Sustainable Livelihoods Program:
Knowledge, Talent, & Financial Prosperity
From its earliest days, Ibutwa has sought to meet the needs of our participants based on the priorities they have identified. As survivors of traumatic sexual violence - many of whom have also experienced additional social, economic and emotional traumas from their experience - they have pointed us to urgent needs in three areas: medical treatment; provision of school fees for their children; and support for the development of their own small businesses and economic activities. It is the third of these priorities that has formed our current Sustainable Livelihood Program.
The success of Sustainable Livelihoods Program aids in the future expansion of Ibutwa's client base; Ibutwa's original participants are now financially independent. We strive to discover activities for the sustainable livelihoods of our participants that best fit their circumstances and personal interests. From pig raising to tailoring programs, Ibutwa has experimented with livelihood programs we hope to replicate and expand.
Our bakery project was inspired and cultivated by Ibutwa participant Ms. Wabiwa Wakusomba. As a small business entrepreneur, Wabiwa is responsible for buying wheat, flour, sugar, and charcoal to power her bakery that generates her own income and feeds locals. Ms. Wabiwa has successfully converted the start-up funding and microfinance business training provided by Ibutwa into a thriving business.
Together, Wabiwa and Ibutwa have demonstrated resilience in the face of difficult circumstances. When floods washed away Wabiwa’s original bakery in late 2016, Ibutwa provided emergency funding for her to rebuild. Given Wabiwa’s excellent success, Ibutwa is now seeking donations to provide funding for expansion so that Wabiwa can share her success through employment opportunities to other Ibutwa participants.
A second project, which has been both a financial and community success, is our community garden. Ibutwa purchased two acres of land in Kamonyola in 2015 to be farmed by four participants. The participants used the produce they raised to feed their families.
Although the same rains that devastated Wabiwa’s bakery damaged crops last year, a succesful crop is anticipated for this coming seasons. Participants have requested an expansion of crops, with a specific request to buy an additional five acres of land adjacent to the two acres already under cultivation. More land would allow for new program participants and an increase in the income generating capacity of current participant.
Looking Into The Future
Ibutwa is fortunate to have a talented and dedicated Chief Program Officer, Ms. Pelagie Misasa, to support our participants in their efforts. From providing initial training in microfinance and small business management to helping to coordinate and problem solve in projects currently underway, Pelagie is a constant and competent resource as the participants of our program seek to re-create their lives and those of their families.
Ibutwa recognizes that the real indicator of success is not found in the instant gratification of handing a few day’s supplies to a family, but in making the commitment for the long haul to be sources of transformational support through the ups and downs of our participants finding their own economic and social independence.