I am Milly Businge, the chairperson LCI Kikuube village, Bikonzi Parish, Bwijanga Sub-County, Bujenje County, Masindi District in Uganda.
I welcome the World of Kikuube today. Today is a historic day because for the first time in history of Kikuube gets the microphone to share with the world about how it is developing. We would like the entire world to know simply that we exist, and that we are empowered, we live, and we are real and not just a story. We would like you to know how we stand, how we survive, how we study, how we grow, our successes and our failures.
In 2000 the world leaders got together and decided on 8 goals that we needed to achieve, but no one told us at village level. We’ve witnessed programs coming to our village i.e. immunization of our children, Universal Primary Education, Programs on HIV/AIDS and many others, but little did we know that these were some of the Millennium Development Goals that were decided on the by the world leaders.
It’s funny as I stand here and have to tell you that I myself as the chairperson of this village didn’t know about these MDGs until recently.
Before I proceed any further, I would like to tell you a bit about myself. I am married, and a house wife with 8 children, 4 boys and 4 girls. I am a Pastor of a Pentecostal Church, a peasant farmer and the chairperson of this village, Kikuube, where we stand today.
I want to thank God who gives me the grace to be all this.
Our village Kikuube consists of 270 homesteads and just about 1000 people, most of whom are farmers. Until just recently, our people have been surviving on subsistence farming.
Now when sugarcane farming was introduced, many farmers turned to commercial sugarcane farming as out growers for the local sugar cane factory, and great development has followed i.e. the increase in the completion of permanent houses, mobile phone adoption and increased means of personal transport are proving to be catalysts for an improved way of life. Individual efforts like these are directly contributing to the achievement of the MDGs.
Elsewhere in the world, someone living below one dollar per day is considered poor; but our people here sometimes survive on even less, while working very hard, as far as the MDGs are concerned, this is how we stand.
As in many societies, we have our winners and we have our losers; we have our hard workers and we have our lazy ones and yet we are termed poor. Out fertile grounds will feed those who sow and burry those whose who do not. Most of our people are hard workers and so we have noted a marked improvement in the eradication of poverty and hunger. So goal to some extent has been achieved, and there is still room for improvement as our people continue to be sensitized.
I am not going to speak a bout all the goals since time is limiting me; but I want to say something on U.P.E.
In the year 2000, we as the Kikuube Community were making hard efforts to have a resemblance of a school. Many parents could not afford to take their children to school, let a lone give to them the school essentials. But now it’s different. Most of our children attend primary school and the coverage is 75% according to the records and I do believe, given more sensitization and as we endeavor to work with the government, all our kids will attain to U.P.E.
As I mentioned before, then, we had grass thatched, good and permanent structures though more needs to be done thanks indeed to the government which has stressed EDUCATION a way of development.
I will also say something on child mortality indeed the government has made big strides as far as health improvement is concerned. We have immunization programmes right at village level, and if there are any children’s deaths it’s not because the government hasn’t cared but mainly due to our part as parents where immunization is concerned.
Walking long distances has been one set back in the achievement of this goal. The nearest government heath facility that is in Mihembero is 3 miles from here, another one is Ikoba which is 4 miles away, and another one is in Bwijanga which is about 8 miles away. Here it’s the women who look after the children. Taking them for treatment is also one of their chores-sometimes they have to walk these long distances with the babies on their backs-reaching there you may not find the medicine and are referred to another place-still further away. We loose the lives of our young ones in this way. It’s a constant pain in our community. So here we are taking up this chance to ask our government to consider our plight and give us a health facility in order to reach our goal.
On goal 7- Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Once again we want the people outside there to know that we are situated in a very lush green area, very beautiful to behold as you can see. It was even much better than this before we started cutting the trees for charcoal, firewood. For the growing of sugar cane, most of the woods have come down, and hence forth our rainfall is less. We are asking the government to raise awareness of MDGs and advocate for sensitization programmes on environmental sustainability or soon we shall not have even small firewood to put in our hearths.
There are other goals which I will not speak of-we have many other speakers who are going to speak on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the government for all the many steps it has taken for effecting and achievement of the MDGs in our village community.
And whereas, we the Kikuube community cannot direct the wind, we can adjust the soils. So we continue to support the government programmes as laid out and so bring to achievement of the MDGs in our community.
Long live the people of Kikuube, Long live Project Diaspora, Long live Business Fights Poverty, long live Orange Uganda.
LONG LIVE OUR PRESIDENT, YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.