The Bishop of the Diocese of Jinja, Rt. Rev. Charles Martin Wamika, Fr. Benedict Wakabi Youth Chaplain of the Diocese of Jinja, and Fr. Richard Buyinza are pleased to announce the launch of the Jinja Youth Entrepreneurial Project scheduled to take place on July 13, 2017 at 10am at the Rubaga Students’ Center, Kiira Road, Plot 53, Jinja. The project is sponsored by the Students of Marin Catholic High School in California.
The Diocese of Jinja has 21 parishes, many of which are in rural areas. A good number of our youths are not educated and some of those who have attained some meaningful education are still unemployed. As a form of employment, some practice block-making in a traditional way. This method has proved unsustainable because of environmental consequences that come with it; as a result of cutting large amounts of trees to burn the blocks, leading to deforestation.
Non-fired Block-making machines are considered by experts in building and environmental managers as an inevitable alternative that will help to reduce on the effects of environmental degradation, at the same, while improving on household income. It will help increase productivity for the already available market for blocks, create jobs for builders and improve on technical knowhow among the youth, especially with the use of interlocking blocks, which need little technical supervision and less cement to bind during house construction. This will greatly reduce on the final costs of construction while improving on the quantity and quality of housing in this area. This information is detailed in the report of UN HABITAT ISSB Book, 2009
Above all, the same machines can be used for making either clay interlocking blocks or sand-cement interlocking blocks. This dual purposiveness means that even those people, who cannot afford cement, can use the available clay to make block, build houses with a higher quality, while saving the environment from degradation. This is our target and it is a single funding Entreprenuerial Project since it has the capacity to sustain itself after the initial funding.
The Diocese of Jinja covers 10 civil administrative Districts, that is; Bugiri, Namutumba, Namayingo, Iganga, Kaliro, Buyende, Luuka, Jinja, Kamuli and Mayuge which make up Busoga Sub Region. Busoga Sub Region is situated in eastern Uganda immediately north of the equator, bordered by Lake Kyoga to the north, the Victoria Nile to the west, the Mpologoma River to the east, and Lake Victoria to the south. Busoga is 3,443 square miles in area. Traditionally, its climate and vegetation has been influenced by Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga and river Nile where the average rainfall has been about 60 inches a year. This has drastically changed due to environmental degradation caused partly because of cutting down of trees for burning blocks needed in construction. This unsustainable cutting of forests has caused great harm to Uganda as witnessed in the past years. Famine has engulfed the country basically because, for two seasons, no substantial harvesting of food has been done in the whole country, due to lack of enough rainfall. Deforestation caused partly due to block burning and lack of a viable alternative is to blame.
Jinja Youth Entrepreneurial Project inspired by the film Poverty Inc and the Acton Institute.
Mr Joe Tassone and I met at a ACTON UNIVERSITY Conference and were inspired to develop a program that would teach the youth to fish, instead of just giving a fish. We think it is high time we had better thought of an alternative program as stated in our vision and mission. That is; 1) to empower youths achieve participatory and sustainable economic development, through environmentally-friendly means of making blocks for income generation; 2) to foresee coordinated and participatory practical-skill insemination to rural youth, helping them to define their destiny by being job creators in an environmentally friendly way.Despite the presence of all these resources, and the fact that people are hard working to the point of toiling in the gardens for an about 10 hours per day, the people in the Diocese of Jinja are among the poorest in the country. Worst still, youth who are in their productive years are not empowered to exploit their potentials to the maximum. Even by standard of the most recent national examination results released by the ministry of education, the schools within this region were among the worst performing schools in the whole country. In fact, students from this region who are to join higher learning would technically be very few since not many would be able to acquire the required grades. This poor performance was partly because, their parents cannot afford school fees for better private schools, or even to provide them with lunch and scholastic material. For such youths who have no hope for a bright future in the academic arena, a modern way of making bricks can be a viable alternative and hope. The block machinery will help to create employment, teach youths building skills, save the environment due to reduction in tree cutting, improving on quality of housing and reduction of medical expenses due to improved housing among other benefits.
In a particular way am grateful to Marin Catholic High School, its staff and students, Joe Tassone moderator of the student St Vincent De Paul Club Lenten Drive, who through the theme of poverty eradication contributed generously to help the youths of the diocese of Jinja to acquire block making machinery. We also acknowledge the contribution made by Steve Ruzycki and family. Mr Tassone will be at the ground breaking and staying in Jinja with his daughter who will be teaching the youth.