The Pearl of Africa
Uganda also commonly known as the Pearl of Africa is a unique country. In the east of Africa, Uganda is a country gifted with impressive beauty, rich with fertile soils, beautiful nature, vegetation, waters, mountains and fascinating creatures.
Uganda is a land with hospitable gestures towards visitors. Uganda in a way is a book in which many stories that nobody would ever want to miss are found. It is a country located on the African continent in the East African region. Uganda covers 197,100 square kilometers of land and 43,938 square kilometers of water, with a total area of 241,038 square kilometers. Uganda share boarders with the Democratic Republic of Congo in the west; Kenya in the East; Rwanda in the South-West; South Sudan in the North and Tanzania in the South. Uganda’s latitude and longitude for the country are 1.1027° N, 32.3968° E.
Healthcare provision and infrastructure in Uganda are chronically underfunded and highly variable in quality. A system of “cost sharing,” whereby hospitals must charge for treatment, means that most Ugandans have to pay for health care. Uganda’s infant mortality rate and life expectancy age are among the worst in the world. More than 50 percent of Ugandans have no access to clean water, making them vulnerable to cholera and diarrhea. Malaria and respiratory illnesses are widespread and are frequent causes of death. Economic liberalization has created a healthcare system that places the poor at a stark disadvantage. Other major healthcare issues are basic hygiene; nutrition; women’s and children’s health; and sexual/reproductive health (especially for young people and women).
A strange health issue developed in the mid-1980s, HIV/AIDS as an epidemic. AIDS has claimed millions of households throughout Uganda and has reduced the life expectancy of Ugandans from 48 years in 1980 to 43 years in 1995. A variety of approaches to AIDS education have been employed, ranging from the promotion of condom use to “abstinence only” programs. HIV/AIDS is prevalent in most communities, and there is much work to be done to control the spread of HIV as well as to care for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Better World Uganda (BWU) is challenged to rollout HIV/AIDS awareness creation, mitigation and positive living programs in communities. On a whole, Better World Uganda bears the obligation to mainstream health education in all its programs to productively support a growing population of Uganda.
With a population of 37 million people, where young people count for about 78 percent below the age of 30, and 52 percent below the age of 15, Uganda is ranked as one of the countries with the youngest population in the world and with a widespread youth unemployment.
In Uganda every year a total of 400,000 youth are released into the job market after graduating to a market that has only 90,000 jobs. This implies that the rest of the graduated youth will have no jobs because the job market is small. Therefore, because most youth are not trained to be job creators many remain on streets in search of jobs that are non-existent.
Agriculture as a backbone of the economy
Small-holder farming is the major economic activity for over 80% of Uganda
population. Most of the farmers live in rural areas that are characterized by endemic
poverty. Their households barely have access to essential services such as water,
electricity, health facilities, good roads and means of communication. Their crops are
produced on small fragmented plots of land, typically less than 4 acres. With every new generation, the size of land owned by each household becomes smaller due to inheritance practice that lead to dividing up the land into smaller plots to be shared up among family members.
As small holder farmers they are unable to access competitive prices in markets due to lack of capacity to produce in sufficient quantities. Their production is highly dependent on rainfall patterns and is becoming less predictable each year due climatic changes that induce spells of long draughts, floods and hailstorms that damage crops, and as such cause other unpredictable natural calamities. Farmers lack means of influencing policies on issues that affect their lives such as conservation of the environment, land use, taxation and tariff regimes, crisis prevention/mitigation, government funding for the agricultural sector, regional and international trade issues etc.
Smallholder commercial farming is still largely confined to traditional cash crops such as coffee, cotton and tobacco as well as maize, beans, groundnuts, sorghum and millet. Upland rice has been recently introduced in the country. Other crops such as vanilla, ginger and pepper have been tried out but have been unsuccessful due to failure to sustain their markets. In all cases, farmers do lack proper storage of their produce hence, losses are incurred as what cannot be sold off or consumed is spoilt and simply thrown away.
In attempt to sell off their farm produce as soon as possible; the farmers are usually taken advantage of by traders offering them ridiculously low prices. The farmers lack means of adding value to their products, therefore, they cannot meaningfully contribute to the development of a friendly agro-business investment environment.