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  • Writer's pictureAfrinspire

An extra threshing machine in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement

Updated: Nov 7, 2018

Afrinspire has been active in the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in central Uganda since 2011 when our partner Rose Ekitwi first started Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) Groups among the internally displaced people of Bududa who were re-settled after their villages were covered by a landslide. The FAL programme teaches literacy to adults but also empowers the group members. The original six groups completed the FAL programme and some sustainable agricultural training funded by Afrinspire. This enabled them to understand and farm the land on which they had been placed. The camp now has productive farms.

But new refugees arrived from Sudan and Congo who appealed for the FAL programme to move to them also. Rose started groups among these newcomers and these groups were quite different because the people have some skills but spoke no English or local Ugandan language. These groups have a very different demographic to the usual FAL groups which are rural women as the core with a few men also attached.

The Intwari Group The groups always give themselves a name. The Intwari FAL Group is a group of 15. All are refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan. They have been put together in one 'cluster' in the camp. Intwari is a Kirundi word for 'Heros' which is a self-given description of who these people are having survived battles. They are older than many other groups. By older they mean they are over 35 years old, but they are active and committed.

Coming from French-speaking countries, learning English is key to their settlement in Uganda. FAL provides a useful way to do this as they concurrently develop language, practical knowledge and skills.

One part of the FAL learning material encourages groups to come up with an empowering project. The Intwari group identified that there is a lack of threshing machines inside the settlement. There are only two such machines serving thousands of people. If they had a threshing machine, they could thresh their own grain and it would be a reliable income generator as they could charge out to others. Afrinspire has supported such projects when we find a committed group with good attendance, group unity, a viable idea and something which is beyond their own financial capacity. Several visits had been made to see this group and they showed themselves to be more organised than other groups.

A threshing machine or thresher is a piece of farm equipment that threshes grain, that is it removes the seeds from the stalks and husks. It does so by beating the plant to make the seeds fall out.

Threshing machines are made in Kampala and arrive in kit form for assembly. This is so that they will fit in the bottom of a long distance bus. We apologise for these low-quality images, but hopefully, as you can see, this is a threshing machine arriving in pieces earlier this week.

It is being picked up in wheelbarrows for taking from the tarmac road into the camp!

We hope it will soon look like the example above which is one already up and running in the

camp - one which we photographed earlier as the owners returned from a days work.

Afrinspire has been accepted to be in the BIG GIVE which is a matched funding campaign running from 28th November just before Christmas. Our fund-raising project is the FAL programme which covers 85 women's literacy groups, both the group training and projects like this one which arise from the groups.

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