Alleviating poverty in Busoga, a call to action

Author: George Kibiike. PHOTO/COURTESY 

What you need to know:

  • ...there is urgent need to curb the alarming numbers of school dropouts and establish measures for every learner to complete primary and secondary levels of education.

Back to back studies have indicated that Busoga Sub-region is living in abject poverty, which is visible and physical within the Busoga communities. This is well illustrated in the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2016/17 report, released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).

In some of the findings, data indicates that 74.8 percent of people in the Busoga sub-region are considered poor and insecure against a national average of 63 percent.

Despite the numerous government programmes geared at alleviating poverty and enhance service delivery, the people of Busoga sub-region have continued to live with various forms of poverty. The sub-region has continued to poorly perfomed in education, health, water and sanitation, environment and natural resources sectors, registering high levels of unemployment across all categories of people.

President Museveni recently toured the sub-region while on his way to commemorate the annual Bishop Hannington day in Mayuge District. He was deeply devastated by visible poverty displayed on the community members village to village.  Despite several poverty reduction interventions, progress has been unseen across the Busoga Sub-region. The unseen picture verse the seen public picture is very alarming and needs urgent interventions in terms of alleviating poverty.

President Museveni has visited Busoga Sub-region several times to sensitise the wananchi on ways of improving their daily incomes, but slow progress has been registered.

The increasing levels of school dropouts, teenage pregnancies, drug addicts, disease outbreaks, youth redundancy unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, domestic violence, criminal activities, endless hunger, food insecurity, environment degradation, and unemployment are largely attributed to the ever rising levels of poverty.

Another call to action, the journey towards a future Busoga we want, should be anchored on actions listed below: On education there is urgent need to curb the alarming numbers of school dropouts and establish measures for every learner to complete primary and secondary levels of education.

Local leaders need to formulate by-laws that curtail the rising cases of child labour as it has been manifested across the sub-region, especially in the mining, fishing and the sugarcane growing sectors. According to UBOS, 45 percent of children (with ages 5-17) in Busoga from households living below the poverty line are forced out of school to work and supplement their parents incomes.

On tourism, Busoga has been identified as one of the leading sites for tourism bit in terms of religious tourism, natural resources tourism and culture tourism. Create strong awareness towards those historical tourism sites spread across Busoga sub-region.

The authorities should also give adequate funds to the health sector in the sub-region; emphasis should be put on sexual reproductive health rights to curb unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, while promoting family planning services in all government health centres. Findings suggest that Busoga has the highest number of teenage pregnancies in the country, as per the national teenage pregnancy rate conducted by Uganda Demographic and Health Survey.

Busoga sub-region also needs a strategic programme or project similar to that of Northern Uganda Reconstruction Programme (NUSAF), Karamoja development programme to uplift the sub-region from the ever-rising poverty. I suggest that government or developing partners form one, it can be called Busoga development programme strategically aimed at tackling the social and economic sectors mentioned above. We can also think of having a ministry in- charge of Busoga affairs like it is in other regions of Uganda. That is to say Bunyoro affairs, Teso affairs, Karamoja affairs, Luwero triangle.

Government could consider establishing a desk in the President’s office specifically in-charge of Busoga affairs. The President has been there for Busoga and set up a demonstration farm in Mayuge to teach best practices to the people. How many are partaking of this knowledge he often shares with people. For Busoga Sub-region to reduce the alarming levels of poverty in the homesteads, there should be strategic community engagement experts, with natural interact and communication skills to educate masses on the relevant government programmes to curb poverty in Busoga Sub-region.

Once this information has trickled down to the people we shall see steady income generation at household levels which in turn will contribute to the NRM 2021-2026 Manifesto, NDP III, Uganda’s Vision 2040 and Global agenda of SDG 2030.

Busoga sub George Kibiike works in Busoga sub-region communities
[email protected]