PARC serves in the war devastated, underserved communities across the Rwenzori sub-region of western Uganda in the Albertine Region. We work closely with the grass-root resource poor people, local leaders, and relevant government departments in order to ensure that we understand fully the challenges facing the communities and that our projects meet the needs of these communities.
PARC programs impacts two vulnerable groups of people; the children/ youth, and women. The reason we choose to help these groups is due to their social status in the society and being the most marginalized people in any community and Uganda at-large. We are primarily focusing on integrating education and health with sustainability projects to improve socio-economic situation of the local people. This is why, we will increasingly support community development initiatives aimed at combating poverty and promoting social cohesion. By concentrating on these thematic areas, we believe strongly that, the whole community, and not just a few individuals, can benefit and helping to make them less dependent, hence prepare for life and opportunities for their future.
By empowering children, we are building stronger, sustainable communities and transmitting long-lasting change throughout generations. Your participation whatever it is (volunteering, connections, financial, technical, communication …) is welcome!
THE CHALLENGE AND LOCAL SITUATION
POLITICAL INSTABILITY AND REFUGE INFLUX:
Uganda has rebounded from civil war and economic catastrophe to become relatively peaceful, stable and prosperous country with a population of 41.5 million people. The decades of political wars that rampaged across the Rwenzori region of western Uganda , northern Uganda region, and neighboring countries of Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR) lead to abducting, raping and killing tens of thousands as well as displacing millions of people, and many losing property.
Because of ongoing violence and conflict in South Sudan, DR Congo and CAR, Uganda is now the second-largest refugee-hosting country on the planet, after Lebanon. Almost 1.1 million refugees have fled their home countries to seek refuge in Uganda.
THE IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC:
First recognized in Uganda in 1982, Uganda has lost close to 2 million people to the HIV epidemic (more than all post independence wars combined together) and has an estimated 1.2 million children orphaned due to AIDS-related deaths. Currently, there are more than 1.5 million Ugandans are estimated to be living with HIV and AIDS. According to the Ministry of Health, 70% of medical admissions are HIV-related. With poorly equipped health system and chronic shortage of trained healthcare workers, the lack of improvement in infant and child mortality rates is largely attributed to pediatric HIV while AIDS is highlighted as the leading cause of death among adults.
Consequently HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality will negatively affect development initiatives at individual, household, sector and eventually national levels as individual and household savings are depleted to access care for the sick while income inflows from affected adults are cut off due to sickness and attending to the sick. Also, the resultant labour shortage is leading to a crisis in the traditionally labour-intensive agricultural system in areas that have been severely hit by HIV/AIDS.
HIGH POPULATION AND CHILD BURDEN:
With a population of 41 million people, more than 52% of Ugandans are below 15 years. This youthful age creates a very high dependence burden and locks the Ugandan population in a vicious cycle of poverty – this situation is compounded by an increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) who then subject more pressure on the employed to support those who are inactive. The major implication of Uganda’s young population is an increasing dependency burden at the household level, with a related increase in demand for social services (education and health), which are not keeping pace with the national economic growth.
POVERTY AND LACK OF BASIC NECESSITIES:
The growing population is putting an increasing strain on already limited resources that is far out of reach for many Ugandans and incoming refugees.
Food insecurity: While over 70% of Ugandans make a living in the agricultural sector, the increasing consequences of climate change is leading to declining outputs among the farmers – making it more difficult to make survival. Whereas Uganda produces more food than it consumes, poverty still limits people’s access to nutritious food. A fast-growing population and the presence of the world’s third largest refugee population pose further challenges to the country’s ability to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Zero Hunger. On average, nearly half of all Ugandans consume less calories than they need every day. One out of every four people in Uganda is malnourished and one out of every three children under the age of five is stunted due to malnourishment. One in three school children have no food to eat during the school day.
Clean water (sanitation): More than 21 million Ugandans still do not have clean water. While much of Uganda is open water and swampland, it is safe to drink. The high demand and poor management lead to shortages of clean groundwater – facilities are under strain in towns and cities, and the springs and wells that rural communities rely on are mostly used up.
Modern slavery includes forced labor, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, debt bondage and forced marriage (all of which are both major problems in Uganda). Because of its centralized location, Uganda is an important destination in the region for trade and tourism. However, growing economic disparity and lack of employment opportunities has also resulted in making the population vulnerable to the crime of human trafficking. Traffickers in Uganda often use threats and violence to compel victims to engage in a variety of industries including commercial sex acts or to work in their businesses.
+ Minors from the rural communities are trafficked to Kampala and other large urban areas where demand for child labor and sex slavery is high. Also children from neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Kenya and DR Congo are also exploited in forced agricultural labor and sex trafficking in Uganda.
+ 1 in every 4 modern slavery victims are children. Children are found in every type of slavery from labour to sex trafficking to forced marriage.
+ Anyone who is forced to work or marry and cannot refuse or leave is a victim of modern slavery. Most victims (71%) are women, many in forced domestic work or marriages.
REVERSING THE TREND
Sharing Ideas, Combining Skills and Connecting Resources:
By being able to spend time within communities, listening to them and understanding some of the complexities of the situation from their point of view, it helps us to build a realistic picture of what is feasible, practical, necessary and sustainable.
Taking Steps to Get Out of Poverty:
Education, health, and livelihoods (getting an income) are the vital steps someone needs to be able to take to start to make a move out of the endless, repressive pit of poverty.
Most people just need a chance – an opportunity to start to be able to move out of the shell. Nothing that difficult to impossible!. An offer of good schooling in a solid, nurturing environment, and the backup of good quality healthcare couples with supplementary income can do this.