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:-
FARM MARKET ACCESS
The youth and women are incredibly talented weavers and indigenous farmers whose main barrier between a life of poverty and unlimited possibilities is access to a market. 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. PARC is committed to helping artisans and farmers bring their products (handmade goods, coffee, and cocoa) to market on more than “a fair-trade basis”, improve their livelihoods, and develop sustainable businesses with the goal of encouraging self-reliance, minimizing rural exodus to urban centers (cities), advancing food security in the community. Rural poverty is complex, and there is no single solution to the problems artisans and farmers face. To address this, we are providing;-
Training: we offer production value-chain training (business education), coupled with quality control training and support
Micro-loans: We offer interest-free loans with a flexible repayment system allowing them to pay back in any amount throughout the loan term.
Value addition: We facilitated the production process (whether it is just recycling local waste into beads or jewelry, or it is washing to drying coffee or cocoa,) and assist in sorting and grading products before finally being stored.
Market facilitation: Promote market access through development partners abroad (retailers in the US, etc) and an online e-commerce platform. PARC is negotiating partnerships /contracts with multiple businesses (organizations) of selling of merchandises to them on a collaboration – that is more than fair trade, where in addition to the better market offered a portion of the net profit from the sales will be donated to fund local projects in the community.
Mountain Tribe Tours and Travel (M3T) is a community service project and social enterprise providing travelers (tourists) with an opportunity to experience the community life and appreciate the daily lives of the local people, while directly contributing to the incomes of the villagers. Besides, the income realized through tour services is directly used to support PARC to implement projects that target orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), adolescents and youth, and the entire community.
Why is PARC investing in responsible tourism?
While tourism has become one of the most profitable sectors of the 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 become part of a national park (or game reserve), they are not allowed to effectively protect themselves against wild animals. 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.
How is M3T in a unique position to benefit the community?
It is owned by a local non-profit grassroots organization and managed by the local community, creating jobs – providing employment for people with a variety of skills, including guides, artisans, dancers, etc. It will also help a community diversify its economy, which may previously have been dependent on one industry or economic sector.
In Kasese, there are few employment opportunities, so M3T will provide an important source of income that discourages people from carrying out non-sustainable activities such as poaching, fishing, logging, or gathering firewood from protected areas. Receiving tourists also provides an incentive for communities to value their natural environment and preserve it for future visitors and residents.
The community members participate in the tour and all proceeds from the fee levied to guests all go directly back to the community (whereby 40% is shared by the site owners and local guided, 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 supporting the sustainable use of natural resources and guaranteeing universal access to all communities, we will encourage responsible consumption of materials from natural resources and educate communities in more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of life.
What services does M3T offer?
M3T offers but not limited to the following services;- tours and travel, workshops, performances, dining, and homestays (accommodation), all of which are provided by the local community.
Village walk: This takes you through the community and is a great way of visiting community projects like local farms (vanilla experience/coffee experience/cocoa experience), handicrafts (weaving, wood carving, pottery making and tailoring centers, a waterfall, distillation site of local gin, banana-beer brewing demonstration site, a traditional healer, a primary school, bird-watching in a community, music, and performance.
Cultural Interactive tour: Here you go through villages where you meet tribes with different cultures but all residing in this same region so with the community village interaction, you get a chance to hear different languages, different types of foods with different cooking norms, dressing, etc and also travel to the local market to learn about produce, fabrics, and trade – where visitors get the opportunity to browse the local craft shops.
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.
Local institution Tours: Here you can visit a local school or health center 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 education and health systems of the countries. You can bring along items (material donations) to give away to the people like scholastic materials, medical equipment, etc.
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.
How does this benefit tourists?
Visitors to community tourism projects 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 experts who have lived here their whole lives.
Unlike traditional tourism, M3T will provide you with one of the most meaningful creational and educational memories of your Ugandan holiday!
PROVISION OF MICROLOANS
We pair the giving out of micro-loans with the development of eco-business that contributes to biodiversity and environmental conservation. agribusiness training (farming business training), farm product value chain improvement, leadership, and incentives to save. Our community-based financial literacy program provides training and workshops through the village savings and loan association. This continued learning, paired with income-earning opportunities, enables women to become confident leaders, in charge of family finances, health, and education. Through the financial literacy training, our beneficiaries are taught the value of long-term financial planning and receive incentives for the deposits made in their personal savings accounts. We charge low interest on the loans such that we’re able to cover some of the expenses to deliver the training and support needed to ensure that our clients succeed.