Tuesday February 12 2013

Forging a livelihood off cow horns

cap; Prof Bukenya shows off some of the

cap; Prof Bukenya shows off some of the artifacts produced by the youths at the cottage. Photo BY FAISWAL KASIRYE. 

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

A big heap of cow horns and a loud mix of noise is what welcome you at Prof. Gilbert Bukenya’s farm located about 14 kilometres North West of Kampala in Lwantama, Kakiri, Wakiso District.
A cloud of busyness hovers above every one as youths between 18 and 20 years count the hour away molding, polishing or shaping cow horns into different artifacts.

The close to Shs60 million investment was started by Prof Bukenya in 2005, with the hope of changing the lives of youths.
“Out of the desire to get Ugandan youths out of poverty, in 2005 I started this small project, which has benefited many,” he says with a gleam of satisfaction.

The raw materials are sourced locally from the Rakai cattle corridor with each horn going for about Shs3,000.
“When we bring the horns to the cottage, Prof Bekenya says, we keep them for like three days, after which we remove calcium molds that make them to decay.”
With the molds removed the horns are molded into different artifacts that are put on the market for sale.
According to Prof Bukenya, a finished horn can fetch about Shs100,000 considering which products are got from it.

Some of the products made out of the cow-horn slabs include ladies jewelry; earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, belts and bungles.
Other products include flower vases, pencil holders, bowls, decoration artifacts for offices and homes, pots and ornaments among others. The artifacts are produced according to the orders available from the clients.

The artifacts are sold through the local market with some exported to UK, Italy and the USA.

The cottage supports over 50 youths from within and around Kakiri among them male and female.
Mr Ronald Majwega aged 20- manages the cottage employing and supporting over 50 youths from within and around Kakiri.