The ICOLEW Programme: Creating Resilient and Adaptive Communities in Uganda
19 October 2023 | Teddy Naluwu | Unbound, Uganda Community Learning
In December 2020, Unbound Kampala introduced a Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) Programme in Kyebe Sub County, Kyotera District. From this initiative, the Tukole Integrated Community Learning for Wealth (ICOLEW) Community Empowerment Group (CEG) emerged. Since April 2023, they have been applying their acquired knowledge and skills in practical ways. The group, which consists of 32 members, is part of a programme sponsored by Unbound Kampala in Buzindwa Village, Kibumba Parish, Kyebe Subcounty in Kyotera District.
The programme supplies a variety of food to local households throughout the year, contributing to food security in line with SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), and indirectly to Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being). The ICOLEW programme seeks to set communities on a path to sustainability through the identification of endemic challenges (e.g., climate change), and the application of practical solutions to solve or mitigate them.
Tukole ICOLEW CEG carried out a situational analysis during the design of the programme. Among the main challenges identified was that of insufficient food in many learner’s households. In response, they are carrying out farming, with surplus produce contributing to income generation. However, farming practices are labour and capital intensive. The members overcame this challenge by pooling labour, and working together to improve their gardens. They came together in groups of 8 neighbouring households and cooperated to clear their gardens, digging holes to plant banana suckers and create heaps for sweet potatoes. Each member would dig 4 holes for banana planting following each of their classes.
They also monitored each other to ensure members’ implementation and adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. As a result, by May 2023, each member had a minimum of 15 sweet-potato heaps and 32 banana plants. With these crops in place, the learners are assured of year-round access to diverse crops. By pooling their labour, learners were able to avoid hiring external labour, and could effectively sow various crops in a timely manner. Tukole has continued this practice and it is being replicated in other CEGs.
Members of the CEG attribute the improvement in their living conditions to the ICOLEW programme, which helped them to critically analyse and identify community challenges and assign measures to address them. The ICOLEW Programme also carries out assessment of learners to monitor their progress. Thanks to UNBOUND Kampala and the ICOLEW Programme, Tukole has access to trainings and other supports to help tackle challenges in their communities. They hope to serve as an example to other communities.