Uganda’s economy was heavily hit by the covid pandemics the lack of resources as well as finances left many individuals struggling and living from hand to mouth as many people lost jobs. Unlike many of us living in the city and with the privilege to work from home, people in rural areas with excessively low incomes did not have that privilege as they needed to work twice as hard to provide for their families.
Compared to western governments, African governments like ones in Uganda cannot provide it’s people with the choice of being laid off and still receiving a portion of their regular salary while trying to prevent the spread of Covid-19. With how chaotic and impossible the living standards were becoming, Outcast Activists Forum was born in January, 2020 right before the start of the pandemic.
Knowing how privileged many of us are, many other people in rural regions- women, children, the old and vulnerable can’t access the most basic necessities in the current situation. Uganda has since adopted the plan for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, of the goals being having to reduce poverty, inequality and vulnerability.
How do we plan on reaching people in Rural areas?
Upon starting the organisation, one of OAF successes was the Juzza Lorry Campaign, which we had in December 2020 of which our team went to the refugee camp Imvepi in the Terego district of Uganda.
The main initiative for this project was to help women and children as there are now numerous teen mothers due to lack of education as well as increased poverty. Supportive programs and health-related assistance towards HIV/AIDs STDs, Sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in schools and communities are a big step to shifting away from the lines of poverty.
As it proved to be a large success with the help of generous donors and sponsors, we were able to provide some help, but we know we can do more.
What we plan to achieve at Outcast Activist Forum, as well as help reduce the poverty line in Uganda, is by providing workshops and other activities that can help young adults develop soft skills and help them stay off the streets and possible gang related acts.
In order to achieve this, we need to create meaningful relationships with people in these communities as well as have a group of staff of volunteers willing to hold these workshops. Due to the current pandemic, achieving this can be quite difficult but it is not impossible. Soft skill development happens primarily through reflection, feedback, growth as well as learning as a result of those experiences.
We want to help adolescents and young adults make better, meaningful decisions that will impact their future in a positive manner.
As rural communities don’t often offer that ‘safe’ aspect, we at OAF believe we can bring that compassion that they are important members of society and the future as we need them to be able to achieve the Sustainable and Development Goals laid out on the 2030 Agenda.
– Shania Cooper
The writer is OAF’s International Volunteer