Teso professionals launch plan to fight poverty

SOROTI-Professionals hailing from Teso Sub-region under their umbrella codenamed Ateker Professionals Initiative for Development [APID] have launched a-10 year poverty eradication strategic plan.

The plan was launched this week during APID’s first assembly in Soroti City under the theme, “Enhanced local socio-economic initiatives in the selected eight sectors supporting welfare needs of targeted communities”.

According to the Multidimensional Poverty Index [MPI], 2022 report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics the poverty rate in Teso Sub-region stands at 55.6 percent.

For this reason, the region’s professionals from different fields have launched a strategic plan which will see them spend an estimated Shs 38 billion from membership contributions and partners to implement community tailored programmes aimed at uplifting the livelihoods of the poor people.

Under the 10 years strategic plan, APID will implement programmes in the 11 sectors of trade, agriculture, education, natural resources, roads and energy sector, communications, land, governance sector, health, law, and justice.

APID CEO, Christopher Aru said each sector would have a subcommittee responsible for developing interventions based on proposed initiatives geared towards eradicating poverty amongst the households in the region.

Under Agriculture, the organisation plans to increase and diversify crop production and productivity, increase and diversify livestock production, provide extension services, reduce post-harvest losses by promoting silos at all levels, and promote climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Aru.

He explained that under the education sector, APID plans to increase the enrolment and retention of children in schools, increase the retention and completion of girl child education, support sponsorship for vulnerable children, and establish school garden projects to support school feeding programmes.

According to Aru, they will also intensify lobbying and advocacy campaigns for improved health outcomes for the region, adolescents’ reproductive health, and rights, and production of a healthy human capital.

“The health status of the country’s population has deteriorated over the last decades due to severe neglect of the health system, especially in the rural areas, where over 75 percent of the population live,” he said.

On the environment for instance, in Teso Sub-region poor farming practices and charcoal burning as a form of business have led to environmental degradation.

APID members further commit to facilitate a concept of environmental citizenship among the population, through the integration of knowledge, sense of responsibility, and successful action to mitigate climate change impact.

The professionals also plan to strengthen civil society, private sector, and citizens’ engagement in land governance and facilitate community dialogue.

However, Dr. John Ekure the then interim chairperson of APID called for unity amongst Teso leaders, professionals, and other stakeholders

He pointed out that Teso Sub-region can only develop if leaders unite as one and speak with one voice as opposed to their personal interests.

“We need to stand united in this cause; we can achieve this as long as we remove the dependent syndrome and encourage our people to work hard to change the status quo,” Ekure noted.

The Minister of state for roads and Transport, Musa Francis Ecweru who is also Amuria County MP, challenged the professionals in the region to be torchbearers in guiding the communities on development issues.

According to him, Uganda is having a silent competition among its communities.

He said the competition is based on numerical strength, intellectual strength, and wealth.

The assembly saw Ruth Obaikol being elected as the chairperson of APID deputised by engineer Paul Angerep of Arch technocrat.

The former executive director of the National Environment Management Authority [NEMA], Dr. Tom Okurut, and the proprietor Kumi Orthopedic Hospital Dr. John Ekure, and others were elected to the board committee.

The new leadership reiterated their commitment to work as a team to achieve the set targets.

Eng. Paul Angerep, one of the promoters of the initiative said their first task is to change the mindset of the rural communities towards work.

He said in the villages, many people spend much of their time on leisure activities that require money rather than making money, a trend he said is frustrating the fight against poverty.

APID was established in 2020 and registered as a nonprofit organization. It began as a social media group.

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