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Community Need #3: Youth Development Projects- Working Together for the Benefit of All

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM

There is a palpable sense of community within Kisozi, both within and outside of the church setting. It reminds me of really small towns in America, where people know each other by first name, can share personal details of their neighbors (like children, job, family history), and everyone waves at/ greets everyone. There are no strangers within this community.

 

However, actual jobs within the community of Kisozi are very few. There are few shops or businesses, so most of them are owner-operated. Youth mainly sit idle, not because of their laziness but the reality of their situation. Most of them have never traveled very far outside of the community. Perhaps they have on occasion traveled to the nearest village slightly larger than Kisozi with a trading post, but their exposure to the ‘outside world’ is very limited. There are no televisions, computer, or regular newspapers to provide information about the progressions within their country. Residents rely largely on word-of-mouth or radios on cell phones to obtain any Ugandan or worldwide news.

 

There are dozens of small projects that could stimulate the economy of Kisozi, as well as develop vocational skills for youth. Most of the project ideas are simple, but have great potential. There are no fruits available within the community. A family could plant some simple fruits (like passion fruits, watermelon) in their garden to sell to local markets within Kisozi and other smaller villages. They could also plant other vegetables that are expensive to obtain at local markets (like tomato, cabbage, eggplant, mushroom). They could make soap to sell to small local shops for use. They could produce Ugandan cultural craft items (necklaces, bracelets, beaded household trinkets, woven mats) for sale to larger craft markets. Simple projects, right?!

 

Before any of these projects can be generated, there first must be some capacity building in the youth of Kisozi. Youth usually grow up with very concrete, direct orders with must be followed without question or delay. So a project, regardless of its simplicity, requires some forward planning and critical thinking that is not necessarily nurtured here in Uganda. These youth would need a teacher who will provide basic lessons, including information about project planning, some fundamental skills (like crop care or quantity sizing or craft demands), business planning (like savings, money management, restocking), and effective communication with suppliers. These are not profoundly difficult skills, but there is a certain level of teaching, coaching, and mentoring to get even the most simple of projects off the ground. There is this proverb about ‘teaching a man to fish and feeding him for a lifetime.’ Such perfectly describes the Kisozi community.

 

In addition to the lessons and mentoring, the youth of Kisozi would need small start-up capital for their projects. Seeds, beads, soap making supplies are relatively cheap, and any project could be started for between $30-$80 USD. But when a family is lucky to have a monthly income of $14/month and finds it exceedingly difficult to feed themselves from day-to-day, the small capital is realistically impossible.

 

For community needs in Kisozi, I am prayerful for the power of ONE. ONE teacher willing to share their skills with one or more youth. ONE person willing to pledge capital or donate supplies for a youth to begin an income generating project. ONE youth who is dedicated to being successful with a project. ONE community member or market vendor who will agree to purchase the goods. This ONE can ignite a fire and passion for more. Income can be generated to not only continue the first project, but also support others. After all, Kisozi is ONE community with ONE common vision… to see development and changes that will assist the next generation with an easier, more fruitful life.

Categories: Kisozi Healing Tabernacle Church