Building solutions company, Hima Cement Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SOS Children’s Villages Uganda in a move aimed at improving household incomes in Harugongo Sub County in Fort Portal.
Speaking during the launch of the partnership, Robert Bahenyangi, the Home Director SOS Children’s Village in Fort Portal said that the project will ensure that residents of Harugongo have a source of income, improve their health and attain skills to enable them generate income for their families.
“We shall form 10 groups, each comprising 30 members and covering 200 households. These members will be provided with training in Village Savings and Lending Methodologies, Management Information Systems, among others. Our plan is to ensure that these groups are registered at Sub county level so as to benefit from government services and community driven change funds provided by the district,” he explained.
Bahenyangi further disclosed that the project will ensure that the community has access to preventive and curative health services. In this he said, the SOS health team will be conducting community outreaches across the various parishes in Harugongo where health education and treatment of minor illnesses will be carried out.
Harugongo sub county in Fort Portal district forms the bulk of Hima Cement’s Pozzolana mining area, an important raw material used in the manufacture of cement. This is one of the reasons the area was identified as the focal point for the establishment of this community development initiative.
Patrick Waiswa, the Logistics Director at Hima Cement revealed that as a result of the mechanization of the Pozzolana mining process, a number of youth in the area were in dire need of a new economic venture to supplement their incomes hence the launch of the project.
“This project is also targeting the youth who used to provide menial labour at the quarries. Together with SOS, we shall introduce them to income generating activities meant to improve livelihoods at family level. We shall support skills development for groups especially in agronomic practices, business and entrepreneurship skills, and also ensure that families in this area have enough food as a result of agricultural production,” he explained.
Waiswa added that vulnerable households have also been identified to benefit from the project and these will focus on child headed families as well as those heavily affected by the HIV/AIDS scourge.
Commenting on the project, Richard Rwabuhinga, the Chairman LC5 Kabarole District lauded the two organizations for deviating from their core business to support the improvement of livelihoods amongst communities.
“When we receive support from organizations such as yours, it helps we as government to deliver services to the people who need them most,” he noted.
SOS Children’s Village will be responsible for proper implementation and coordination of the project activities.
During the same event, Hima Cement donated sanitation facilities that included two Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines to Harugongo Primary School. The school with a population of 1,086 has been grappling with hygiene and sanitation challenges following the sinking of their pit latrines six months back.