Strategic Impact Focus
First, active citizens who are able to sustainably and equitably
- Eat adequate and nutritious foods – Food and Nutrition Security;
- Live in descent homes and accumulate adequate financial and material assets – Economic Security;
- Suffer less from preventable morbidity and mortality – Health Security;
- Attain literacy and marketable skills – Education security;
- Exhibit voice and choice in the governance of their groups; and communities - Good governance security;
Food and Nutrition Security
Eliminating Food and Nutrition Insecurity
Many households in West Nile region eat only one meal a day. Neither are the meals diversified nor is food shared equitably among men and women. Thus many households fall below the depth of hunger (min. 240 kCal per day). Micronutrient deficiency of especially riboflavin and Vitamin A and B12 and child anaemia and stunting are prevalent. These situations emanate from: (i) the low productivity of subsistence crop and livestock farming; (ii) limited food purchasing power; (iii) inadequate knowledge and skills of good nutrition; and (iv) the adversities of climate change (especially the one reliable rainy season).
Building Economic Resilience
Many households in West Nile are poor (46%) and without reliable economic means to secure their livelihoods. Their average monthly income of UGX 141,400 is half of the national average of UGX 303,700. They also own few productive asset that can be converted into cash to provide security for household consumption and well-being as many have no livestock (89%) and no cash savings (73%).
Promoting Preventive Community Health
The population of West Nile region suffers from an extremely high disease burden from otherwise preventable causes. Over 85% of the diseases attended to by health facilities are from malaria, gastro intestinal infections, and HIV/AIDS. The frequent deaths from these diseases also come with high economic tolls. The primary drivers of these morbidity and mortality conditions, at the household and community levels, includes (i) Lack of access to safe water sources as many homes depend on unsafe water from running streams, dugout valleys, rock creaks, and rivers; (ii) Poor sanitation and hygiene practices given that open defecation is a norm in many villages; and (iii) For HIV/AIDS, from the high rate of unsafe sexual practices coupled with limited comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS and inadequate community structures to support Persons Living with AIDS (PLWA) and Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
Education as Development Investment
The return from education in human capital theory is estimated at 5-40% per annum with sustained growth in total factor productivity (TFP). To the contrary, illiteracy is linked with poor life outcomes such as poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, and crime. However, the 27 years (1979-2006) of political turmoil left West Nile region with only about 5 in every 10 people literate. Families returned from exiles in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan with uneducated children and youths. In many villages education infrastructures were also destroyed. This situation is compounded by the very high hidden education cost. Besides, there is also limited motivation to educate children especially in rural areas because schools are far away and many conduct irregular classes under tree. More so, the low priority accorded to early childhood education has seen many children enroll in school when they are old and they drop out before completing primary education level.
Strengthening Participatory Local Governance
Government of Uganda adopted decentralized governance policy in 1993. The primary aims were bringing services closer to the people and ensuring a responsive and accountable government. However, this policy assumed that citizens are able to participate in their governance to demand for services and accountability from their elected leaders. To the contrary grassroots population (especially women, youth, the elderly, children, persons with disabilities, and persons living with HIV/AIDS) have limited political capabilities to engage in local government planning, budgeting, and monitoring processes. This limited people’s participation in local governance is also compounded by the limited knowledge among elected leaders’ (particularly representatives of the most vulnerable social groups) of their roles and responsibilities in local governance. Neither do they have civic engagement skills.
Community Groups’ Strengthening
Strengthening Community Organizations
Poverty has narrowed poor households’ focus to individual survival strategies. Few people work in community groups where they can ably pool their knowledge, skills, and labour and share risks. Few villages have community based organizations (CBOs). Yet, the few existing CBOs exhibit purely opportunistic tendencies as many were formed to receive donor or government projects rather than pursue self-help development. These groups have weak leadership and are mainly dormant until external hand-outs come by. They are therefore unsustainable and are unable to champion local development.
AFARD Financial Sustainability Development
Building AFARD's Financial Sustainability
Donor financing is becoming increasingly limited, competitive, and dictated. Many NGOs have flooded the donor market arena and many big donors prefer international NGOs. As a result, many local NGOs are forced to sidestep their vision in search for "quick funds" and NGO staffing and outreaches are continuing to reduce substantially.
AFARD is facing similar challenges in this unpredictable NGO financing landscape. Zealous of its vision and aware that the exceptionally high poverty levels in West Nile region will take time to reduce to the national average, AFARD strives for hard work, at times with independence, innovations, and risk taking. Consequently, AFARD has been piloting social enterprises with win-win-win gains for smallholder farmers, farmer groups, and itself.