Itambira Island, Seeds of Hope Project
The Seeds of Hope project was set up to empower communities, especially the youth from the communities surrounding Itambira Island (located on Lake Bunyonyi, in Kabale District, in South West Uganda), by equipping them with life skills so that they may improve their households welfare and the youth to find gainful employment
Itambira Island ‘Seeds of hope’ is a not for profit, Non Government Organisation based on Itambira Island on Lake Bunyonyi. ‘Itambira’ means ‘place of healing or blessing’ in Rukiga (local language). It is indeed hoped that those visiting will receive God’s blessing.
The organization operates through several projects namely:
- youth empowerment
- household welfare improvement
- improved health
- spiritual growth
Areas of Activity
The project comprises two key elements.
- The main focus of the project is to run training programmes to empower the local community in the area to improve their welfare and the youth who have dropped out of school to improve their life skills and enable them to find gainful employment.
- The project also comprises tourism facilities to help offset the training costs and enable the project to become self sustaining in the long term.
Kabale District is located in the southwestern part of Uganda. The district is heavily populated, with one of the highest growth rates at 3%, and extensively cultivated. The estimated population, with a projection from the 2002 census is 660,000. With an area of 1,827 square kilometers (705 sq mi), the population density in the district is estimated at 361 people per km².
The main activity of the population is subsistence agriculture
The literacy level of Kabale is at 47.4%, while 76% of the adult population didn’t go beyond primary level of education
Most households survive on only one meal a day causing malnutrition, especially among the children. 16% of the Children are stunted. Women work in fields far from home (between 5-10kms) for 10-12 hours a day and children who stay at home skip meals or feed on poorly-preserved leftovers. Just over 20% of children have chronic malnutrition (TDI report)
Due to the dense population, people settle on the hill tops and reserve the lower fertile soils in the lower parts of the hills for agriculture whereas most water sources are found in the valleys and this causes people to haul water over long distances and on steep slopes. In Kabale district water hauling is mainly the work of women and children in addition to doing other domestic chores. This has contributed to many women having back problems and miscarriages and the poor school performance of children as they at times miss early and late lessons alternating it with water hauling.
Youth and children make up a large percent of the population (below 18 years) and many have a negative attitude towards work and this is one of the causes of low productivity and food scarcity.
Due to population pressure on land, there is over cultivation of the small available fragmented pieces for land using traditional methods of farming of burning the bushes, reclaiming swamps and deforestation have accelerated soil erosion leaving land barren. The terrain cannot promote mechanised agriculture due to land fragmentation and steep slopes of the area. This has led to low productivity hence poor feeding and poor nutrition causing poor growth and development in children. This has an impact on the environment as now the situation is unreliable rainfall, falling of water tables and long extended dry spell.
There is an increasing gap between rich and poor with 60% living below the poverty line. 70% of these are youth and many are unemployed
Specific challenges facing the youth in this particular area include lack of relevant skills leading to unemployment and hence redundancy, which can in turn lead to other social issues.
 Uganda Bureau of Statistics Demographic and Household Survey 1999/2000
This project aims to empower the communities surrounding Itambira Island to improve their livelihood and especially the youth in life skills so that they may find gainful employment
The vision of Itambira Island Seeds of Hope is “an empowered society where the vulnerable and disadvantaged members realise their full potential and share in the love of God to live in peace and harmony”
Mission Statement and Objectives
The mission of Itambira Island ‘Seeds of Hope’ is to serve the communities in the Lake Bunyonyi area by providing them with opportunities for learning and enabling and encouraging them to share God’s love through their increased life skills and gainful employment.
The overall objective of this project is to empower the communities surrounding Itambira Island especially the youth in income generating activities so that they may improve their welfare and standard of living
The indicators of achievement of this goal shall be:
- Increased gainful employment for young people
- Increased household income
- Reduction in the rate of early marriages and pregnancies among school girls and school dropouts
- Improved health and quality of life
- Increased Christian teaching and discipleship through local youth fellowships
- To establish a training and tourist centre on Itambira Island
- To equip targeted youth with life skills to increase their economic wellbeing (e.g. home maintenance and childcare skills, agriculture, customer service, catering)
- To improve health in families surrounding the Island
- To increase exposure to Christian teaching and spiritual growth
- To raise income to supplement the activities under the Itambira project and sustain the operations of the organisation.
The direct beneficiaries of this project are the families including the youth, especially those who have dropped out of school. The target populations are those who live in communities around Lake Bunyonyi and on the islands.
The target group will also include the local church leaders.
Those trained will also widely impact on their communities, imparting what they have learnt and gaining income from employment to support those in the family
- Improved health
- Improved quality of life
- Prevention of spread of HIV/AIDS
- Improved life chances for young people
- Improved management of resources
- Improved parenting and child care
- Increased economic wellbeing through employment
- Spiritual growth and committed Christians