South Korean self-help plan transforming lives in Mpigi

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MPIGI- Two years ago, communities in Mpigi District could wait for government or district authorities to fix community feeder roads and to deliver services to them.
Sometimes they would wait in vain for some infrastructural services to be extended to their villages.
This is no more. The residents have embraced a new South Korean village approach called Saemaul Undong Model Village Project that has since bettered their lives.
So far, the project is being implemented in seven remote villages of Nsaamu in Mpigi Town Council, Lwaweeba in Kituntu Sub-county, Lukonge in Nkozi Sub-county, Kkumbya in Buwama Sub-county, Tiribogo in Muduuma Sub-county, Kololo in Kiringente Sub-county and Kiwumu ‘A’ in Kamengo Sub-county.
Food security in these villages is significantly improving as residents practice collective farming, where foodstuffs like potatoes, maize, cassava, soya beans and beans are grown on a large scale.
The produce is then sold through collective marketing, which has boosted their household incomes. The farmers have also embraced poultry, piggery and livestock farming.
By setting up drying racks, improved pit-latrines, clearing bushes and doing general cleaning around their homes, residents’ sanitation standards have also been enhanced. Daily morning drills and physical exercises have changed residents’ health conditions, giving them energetic bodies to work.
Through joint effort, residents have also contributed to infrastructure development in the area. At least 55kilometres of feeder roads in the district have been upgraded by residents themselves and a community centre constructed in Nsaamu Village in Mpigi Town Council.
“This programme has really made an impact in our villages and I suggest that government rolls it out across the country to spur meaningful development,” observed Mr Peter Mutuluza, the Mpigi District chairperson, adding: “Giving handouts to people is unsustainable, but when we equip them with skills that make them self -reliant, they will be able to look after their families well.”
According to Mr Ponsiano Kisitu, the chairperson of Kkumbya Model Village, community cohesiveness and contribution using groups as an entry point has created a platform for mobilisation for development in his village.
Mr Park Jong Dae, the South Korean ambassador, maintains that for Uganda to attain meaningful socio-economic transformation, citizens need to be self-reliant.
“For you to generate enough income, improve infrastructure and strengthen the social capital, stop over relying on foreign aid and support from the donors. Self- help is the only path which can solve poverty challenges,” he said recently during a one-day workshop on rural and community development in Kampala.
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