Where We Work

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Community Based Initiative for Rural Development (CBIRD) works primarily in Masaka District in Western Uganda. Masaka straddles the Equator and is around a 2 hour drive (130km) from the capital of Uganda, Kampala. Masaka sits on the shores of Lake Victoria, on the famous Great Lakes of Central Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. The district is bordered by Sembabule in the North West, Mpigi district in the North, Rakai district in the west and south and Kalangala District in the East. The first language for most in Masaka is Luganda, the language of the biggest ethic group, the Buganda, but English is widely spoken as the official language of Uganda. The major economic activity in Masaka District is agriculture, including; food crops (bananas, pineapples, and tomatoes), cash crops (coffee and cotton), cattle ranching, and fishing on Lake Victoria. The vast majority of the population are rural, over 90% and rely on agriculture as their primary livelihood activity. The staple food is millet and Matooke.

Industries is limited, but includes; coffee processing, soft drinks factories, metal works, and cotton ginning. Masaka suffered greatly under the rule of Idi Amin, along with the rest of the country, and service delivery practically collapsed during his reign. Many essential services, including educaton, have struggled to recover and advance since then.

The district has a population of around 770,000 people, which has grown enormously in the previous decade by over 10%. This population growth means that over half the population in Uganda is now under 15 years old, putting a huge strain on the already meagre educational resources of the Government. Although the Government has pledged free Primary education for all in Uganda, the realities for small rurally isolated schools and potential students make progress in education difficult. Children are often required to help out with the subsistence of their families, have to travel a long way to the nearest school, and their families often cannot afford the associated costs of education (books, uniforms, stationary, travel, etc), which is taken for granted in the West. Additionally, even if reaching school on a regular basis is possible, class sizes, school facilities and the fact that teachers often have to supplement their incomes with secondary livelihood activities (due to small, and intermittently paid) Government salaries, diminish the educational experience of the many children whose families cannot afford private schools.

Although poverty rates in Masaka pale in comparison to the impoverished North of the country, over half the population, some 400,000 people, are thought to live below the poverty line. Due to the relatively high population density in Masaka, it has some of the highest rates of poor per km2 anywhere in Uganda. The rural isolation and pervasive poverty in Masaka means it in need of interventions for sustainable development to break the poverty trap many of its inhabitants, particularly children, find themselves in. CBIRD strives to assist in this process through the development of education for the benefit of poor and isolated rural communities who enjoy little outside help.

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CBIRD relies on donations. Please consider donating to help continue our project.


Contact

CBIRD

Ndegeya Road, P.O.BOX 887, Masaka
Email: info@cbird.net
Phone: +256 (0)782 262 844

Please also see our contact page

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