Social Solidarity Economy and Community Based Rural Development in Uganda

Social Solidarity Economy and Community Based Rural Development in Uganda

Text and Photos By Manon Koningstein

¨CBIRD grew as an initative to support activities that are directed toward improving the performance of rural primary schools to ensure sustainable development of rural communities, to help achieve our goal of ‘Empowerment through Education¨ tells Jude Muleke, one of the founders of CBIRD.
However, over time, this education was not only targeted at rural schools, but also involved the creation of a sewing atelier, where women learned how to make clothes, as well as a beauty salon where young girls learned everything there is to know about hairdressing and to running their own beauty salon.

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¨We want to prepare each of our students, whether they are in a rural primary school, or in our hairdressing program, to be able to become independent. Especially for girls and women, this is important, so that they are not dependent upon their husbands, but are able to financially support their selves in an independent way¨, says Jude Muleke, one of the founders of CBIRD.

Community Based Initiative for Rural Development (CBIRD) is a Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) founded in 2007 by two female and one male Ugandans due to the poor performance of rural, poor and isolated primary schools especially in the rural/isolated areas in the district. The activities of the association were directed towards improving academic performance in primary schools.
All of their programs are community-oriented, stimulate growth through participatory approaches and innovations, and action programs and interventions for better livelihoods.

¨We are non-political and non profit, and focus on service delivery and research which can improve the plight of rurally isolated schools in Uganda¨, Jude says.

CBIRD partners with two USA based charitable organizations: the Allen foundation and Wheels4life. The Allen foundation members are great contributors to the education thematic area while wheels4life is an all-round contributor. The local community which includes teachers, parents, children and local friends of rural schools are great partners of CBIRD.

CBIRD works on:
Education: This involves provision of scholastic materials such books, pens, pencils, obtained through donations. Mostly, financial support is given, through which the materials are bought locally, as to support the local economy. Education is wide and it involves social, mental and physical development. For this, games and sports, music dance and drama are part of this thematic area. CBIRD provides sports equipment as well as apparatus for music, dance and drama. The education component has been well managed and there is a significant improvement in the academic performance.

Infrastructural development and rehabilitation: This theme involves renovation of old schools’ structures as well construction of new ones whenever there is critical need. This has been newly started by the support of friends of CBIRD in and outside the country. The actual construction of the buildings involves the community at all times, and materials are purchased within the community itself, as to reinforce the local economy.

Capacity building and poverty reduction program: This theme is meant to empower teachers, parents and children to be able to work as a team for better performance. It also involves trainings in small income generating activities especially for the teachers and parents to help them raise school requirements for their children.

Research: The research theme is intended to avail first hand information that will be utilized to raise awareness on how to improve performance in rural isolated schools. Research mainly focuses on the education situations and the causes of such in rural isolated schools.

Health and Nutrition: This involves creation of school gardens to ensure constant food supply to children in the different schools. It also deals with sensitisation seminars for pupils to learn about HIV/AIDS, early pregnancies, and how to prevent hygiene related sickness in homes.

CBIRD is a great example of how solidarity economy can profit a larger community.
Would you like to know more about CBIRD?
Check the out here