As our first week in Masaka comes to a close, it is hard to believe we have only been here for a week! Throughout our first few days here, I have been filled with a combination of excitement and comfort as I come across familiar scenery, smells, and faces – it is crazy to think it already been two years since I have been here last. I feel so lucky to be able to return to Kitovu Mobile, and for the opportunity to learn from such an incredible organization and all the amazing people that work there.
So far, our days have been filled with orientations, updates, and oh so necessary Luganda lessons (the language of Uganda).We have been getting a breakdown of both Kitovu Mobile as a whole as well as updates from our Hygiene and Sanitation project.
Kenny, Hygiene and Sanitation Project Coordinator, updating us on progress over the last year.
One of our biggest challenges as a chapter is to relay the wonderful work our partner is doing to all the members who may never get to meet Kitovu’s staff or the project beneficiaries. As Allie mentioned in one her posts on the ground last year, we frequently throw words at our members like “SHG” and “tippy tap”. While these may now be familiar, what do they actually mean? To help, here is a quick breakdown of our project:
In 2004, Kitovu Mobile started a pilot program – Self Help Groups. Consisting of female village members elected by the villages themselves, these Self Help Groups (SHGs) came together at weekly meetings to discuss community issues, learn essential skills, and create a social support for one another. The overall goal? Increase the potential of women and improve the overall social and economic status of members in one of the poorest and remote sub-counties in Uganda, Kyanamukaaka. While this program was quite successful, Kitovu noticed poor and erratic attendance of many of the SHG members. Upon investigation, Kitovu realized this was largely due to sicknesses caused by lack of clean water and poor sanitation. And thus the hygiene and sanitation project was created in 2010!
Over the past four years or so, Kitovu has made influential strides in the community through this project, and GlobeMed has helped to fund much of this progress! Our project breaks down into two main categories: SHGs and water/sanitation infrastructure. Much of our money goes toward the formation and maintenance of SHGs (which now put much of their focus on hygiene/sanitation topics) with funds allotted to expensive transportation and crucial training resources. Today, there our 94 SHGs spread across over 54 villages! On top of that, GlobeMed has helped fund key water and sanitation infrastructure and resources such as pit latrines, water tanks, and this past year – two shallow water wells!
This is only a simplified version of what our project involves, and over the next few weeks, we hope to dive deeper into the detailed work so many amazing people have worked to accomplish over the past few years! We cannot thank you enough for your part 🙂