Monday 30 November 2020

Vicious cycles

During my project in Uganda I could see from the field what is the poverty cycle and how difficult is for them to come out of it. 

In economy, and regarding the capitalist system where the countries are developing into, this cycle explains the trap where people bornt in poverty get stuck in. A child born in poverty will hardly have options to come out of this situation, if there is no external intervention. Ideally, this external intevention should be through social policies from the own government: free education, free access to health system, sponsorships for higher education, support to the families... But in the case of Uganda, that is not happening. The investment of the government in education has gone down in the last years. Despite the education is free, the quality of the education in the public schools is really poor and anyway it only reaches primary levels. So, they count with a very high young labor force, but not well educated. That makes labor market very cheap, getting very badly paid jobs and keeping people under a poverty line. 

Another scene where I could see this poverty cycle was with the people in the rural community where I've been working. They are mainly farmers with little gardens, so the capacity of saving money is really low. Uganda in general is a country with little enterpreneurship among the population, but this is motivated from one side for the little access to higher education and in the other, in the lack of capital for investment. In the village where I was there were ideas, and good ideas, for creating different activities to develop the economy of the area and create incomes for the people. But what they didn't have was the capital to start these ideas, not enough savings for openning a little shop, for buying a mill for the maiz of the community or for producing bricks in a higher number so they can get better contracts... No incomes, leads on no savings, which leads on not having options for growing and improving their situation. 

Connected with that last problem, I want to introduce the last cycle I could live when working in this community. The subsidies, grants or support from the goverment. Most people don't trust on them and/or don't even try to apply. And after supporting a group to apply for a grant I understood why. In the Parish of Kikooba there are quite a good number of people with disabilities or families with children with disabilities. They are all farmers with little resources (all kind of resources, money, transport, literacy...). These families don't even know which kind of sickneses have their children, because they don't undersand and because doctors don't even try to explain. They only know that their children can't talk, or walk, or even seat... They are totally dependent. Besides, they live in the countryside, in their gardens. The proccess for applying for a grant for a group of parents with children with dissabilities have taken us one year and a half and still they didn't receive the grant. In between, we have make plenty of lifts to the district headquarters, which are 50km away from the village. They have requested for a big ammoung of random paper works and pictures. Thanks to the support of MONDO I could support that group to go through all that proccess, but if I was not there, they wouldn't have been able to afford never these expenses and manage all this paper work. I could not understand how a grant for people with fewer opportunities and most vulnerable ones could be so unaccesible.

In our lifes we should be very thankful for everything we have, and burocracy system for public grants is one that has come into my list from now on. 

At least, after all these months working with the development officer we became a known group for them, and thanks to that we were taken for a program which were donating wheelchairs. From now on, the grandma Maria won't have to carry her 15 years old grandaughter on her back each time she needs to go to town for asking any kind of grant. 

Smily Anji with the neighbour.

Brahim's son

Simon with his mum Catherine