investing in renewable energy, electricity production, roads, railways and an oil pipeline. Education is also a fine tool which has been a contingent factor for the government, who are seeking to reduce the poverty rate across the country.
Since the implementation of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997, primary school enrollment has doubled. All these projects are focused on providing new reinforcements to an economy eager to diverge from its dependence on the agricultural sector and now, only time will tell how the nation fares in its efforts of alleviating poverty in Uganda.
– Alexandre Dumouza