The eastern corridor of Uganda has been badly affected by the drought in the past few years. Crops have been destroyed and prices for food have been very inflated. It is a difficult time in a region where poverty is oppressive and unrelenting and requires a multi-pronged approach to overcome. Entrust is involved with a project that provides women with the means to access activities and ongoing advice to help them escape the poverty cycle. Given the opportunity, these women will take it with both hands and run with it. We have seen first-hand the difference it makes in the life of a family. It has been demonstrated that when a woman is empowered the whole community benefits.
One such woman is Rachel. She has three young children and a drug-addicted husband who is rarely home. To say she struggles to provide is an understatement! Previously Rachel fetched water for neighbours at 6c per jerry can. She spent the day walking to and from the water source. They ate one poor porridge meal per day. Recently Rachel received the gift of a goat and it has produced twice, with the first kid being returned to the project. She also joined a women’s savings and loans group with her goat as security. She plans to borrow money and grow vegetables. She is on her way and taking her family with her!
The Banchara are a people-group who are raised to believe that their god wants their first born daughters to work as prostitutes. These young girls are raised with an expectation that they will support their family through sex-work from an early age. However, a small number of families are seeking alternative, better lives for their girls and are working with our implementing partner to make this a reality. They have placed their girls in a hostel, away from family pressure, where they can be brought up to expect more from their lives. They are sent to school and taught to dream of a better life – not forced prostitution. Entrust recently funded an education grant to allow both girls and boys to access schooling.
This school has changed Sujal Ravi’s future. “My mother is a sex worker and my father was one of her customers. She had hoped to build a family with him but he left, so she stayed in sex work.” Traditionally, boys are neglected by the community because they lack the same earning potential as girls, leaving them jobless or forced to become a pimp. But Sujal’s mother wanted a better life for him so he could have a brighter future after she passes on. “I was accepted into the home, where I have studied for the last 8 years. I am currently in grade 7 at school and want to become a police officer. My mum and I are so thankful for the care and secure future I’ve been given.”
Our partners are working to confront core issues that create socio-economic poverty and reduce risks of trafficking and unsafe migration in Laos. There is a general sense of despair and hopelessness due to poverty, water and food insecurity, illiteracy and low awareness of the risks of leaving family. Economic opportunities are limited and it is a culture that often excludes women and youth from family and community decisions and activities. Phase four of this integrated development program is improving access to clean water and the health status of the community, enhancing food security and economic viability for the poorest families, providing vocational training, and strengthening community-based leadership and participation.
Mr Bounkert is a member of his village development committee and a rice farmer. Food security was already precarious before the pandemic, but has been exacerbated by disruptions and market instability caused by COVID-19. Most affected are the poor and vulnerable, many of whom are farmers and agricultural workers. Mr Bounkert received a 30kg rice seed-grant. In return he will save 35kg from his crop so other farmers can borrow and also benefit. “We are so thankful for this high-yield quality rice variety. It will help us restore the rice value-chain and sustain our families”.