In March 2019, the men of Orom village in Northern Uganda accepted AVSI’s invitation to join a group: they participated in trainings to learn how to save and invest money and how to be responsible parents.
They have not given up on finding ways for a survival amidst the unreliable resources such as water supply, social services and other ways to gain an income. But above all they convinced themselves that together, they can make it, and today, the results are evident:
At harvest time four sacks of fresh onions were ready to be sold in the nearest town market while their garden eggs were placed under the sun on plastic bags which the group could readily afford, and resold when the vegetable is off season when the group makes a good bargain. The earnings will be divided and partially reinvested.
The harvest is the result of a careful and constant work in the fields: Clement, a member of the group donated 15 by 48 square meters of land as a community garden. The men work the land in turns so that they can have time for alternative ventures. They ensure that the vegetables are properly irrigated.
In the quest to build a strong generation in Orom, Kwoloke group is working towards a quality education for the children in their community. Romeo who is part of the group is now old, he cannot spend long hours in his cotton field yet he has six grandchildren to look after and his cotton is his only resource. The group went an extra mile to offer their services to Romeo in his field. At the end of the season, his cotton was ready for a harvest and Romeo was able to send all his grandchildren to school.
Caesar’s dream was different. He wanted a new home for his family, a dream he is realizing with a brick house he is constructing after occasional encounters with the other members of his group - he can’t wait to sleep between the masonry walls from the collective effort of Kwoloke group.
Clement, the most energetic in the group, lost his wife a few years ago, but he has found the energy to regain his life. Today, his children are happy to be in school. They laugh and chat about their joys of having a school uniform.
The energy of this group is endless: with their future plan to acquire more land for cultivation, use improved seeds and fertilizers, and produce honey, they have carried a market survey which has provided them with the enthusiasm to go on and on with their business.
But that's not all: the 15 heroes are advocates and champions of other men within the community encouraging male participation in health, parenting and economic empowerment issues as a means to build a better future for their families and the entire community.
The Orom experience was made possible with funding from a USAID-funded program, Better Outcomes. The five-year program (April 2015 - March 2020) aims to improve on the wellbeing of 367,000 children and youth orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and other adversities in Eastern and Northern Uganda, with activities which have brought meaningful change in the life of the people of Orom village. Activities include:
- economic strengthening: trainings in how to save and invest money
- youth programming: education and recreational activities for the youth
- early child development and parenting: trainings on how to be responsible parents, especially during the first five years of life
- system strengthening: coordination with other organizations on data collection and planning
- case management: social workers visiting families and making referrals for critical services