3rd Forum: Presentation by Erinah Rutangye

December 5, 2003 - New York
By: Erinah Rutangye

Globalization and the Role of NGOs in Poverty Eradication: Focus on WFWP in Uganda

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Ms. Erina Rutangye used her experience in Uganda to define poverty. In many countries in Africa the necessities include: clean and safe drinking water, sufficient nutritious food, energy for cooking food and lighting, good shelter, adequate clothing and bedding, school fees, etc. She expressed that even simple things taken for granted elsewhere such as sugar, salt and matches are not easily available to almost 35% of families of Uganda. In spite of abundant natural resources such as fertile land, abundant surface water, and climate quite suitable for agriculture, many families in Uganda still live in poverty. According to the most recent World Bank survey, about 35% of 24 million Ugandans live on less than 1 US dollar a day. This is however, a remarkable drop of 51% about ten years ago. One of the major causes of this persistent poverty is lack of sufficient knowledge and practical skills on how to use the available resources profitably and sustain them. She shared the experience of WFWP Uganda's concentration on poverty eradication. In 1994, WFWP Japan sent 10 volunteers to Uganda. Joint efforts focused on the following areas:

  1. Emancipation of Women,
  2. HIV/AIDS education and counseling,
  3. Education on family values and sisterhood among women,
  4. With the help of WFWP Japan, schools were founded.

These schools are, The Kizinda Parents Vocational High School, The Katwe Parents Nursery and Primary School, Trinity Preparatory School and Peace High School. The schools serve several hundred students. Skills training and basic primary education for the orphans and poor families is provided. Peace High School is especially for disadvantaged girl children. Since 1995, WFWP has focused on helping people build better quality of life through food and nutrition programs, energy conservation program, and zero grazing programs, as well as the income generating coffee seedling program. The organization raised over 2 million Arabica coffee seedlings on 400 acres of land and has been distributing coffee seedlings to families in Mbale district. Over 1000 families have benefited from this project. This project was a result of WFWP Uganda's partnership with UNDP. A UNDP grant of $50 thousand dollars funded the implementation in Bufunbo, sub-county of Mbale district. This project improved the household income of the 400 participating families from about $200/year income to $1,200/yr US. WFWP Uganda has demonstrated a concrete development framework that transforms very poor families to families with hope and substantial economic development. In conclusion, Ms. Rutangye expressed deep appreciation of WFWP International and UNDP for making it possible to change the lives of so many families and for supporting WFWP Uganda in this noble cause of poverty eradication. Our Moderator, Amb. Chowdhury commented that this is a great example of a successful partnership between an NGO and a UN program. He would like to see more of this kind of model of partnership working for the eradication of poverty.