“I promise to perform my duties and uphold the integrity of the Mbale CAP,” said KHIs Honorable Wanjusi, while taking an oath at the swearing-in ceremony on Friday afternoon at the PONT offices in Mbale, Uganda.
The Mbale CAP is the Coalition Against Poverty; a new initiative to develop sustainable practices for community growth in the Mbale region. It is the first time that so many different stakeholders have been able to come and work together for one purpose.
According to their website, the “coalition works on a range of environmental, health, education and livelihood projects geared towards reduction of poverty amongst the communities of Mbale region.”
It is comprised of local government hospitals and schools, local and international NGOs, and universities in both Uganda and Whales.
“It has evolved because we’ve allowed international voices to be heard, but allowed Ugandans to really make the policy decisions,” said Jayne Brencher of PONT. “If we (the international stakeholders) pulled out today it would still be sustainable, and that’s truly the best part about this model.”
The CAP hopes to influence mutual policy changes – changes in the way NGOs operate in Mbale, and changes in the policies made by the local government.
“This position is a great honor, and a great challenge,” said Mr. Otim Ben, the DHO of Mbale, as he accepted his nomination as the Chairman of CAP. “I hope we can all remember that leadership is not about the position that you hold, it is about the service that you give.”
A few of the projects the CAP will be undertaking have already begun. Doctors in Whales are able to take a month off of work, with pay, to come to Mbale and work in the hospitals or lecture in the universities. The biggest task the CAP has started however is the Wales-Mbale Climate Change Tree Planting (CCTP).
Climate change has been recognized as an issue in Uganda for years. Whales, with partners in Uganda took the issue up about 10 years ago and have been studying it ever since. Schools, like the University of Glamorgan in Whales, have been doing comprehensive research on climate change, such as measuring water supplies, and tracking deforestation.
The research started to come together and two years ago a plan was formed to make environmental policies a reality. Small initiatives have already been started – things like tree planting or bee keeping. The main goal though, was to combine the research and come up with a document that details a precise plan for environmental sustainability. Finally, after two years of hard work, the model is finally ready for the implementation phase. The ceremony in Mbale is only a couple weeks away and and KHI, along with PONT are ready to see just how sustainable we can really make the Eastern Uganda region.