KYOTERA. It was all excitement and joy as Kitovu Mobile (KM) officially launched of the Grand Mothers, Orphans and OVC Support project in Kabira Sub-county, Kyotera District.
Held on 20 March, 212019, the event saw hundreds of residents in the area including sub- county political leaders and technocrats joining Kitovu Mobile staff to grace it.
It started with Mass led by Fr. Joseph Sekyewa, the Mpambire Parish priest, whose sermon focused on thanking Kitovu Mobile for being committed to getting grandmothers out of poverty as well as relieving them from woes of raising school fees and other requirements for their HIV orphaned grandchildren.
The project has 100 grannies and 100 OVCs under their care. These were selected from Bwamijja and Ndolo parishes, basing on their vulnerability levels.
Grouped into eight solidarity groups, the grannies will go through three solid years of socio-economic empowerment. Grannies will be taught about saving, backyard farming, food security, nutrition, as well as running income generating activities- like piggery, poultry, making hand crafts, snacks like chapattis and pancakes, among others, so as to provide for their basic home needs and be able to save money in their groups.
Fr. Ssekyewa appealed to the beneficiaries not to take this chance for granted ,but rather exploit it to the fullest to achieve their households’ desired ambitions.
This development, according to Ms.Rose Namaganda, one of the selected grannies, is going see them improve on their livelihoods. Since the HIV claimed her children, the visibly excited granny said she has been grappling with taking care of her grandchildren.
“You see, I have many orphans under my care, and have no reliable source of livelihood. But from the stories we get from other sub counties where this project has been implemented, I am certain our woes will come to end,” a visibly excited Namaganda shares, adding “ I have a lot to reap from this project, but relief from school fees woes for my grand children is what I was most excited about”
Local leaders excited as well
Mr. Richard Kalanzi, the Kabira Sub-County chairperson, thanked Kitovu Mobile for considering his sub -county. He said that the high level of vulnerability among the elderly, especially grandmothers in his area dismays him ,but could not do much to change the situation .
Ms Maria Jjuko, an advocate for grandmothers’ rights, who is also a member on the Grand Mothers Consortium, an association which joins all NGOs advocating for grandmothers’ rights –Kitovu Mobile inclusive, said government needs to increase the Senior Citizens Facilitation Grant (SAGE) that is given to the elderly.
Under the scheme, older persons receive Shs 25,000 every month (about US$7,£5), but paid out every two months hence beneficiaries receive Shs 50,000 (US$14,£10) every after two months, but Ms Jjuko believes the amount is too little to cater for the needs of the grannies and their households.
“These are old people who are prone to non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and the like; which diseases are expensive to treat,” Ms Jjuuko noted .
She appealed to Ms Robina Ssentongo, the Kyotera Woman Member of Parliament, and former Kitovu Mobile Chief Executive Officer, who had graced the event, to present her concerns on the floor of Parliament.
In her response ,Ms Sentongo said she is equally concerned about the little SAGE facilitation extended to the elderly persons . ‘Yes, it is little ,but we should be thankful to government for this,” She said after giving a brief back ground of the Grand Mothers and OVC support project; recalling how she met Mr Stephen Lewis who sponsors this noble project.