UGANDAN COMMUNITY VIDEO INITIATIVE
Uganda is an East African country with a population of about 33 million people. Over 80% of this population live in villages with very inadequate power supply and, in most cases, none at all. The way of life of these people is characterized by perennial poverty, food insecurity, poor health resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene, environmental abuse, general illiteracy, laziness, domestic violence, and constant migration from rural areas to mainly Kampala (the capital), amongst other barriers to the basics of living. For the most part, this appalling situation is attributed to ignorance about available opportunities and best practices within these communities, something the government and other stakeholders have long been unable to address.
The currently employed means of advocacy and sensitization, like workshops, seminars and distribution of printed material within these villages, have proven ineffective since most of these people are unable to read and are reluctant to attend such workshops, deeming them boring.
In traditional Africa, storytelling is a very effective way of sensitization, and storytelling with pictures and sound is an even far more fascinating communication tool/experience. From this realization, the Ugandan Community Video Initiative was established mainly to help those remote communities without access to a power supply. The video initiatives primary objective is to produce educational community videos to showcase “success stories” to inspire rural populations. The videos will feature examples of the best practices that are within the means of the targeted populations. Using simple language, entertainment and didactic tools, this Initiative intends to excite community participation and initiate debate. These videos will then be projected to such villages through open-air screenings. The initiative will work together with local leaders to mobilize the local people for screenings in the evenings and with dialogues to be held between these leaders and the communities for synergies at the end of every screening.
The Ugandan Community Video Initiative will operate in the Districts of Nakaseke and Luwero in central Uganda in 5 sub-counties that were extremely affected by the protracted war of 1981-1986.
The first project, entitled “Abandoned Treasure”, will particularly target youth to try to redirect them to the land to fight absolute poverty and promote food security. Future projects will address such issues as poverty, food security, health, domestic violence, education, water and sanitation.
“ABANDONED TREASURE” PROJECT
Uganda is endowed with almost 100% arable land and has the potential to be the food basket of the East and central African regions of the continent. Our post-independence history was initially characterized by political instabilities brought about by the bad governance of earlier governments, which hindered the growth and development of almost all economic sectors--particularly the Agricultural sector, where land cultivation was difficult as people moved from place to place in search for safety and stability.
The present government that came to power in the year 1986 has tried to restore order, and now the population can engage itself in land cultivation without restraint. Despite this opportunity and the abundance of large fertile land in rural areas, food insecurity is looming perennially and poverty is the order of the day in many families. This is largely attributed to the inadequate efforts of the government and other stakeholders to sensitize and educate the youth (who migrate to urban areas in search for “cleaner opportunities”) about sustainable land use and the comparative advantage of the country for resource access. The land is still not properly seen as the resource for food securty and economic stability that it has the potential to be.
In Uganda today, there are a few people who have given good examples on how returning to the land can overturn misfortunes, and these will be featured in the “Abandoned Treasure” documentary:
Bwaziba Small Scale Pineapple Growers: Bwaziba village situated in Kikyusa sub-county Luwero District is where over 40 Youth formed the aforementioned Association. These Youth decided to stay in their villages and started small scale commercial agriculture, specializing in pineapple growing. Over the years, their example has been emulated by neighbouring villages and this area has become a business centre for exporters. The standard of life in this area is far better than many parts of Uganda. All these farmers have inspirational stories to tell.
Mr. Walusimbi Godfrey- Land owner of Nakaseke District: through his personal efforts has helped over 20 youths by providing them with seeds and three acres of land each to start off agricultural activities through planting beans, ground nuts and sweet potatoes for domestic consumption and sale. These youths who had never been employed can now give live testimonies of their relative success and can now continue to take care of their plantations without his help.
Ms Nakawunde of Masaka- peasant farmer in central Uganda: a widow successfully educated her 5 children by carefully using her 5 acres of land for integrated Agriculture, zero grazing of heifers, a poultry farm and piggery and planting enough food for domestic use. She did this without any loan. She has tips to give to young people on how she achieved this.
James Luutu- Local council leader: He realized that poverty is an attitude. He believes that there is something that leadership alone does not provide to people--proper advice and restoring the work ethic among the people. He hails from Wakiso District in Central Uganda. He has bought together over 200 youths in his constituency. Through his 6 acre demonstration farm in Busunju village, Luutu teaches young people best land use practices that use the available means within their localities. Here, they learn how to sustainably use land through simple income generating activities.
The “Abandoned Treasure” Project of the Ugandan Community Video Initiative will use the above four enterprising Ugandans as good examples for revamping small scale agriculture with a view towards fighting poverty and increasing food security.
The Ugandan Community Video Initiative respectfully requests donations in support of our first project, “Abandoned Treasure”. Our goal is to raise the $10,000 CAN required for the production, post production, and open air screenings. If you are interested in helping out, a Canadian tax-receipted donation can be made to this initiative at http://www.innovativecommunities.org/donate-ico-initiatives. One of the attractive features of ICO is that 100% of donations will go to our Initiative; no money is deducted for overhead or administration. The ICO bank account can be viewed by all live online. Please direct any questions to Fahd Ssebagala, the Initiative’s Kampala-based audio-visual producer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Mark Dull, ICO’s Canadian-based “Initiatives Co-ordinator – Africa” at email@example.com.