Connecting local responses around the world
Since December 2011, The Constellation has worked in partnership with the World Health Organisation and Health Nest Uganda to transfer the Community Life Competence process. The aim of the partnership has been to strengthen the participation of older persons in local community responses. In April 2012, a group of new CLCP facilitators met together to measure their progress and document their experiences. These are their stories.
Our will awakened by CLCP
Building local teams in Kigungu
Fred Wamala, Florence Namara, Mansour Mohammed, Veronica Nyakaana
Following our Community Life Competence workshop in January 2012, four participants formed a team to visit Katabi-Busambaga. Here we visited the Ekiriewala Bakadde Association of older persons, and talked about their concerns for the community, and how we could bring change together. I was encouraged by the assistance our team received from the local Katabi leaders and the Village Health Team to reach the older persons and visit in their homes. This visit inspired me, Fred, to do the same in my home village, Kigungu. It helped me identify my first move.
I felt I should do the same in my area so, after the Katabi visit, I returned to my home village and visited the chairpersons of the five villages making up Kigungu: Mayanzi, Missoli, Old Entebbe, and the two islands Makusa and Riwamunyu. This was an important step in order to show respect, and to gain respect for what I wanted to do. The chairpersons from each village welcomed me warmly, and appreciated my intention, introducing me to the Village Health Teams. To my surprise, I found that there were many members of the Village Health Team already active in my area, and I noticed that their follow-up work had a similar purpose to mine. They accepted to work together so, together, we began to move from home to home to identify the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
In fact, moving around with local leaders and village health teammates helped me to identify the elderly in our community, and it made my work of talking with them much easier. We talked freely about their state of living, about HIV and AIDS, about orphaning, stigma, and idleness. At the end, many of the local team came to agree that working together, meeting together and talking about the problems in our surroundings can help us overcome those problems.
In most villages where I have visited, some form of local team has been formed, and house-to-house movement is gaining momentum. These teams are identifying strengths, stimulating people and creating awareness on how best to tackle their problems without depending on help from the outside. Community groups of five people each have been formed to engage in local business activities on the shores of Lake Victoria – mainly fishing, vendoring and transport. Some groups even decided to venture into some small-scale commercial farming because of the meagre resources they possessed.
Community Life Competence has awakened these small villages, and their will to sustain themselves, and we have taken a step forward.