The objective of the UCSS Economic Development Ministry is to make the people economically self-sufficient and consists of Economic Groups and the Agriculture Program.
Organized Economic Groups encourage people to work together in groups, pool their resources, and engage in economically productive activities. UCSS provides start-up resources and skills training for both men and women. For example, women learn craft-making, tailoring, beekeeping, brick-making, and cash crop farming. For the first time every, women are able to earn an income for themselves and their families.
The UCSS Agriculture Program teaches community farmers how to produce high-yield crops and raise livestock to sustain themselves and produce income to make the community self-sufficient. The program currently extends to 7 farms totaling 100 acres of land.
The tractor has been an absolute game-changer. It takes 5 days to do what it took 6 months to do by hand!
A local entrepreneur has acquired a brick-making machine.
Economic Group Achievements
- In 2015, the members of Bulike community have been encouraged to work more closely together and pool their knowledge & resources through developing economic groups into Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) form. One of the beneficiaries was Edward who used the money to purchase 2 cows that are providing milk for his family and is generating income.
- Through the youth economic group called “Youth with Hope”, the youth have acquired vocational skills to create employment opportunities for them. They also started a saving cooperative with which they started purchasing chickens.
- The teachers have formed a cooperative that has transformed the teachers’ livelihoods. For example, Ms. Helen started her own pig farming project for her family. Mr. Henry acquired land, while Mr. Martin started constructing his house; Ms. Margaret is now able to pay school fees for her siblings, among others.
- 10 members of the Christian Leaders’ Economic Group have accessed start-up packages that have enabled them to acquire dairy cattle, build decent houses and engage in other economic activities.
- Through the Women’s Economic Groups, 21 women have received financial support, training and skills in bead making and goat keeping. The Tailoring Group has given 38 women a chance to make extra income by sewing clothes for sale. Another group of 25 women have formed a group to purchase a sewing machine. The group has also started making crafts that will eventually be sold in the United States.
Agriculture Program Achievements
- We semi-manually irrigated crops due to the drought in the first half of the year. Two additional irrigation water ponds were created for a total of four. The additional irrigation caused dormant trees and crops to germinate. Applying manure has improved the availability of food.
- We acquired and cleared an additional 44 acres for a total of 101 acres of agricultural land. The activities carried out at the farms this year include cultivation, planting, weeding, terracing, spraying, irrigation, harvesting, fencing and pruning. We acquired a walking tractor that helps cultivate land inaccessible by the motor tractor.
- We established poultry,goats & and pig farm at the school, but the pigs were attacked by swine flu. We planted hay for the cattle and are waiting on availability of funds to purchase the cattle.
- We have been able to give farmers banana suckers for planting their own bananas. We constructed 1 caretakers’ Structure in 1 farm.
- Food scarcity has been significantly reduced for most families. More cooperation between the farmers, training and best practices like irrigation, fertilizer and crop rotation have all contributed to unprecedented yields in the region.
- Many men who spent much of their time drinking and gambling are now involved in agricultural activities and are providing for their families. In addition, the excess income from harvests has improved the standard of living and has been a major contributor to the community’s economic self-sufficiency.
- In October 2015, the poultry farm produced 343 trays of eggs which were sold for a total of $800. We harvested a small batch of pineapples and bananas which were sold for $80. One of the farmers who owned a fertile piece land, utilized our tractor and training to harvest rice worth $500.
- Malijjo Edward completed training in chicken and livestock farming. He and his family are now surviving on the returns from the poultry and livestock rearing business.
- The UCSS Economic Development Ministry is the major contributor to making the community self-sufficient. It’s also the main reason we believe we can largely eliminate our financial support of Bulike by the end of 2018.
Crops are still too dependent on natural rain, making harvests inconsistent and unpredictable. We absolutely need irrigation. It costs about $1,000 to irrigate one acre. We are anxiously awaiting the irrigation material in the water well rig container that is on its way here! We are also struggling with pests that are impacting the yields of the bananas and pineapples.
Tractor implements for the farm where donated and are being shipped to Uganda along with the water rig. We need to ensure that all farms have caretakers who can also rear animals and poultry for manure. We will continue to look for well-priced land to acquire for farming. We will likely introduce fish farming.
If God is moving you to support this ministry, there are three things you can do now:
Thank you for all of your prayers and support!