On 21st may 2017, the community initiated road was handed officially over by the Local Chairman five, the top political leaders in Kagadi District. The District had officially taken on the road and was incorporated in the district plans. The people of Kasokero and Kyenzige sub-county appreciated the role of African Rural University, Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme and the ARU Alum, Robina by giving certificates. Engineer Jaas narrates his experience in the daily Foundation Course on 15th June 2017.

Engineer Jaasi Joseph a community leader in Kyenzige and Chairperson Kagadi Water Committee sharing his personal involvement.

On June 15th, Engineer Jaasi Joseph, a Joseph is a survivor of Kichwamba masscare and a graduate of Bushenyi Technical College for a Certificate in Motovehicle Techincian Part 1(MVT1), and Kichwamba Technical College for Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. He is a self-employed technician. He has love and passion for his community. As a young child growing up in Kyenzinge he heard stories of people unable to cross the swamp, efforts to make the swamp passable were often seasonal.

Joseph is also a community leader in Kyenzige and Chairperson Kagadi Water Committee shared his personal involvement. This extract is about what made the road project a success, a project that had eluded the people to deal with a 600 meter swamp to connect two communities who were two kilometers apart since 1960.

The tipping point was the ARU intern student placement. The student mobilized people and encouraged them to adopt the “development starts with me” approach. Robinah was in Kyenzige in 2010-11 for internship and later was employed by URDT as an Epicenter Manager in Kyenzinge for a year. She has since joined civic service in Kakumiro local government.

Joseph was one of the community members that worked closely with Robinah for the transformation of the community. Robinah trained the people on how to articulate their aspirations, formulate their visions and work for that which they truly want. She also nurtured the people to have a community wide aspirations and visions which they could collectively work upon.

Joseph’s aspiration for his community is that by 2030, Kasokero and its surrounding villages will have income generating Projects, they have easy access to health facilities such as Kagadi Hospital, good road network with very good schools at primary and post-secondary levels.

On this project, even long after Robinah left the community, the people continued to work on the road every Thursday of the week starting at 11:00am. By their actions, they have influenced neighboring communities to do similar work on two other roads and hence contributing to better community connectivity and improved road network.

Ms. Birungi Meridah, a community member from Kasokero clearing the bush where the road would pass

One road is already considered in the District Plans and another is on the way. Therefore the District is expected to improve the quality and standard of the road that community members have themselves initiated based on their shared aspirations, drawing the leadership from amongst themselves regardless of ethnic origin or religion and sex. Hence the working premise of URDT and ARU that “ People with a common vision can transcend all barriers and prejudices such as gender, religion, tribe, age to work for the common good.”

In 2014, the Community handed over the Kasokero-Kyomunembe Road to the District. The District leader then of Kibaale Hon. George William Namyaka promised to have the district take responsibility for the road. Then it, was planned for in the financial year 2015/16.

According to Joseph Factors that led to success of the project are;

  • Good mobilizers embodying the following characteristics
  • Good credibility among the community members with a clean record
  • Willingness to sacrifice time, personal resources including mobile phone airtime to coordinate with others
  • Good working relationship with the local people such as the technical staff and politicians.
  • Ability to tell the truth not making false promises
  • Collaborations and engagement of KKCR, ARU Interns and Epicenter Managers
People used to spend UGX 5,000 to move from Kasokero to Kagadi. Today, someone spends between UGX 1,000-2,000. Joseph says people are saving a lot of money to pay school fees for their children as well as improving their lives.

The ARU Practicum and  Internship Programmes start off a series of development interventions, once the people have respect the principles of the visionary approach. The local leadership and expertise it tapped and above all the people take actual ownership of the projects. The people power and influence to the local leadership is evident and therefore the development of the area is shared, because people have interest and are willing to engage in their development. The transportation costs between Kasokero and Kagadi the main town has been cut down by two thirds and the time involved reduced significantly.

Article by Akello Jacqueline

ARU Student Triggers Community Members to Deal With a 600m Swamp.
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