Children Belong in Families, so we must strengthen and equip families to care for vulnerable children in their communities – this is only possible by building the skills and competence of the community and developing their leadership capacity to be continually progressing toward self-sustainability. While many orphaned children in Uganda live with a caring grandmother or aunt, they remain socially isolated and out of school, in addition, to continuously experiencing poor health and hunger. Although many families desire to provide these things for their children, they lack the ability and/or the resources to do so!. Our enterprise model is not only about equipping the youth and women with life skills, but also giving them equipment to set up the business after completing the training program – we will give equipment loans which they can then pay in small installments while earning a livelihood.
PARC makes every effort to keep vulnerable children in the safety nets of their families and the community. All our projects are directed towards strengthening and equipping families to care for, protect and support orphans and vulnerable children in their communities. We are using multiple interventions to ensure that we not only empower children, but rather increase household incomes and, as a result, the families will be able to provide for their children’s needs. We are working towards this by:-
In Ugandan rural communities, being able to raise food and income on a small scale is an essential life skill. For many children attending primary school, this will be the only formal education they receive, so any practical experience in agriculture is extremely essential. These topics are included in the Ugandan National Curriculum but are usually only taught in the classroom. At PARC, we plan to establish a small demonstration farm at our school to only to integrate agriculture into science and further our goal of experiential learning by teaching (to allow pupils to put the theory into practice) but also give the children valuable skills to take within them when they leave school. We will adopt the Farmer Business School (FBS) model to strengthen smallholders’ business attitudes and management skills for
better and diversified incomes and nutrition. We have the land, and staff with agricultural experience – what we need now are the varieties/ breeds, tools, and buildings.
About 50% of private community schools in Uganda close down due to lack of funding. The children attending there lose the stability and support that the school once provided, and are forced to drop-out. For this reason, we want to make sure that our school becomes self-sustaining in the near future, which is possible through the piggery and other small businesses.
The piggery will primarily serve to funding orphans education, while teaching children and the community valuable skills about backyard farming, business management, book-keeping, and profit management. It will be located on the school campus and will be feed on left-overs of the school feeding and bran (corn mill waste) being supported with some greens.
When piglets are produced, we will give all female piglets to community members on / through revolving basis program in order to improve the economic status of local families. Here recipients will give back half (50%) of the first litter (first batch piglets) to the organization – of which we will also pass half (50%) of piglets given back to us to the surrounding community and fatten the other half (50%) at our farm. The project will unite the children at the school with the community, which creates a network of care for the kids as they grow up, and sense of community in rural Uganda.
Mature pigs will be used as a food source (when sold to the market or eaten at school). 60% of the profits will go towards supporting the school child scholarships and day-to-day operations of the orphanage, 15% of the profits will be invested in village banks (Village savings and lending associations) for sustainable income generation, and the remainder (25%) of the income will support PARC operations.
The poultry project
About 50% of private community schools in Uganda close down due to lack of funding. The children attending there lose the stability and support that the school once provided, and are forced to drop-out. For this reason, we want to make sure that our school becomes self-sustaining in the near future, which is possible through the poultry and other small businesses.
The piggery will primarily serve to support school feeding program and funding orphans education, while teaching children and the community valuable skills about backyard farming, business management, book-keeping, nutrition, and profit management. It will be located on the school campus and will be feed on bran (corn mill waste) being supported with some greens. The project supplements the school children’s diets – will support school feeding through eggs and meat (live birds) and also provide valuable income to the school – the school menu will have eggs twice a week, so we will sell extra eggs to the community (local market).
MARKET ACCESS FACILITATION
The majority of Ugandans rely on farming for their incomes and survival, but the country’s agriculture sector, dominated by smallholder farmers, has historically had low economic support and output. Small businesses in Uganda face several challenges participating in the formal economy. They often lack a reliable supply of inputs and inventory; they have difficulty reaching consumers; much of the profits benefit the middlemen; they are unable to access financial services that would otherwise help grow their businesses; and they do not have strong financial management and business skills. Despite producing most of the world’s food, local farmers tend to be food insecure themselves: globally, they form the majority of people living in poverty because they lack links to better markets that would enable them to receive fair prices for their work. Also the youth and women we are incredibly talented weavers and indigenous farmers whose main barrier between a life of poverty and unlimited possibilities is access to a market.
PARC is committed to helping in value chain improvements of different crops (such as coffee, cocoa, vanilla, maize, and beans); as well as ethical production of hand-made goods (such as jewelry, baskets and bags) through “ fair-trade basis” to create decent incomes, improve food security and minimizing rural exodus to urban centres (cities). The idea of this project is to promote the transformation of value chains towards a greener and more inclusive economy. The purpose of the project is to reduce poverty and promote the long-term prosperity of rural Ugandan families by increasing the quality and quantity of different crops and handmade products. Our approach will be based on the value links approach that emphasis is on primary production, up and down stream business linkages and services. This will be achieved through the following 2 key interventions;-
Agribusiness Value Chain Development:
This revolves around the following key prolonged strategic approaches that include;-
(i). Establishing and reinforcing linkages: PARC is negotiating with various partners globally to help buy products from the producers upfront at a fair prices or connecting the producers with regional and/or international markets in order to strengthen economic opportunities for small businesses (farmers and artisans).
(ii). Provide training and education: To help build the relevant skills for the farmers and artisans on both production and the ethical practices. We may adopt Farmer Business School (FBS) strengthens smallholders’ business attitudes and management skills for better and diversified incomes and nutrition.
(iii). Produce support: This includes both materials or equipment and finances (low interest, flexible micro-loans) necessary to help farmers and artisans concrete on their business.
Establishing PARC Milling Factory:
The initiative will provide a vital service for villagers, who rely heavily on maize as a primary staple and currently have to walk nearly six hours to the nearest operational mill. This project will provide a market for women raising maize (corn), millet, sorghum and cassava and will allow them to earn the income they need to care for their families. Women will generate income for themselves by selling their produce to the mill – local farmers, often parents of children at the school, will bring their maize to the mill, the organization/school will buy it and mill it and uses it for the children’s feeding (with excess packed for sell). Also because they can access milling services in the community, it will reduce the distance women have to travel to mill their grains. Through the milling services, we will generate income for those running the mill.
The part of the flour produced by the mill will be used at the school (for school feeding) and the surplus also sold to the community. to create an income for the organization to run the school and other projects. Beyond providing for the maintenance of the machinery, the profits from the mill will be used by the organization to fund the school and other community projects such as providing women with low interest loans to fund their entrepreneurial businesses. In addition, the byproduct produced at the mill (the maize shell, called bran) will be used to make animal feeds (for chicken and pigs), part of which will be used at PARC Farm and the surplus feeds sold in the community to raise money to cover school fees for those children who attend the PARC schools but cannot afford to pay.
As part of skill development, farmers will be provided with hands-on training in grain post-harvest handling (value chain) for quality flour to the market. Also some elder school children and school dropouts will be trained in milling operations and maintenance – skills they can use to earn a living. Through this project, will not only demonstrate community-led school feeding initiatives, but also guarantee quality supply of flour and animal feeds over the years.
COMMUNITY TOURISM (PARC TOURS)
While tourism has become one of the most profitable sectors of Ugandan economy, until now only very few Ugandans actually benefit from it. In fact, many people are even suffering under the impact of tourism – when their immediate surrounding communities becomes part of a national park (or game reserve), they are not allowed to effectively protect themselves against wild animals. In Kasese, there are a few employment opportunities, so the project will provide an important source of income which discourages people from carrying out non-ecologically sustainable activities. Receiving tourists also provides and incentive for communities to value their natural environment and preserve it for future visitors and residents. Responsive community tourism is a possibility to help these people to get a fair share of the tourism industry and thereby encourage them to engage in the preserving of Uganda’s valuable and beautiful wildlife.
When in Kampala driving around the city, it can be quite a challenge with the amount of traffic. However, when traveling from Kampala going to Kisinga, Kasese in the west of the country, you may drive through the Kibale National Park or Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP), and quite often you have to watch out for the animals as they cross the road. It’s quite a challenge for the animals too, especially for the young ones……!
Why PARC Tours is unique?
It is a community enterprise owned by a local non-profit and managed by the local community, providing travelers (tourists) with an opportunity to experience the community life and appreciate the daily lives, while creating jobs for people with a variety of skills, including guides, artisans, dancers, etc. It will also help a community create and diversify its economy, which may previously have been dependent on one industry. Besides, the income realized will directly be used to support PARC to implement community projects.
The community members will actively participate in the tour and all proceeds from the fee levied to guests will all go directly back to the community (whereby 40% is shared by the site owners and local guides, 40% goes to PARC programming (community fund), and 20% is directed to project operations). We believe that, creating direct income for site owners and local guides will contribute heavily to conservation as the community will become more protective of the wildlife they benefit from. By working on eco-projects (sustainable use of natural resources and guaranteeing universal access to all communities), we will encouraging responsible consumption of materials from natural resources and educating communities in more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of life.
What services we offer?
Our team will organizes nature walks (village tours including farm tours), performances, and homestays (accommodation) around the community and can also offer different Safari-Packages to any of the National Parks and other sites in Uganda that perfectly fit your interests and budget.
Village experience: This takes you through the villages as our team will gladly show you around, from our own projects to arranging guided nature / village walks (farm tour where you can learn how different crops such as coffee, cocoa, vanilla, banana and other grow (including harvesting and processing up-to marketing), experience the rich bird and plant life and meet some of our villagers at their homes (in their farms) and/or on the way).
Cultural experience: This tour leads you through a cultural path of the native people of Mount Rwenzori. Here, you will indulge with local Bakonjo customs including blacksmith, dressing (bark-clothing), music (singing and dancing), different types of foods with different cooking norms, local brew (banana beer/ gin) making, and marketing (trade). Here, you have a chance to sample the food, local beer, and buy products such as bark clothes!.
Top of the world view: Here you will have to trek mount Rwenzori (snow-capped) to a higher altitude compared to the sounding topography, giving you a clear view of different communities, which gives you chance to see sceneries like the beautiful plains of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, mini-waterfalls in the green valleys of Rwenzoris, etc.
Institutional experience: Here you can visit a local school or health center or prayer centre (church or mosique) or Kings place, which takes anything between 1 to 3 hours depending on what you engage in while at the school/health center. This allows you to learn more about the systems of education, health, religion and /or cultural leadership of other countries. You can bring along items (material donations) to give away to the people like scholastic materials, medical equipment, etc.
Art-craft experience: This tour takes you through a various art and craft related projects that make you appreciate the local tradition of art-work in the
Our Art Gallery awaits you with African crafts, paintings and sculptures. Here, you can learn how to do local basket weaving (using a combination of dried millet straws, banana fibres, papyrus, raffia straws, and different beautiful dyes colors extracted from natural flowers), how this knowledge has been passed on to generations, teach women or learn a different art to weave or paint, and you also have a chance to buy some as souvenirs for yourself so you go home with your own masterpiece or friends back home.
If you are in the mood for being creative, we have the Pottery Group, which can offer pottery related adventure. You may find working with clay is very relaxing and you get to keep a special memory from your stay in Uganda. In case you prefer a finished piece the Pottery Group also has a shop and can produce orders on request.
Our Tailoring Workshop works with a unique mix of African and Western designs, so you can defiantly find a great gift or something special for yourself. If you have some time, they can also tailor make clothing or bags according to your wishes.
Homestays: With more time and interest in immersing yourself further in the culture and community of the area you visit, you can choose a few days to stay with a local family. Here you will have the opportunity to get involved in the daily chores of this family and eat the traditional and adapted foods.
Shopping and internet: For shopping and high bandwidth internet access, Kasese with its many shopping options, can also be reached in a short time (1 hour and few minutes). Also Kajwenge and Kisinga are not far, if you want to try a Boda-boda experience (motorbike ride) and you can go shopping at a traditional African market.
Safaris: For the nature lovers, a short 1 day safari to a national park (such as game drive in QENP including visiting fresh-water lakes, and crater lakes (salt lake), or boat riding on the Kazinga channel, or visiting the hot springs in neighboring districts of FortPortal or Lubirizi are not far to reach – all are located just in about a two hour drive from us) or a week-long trip travelling all over Uganda or trekking the Rwenzoris is possible.
How community based tourism benefits you?
Visitors to community experience a unique and authentic side of Ugandan life, as they meet the villagers, play with the kids, explore educational and health systems, taste/eat traditional food, and are guided by local experts. Unlike traditional tourism, this will provide you with one of the most meaningful re-creational and educational memories of your Ugandan holiday!