In 2014, Anthony implemented a project on developing guidelines for disseminating practicum findings at the community level. During this project, practicum findings on the topic “Adapting Poverty Reduction Strategies at Individual, Household and Community Level: Practicum Research Conducted in Nyamanga Parish, Bufunjo Sub-county in Kyenjojo district, Western Uganda” were presented to the community members.
|Listening attentively to issues raised by local community members.|
In 2016, a project on the introduction of SEED-SCALE to community health workers to facilitate community development was implemented. In this project, over 40 community health workers as well as local leaders and politicians were purposively identified and trained to facilitate SEED-SCALE processes in their respective communities. This was a major project that brought on board so many community members in the district as more and more people got to hear of and learn about the concept of SEED-SCALE.
A cross-section of community health workers and sub-county officials who attended a
training on Seed-Scale in Bufunjo, sub-county in October 2016.
- Over 1,575 people were reached with training and knowledge on SEED-SCALE and how it operates.
- Group formation and strengthening in the target communities where over 15 new groups were formed. Old groups have been re-energized and got more committed to work together as a team to realize their set objectives.
- More group members are taking action together, this has led to increased use of their human energy in activities like local road repairs, construction of kitchens, dry racks, fish pond construction, and starting savings groups.
- The sub-county leadership is actively involved and assists community members in advancing their perceived agenda.
- There is empowerment strengthening especially among the people who are members of the groups through their active engagements in community related activities.
The latest effort to promote and engage community members in the process of development is under a project called “Documenting the Process of Community Change in Kandama village Bufunjo Sub-county, Kyenjojo district western Uganda”.This process of documenting community change is useful in understanding how change happens at the local level. For this change to happen as stated in the SEED-SCALE principles.
- As stated in Just and Lasting Change (2016), each community is unique and therefore, community change is a gradual process and is difficult to notice it if it happens in communities where there is some development already. However, for one which is still developing of which Kandama is one of them any change that occur it is easily noticeable. For instance, when a home puts up a drying rack, pit latrines, eating three meals, balanced diet among others.
- The guiding principle in this process of change is the rising quality of life. This happens when homes are shifting from small huts which are grass thatched to iron roofed, and then to semi-permanent houses, increasing number of school going children and ensuring that they stay and complete basic levels. For our case in Uganda that is primary seven. Also, working towards increasing personal and household income.
- Effort were made in the initial stages of my engagement with the communities to ensure that people are mobilized and are able to identify and work towards achieving their felt needs, gather voice and demand for quality service delivery from the duty bearers.
- Then, people start to coalesce around issues that affect them as a group and community. A case in point are groups of savings and loans, farmers groups and service provision.
- The selected coordinating committee members have continued to engage the community members in their own development.
- Kandama village is one of the villages in Bufunjo sub-county where I have worked previously. My entry point to this community was through the Community Health Worker who was identified and trained alongside others to facilitate community development using the seed-scale approach.
- The process started with the training of the village ‘influential person’ the Community Health Workers. This training did not only introduce the concept of seed-scale to the community but also to the community leaders such the village chairperson, the parish chiefs who are by the laws of Uganda supposed to spearhead the development process at that level.
- In an effort to strengthen community development and change Local Coordinating Committees were selected to work alongside the community health worker and the community members.
- I have personally visited and trained the formed groups in the community comprising of both men and women. These groups are considered as the engine for community change.
- Conducted household visits to build capacity of the community members to continuously monitor themselves in my absence for sustained progress to be achieved. Some are to act as role models to energize the rest of the community members.
|Future Generations University Alumni visiting one of the households in Kandama villages.|
- Community members have woken up and are more conscious of their surroundings. They have started questioning why they are the way they are as expressed by the community health worker “Our people are now sharp and they can ask very important questions especially to politicians and government workers. They no longer want to be deceived like it was in the past”.
- Since seed-scale promotes the use of human energy, group formation has been a key activity and highly encouraged among the community members. “I’ve observed that community members can better monitor the activities of their fellow community members because they live with them and they are able to see most of the things that they do everyday”. This juxtaposed with external monitors it works better and is sustainable.
- Three way partnership as emphasized in seed-scale is already taking place in Kandama community. This is because the alumni is a change and external agent, trained the local political leadership to work with the community members as well as working with community groups. Over time, the external agent and the political leadership role is slowly withdrawing and the community leadership is taking root through the selected local coordinating committee which is now mandated to spearhead any other activities alongside community members.
- Several groups have been formed and continue to be formed to discuss challenges and opportunities that the communities are presented with. Because of good organisation, some communities have become role models as others come to learn from them. “I have had people coming to this community and appreciate what is happening as everyone is now focused at doing things that can improve their living standards”.
- As people started meeting and discussing issues that affect them they even started suggesting possible solutions. This started the process of holism where most aspects of life were advancing. For example, when groups were made mostly with women, they got registered and accessed government support say of improved seed varieties.
- There is noted increase in enthusiasm to use human energy “In the last two years I have seen a lot of changes in our community as people started being organized into group”. People used to complain that they have been neglected by those in power but now are appreciating the fact that themselves can do something to change their ways of living.
- There is establishment of local leadership in form of coordinating committees which is not only voluntary but also annually held.
Finally the question that remains is how to promote positive growth in your community, identifying the local resources and success for scaling up, how to keep people motivated to take local action for sustained development.
 Government programs such as NAADS and Operation Wealth Creation do target community groups