How can we end poverty in Uganda?

By Emesik (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Uganda is really a wealthy country, though we haven’t realized it yet. In Uganda, there are three degrees of poverty: extreme poverty, moderate poverty, and relative poverty. When poverty is very extreme, poor people don’t have the ability by themselves to get out of the mess.

Extreme poverty is bad here; people can’t meet their basic needs, they’re unable to access healthcare, they can’t afford to take their kids to school (unlike those in moderate and relative poverty).

Poverty can make a kid an orphan or street kid, even if they have parents. Many parents throw their children in orphanages or on the streets of Kampala, not because they don’t like them, but because of the condition they’re living in.

It is our generation’s challenge to decide how we help the poor to escape from the misery of poverty, both extreme and moderate.

I think the end of poverty should begin with villages because many people migrate from villages to town to look for jobs and a better life, and they’re usually surprised by the few jobs available that can’t accommodate them. Hence, many end up unemployed and loiter around the streets of Kampala as idlers. And once the migrants are many, this leads to increased prices for good which makes life difficult. 

There is a need to extend power, transportation, and communication services to make the lives of those in villages easier. For example, they need power for milling grain and other processed food. Some desire to start businesses that need power. Some students would like to study after sunset but can’t do it without power, so electricity should be provided in schools and also hospitals. There are those who sell perishables that need to be transported quickly, though there are no means to transport them. And some of the people in the villages would like to be able to reach their jobs on public transport, though this is not possible.

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Many people in the village can’t afford to go to schools, and they’re unable to read and write; many of them are intelligent, so there is a need to provide vocational training in villages, like plumbing, electrical wiring, carpentry, and hairdressing, which can generate money.

Laziness should be condemned both in rural and urban areas. Many people here in Uganda are too lazy; they aren’t looking for jobs, yet they also cry about poverty. Prior to colonization, in traditional African societies, laziness was really condemned. Everyone was a worker. Because there was a widespread belief that work brings satisfaction, laziness was never tolerated.

Agriculture should be practiced, though many people take it for granted. It should be taught in schools, too (for example, water harvesting and small scale irrigation), as we are blessed in Uganda with good climate and fertile soil for growing crops and rearing animals, so we must take advantage of this.

Also, we need to be creative. Many people think few people are born creative and others are not. Africa’s poverty crisis largely lies in its failure to stimulate its people into creative thinking. There is a lack of the drive to go a mile into thinking about how to convert resources from their natural state into goods and services. 

It is through the power of creativity that many men and women have unlocked themselves from the bondage of poverty. Many never had capital to begin with except their mind power and contacts.

Lastly, saving should be encouraged and taught in schools. I know it is really hard to save because there are many expenses to spend money on. Saving requires sacrifice and commitment. For example, if you are making 50,000 UGX per month (roughly $14 USD), save 10,000. Put it aside as soon as you receive it. Many people usually spend money on expenses which are usually not necessary for their survival.

There are many differents ways of saving. One way is to save at home using wooden boxes, which can help in times of emergency. Purchasing animals or land is another way because their value can increase over time (though sometimes it decreases, so be careful!). Saving in banks is another option. Here, your money is kept safe and you earn some interest.

There are always opportunities in Uganda to make money, if only we make ourselves ready for them. Let’s always have a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. The past doesn’t equal to the future.

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