Landslide Risk Rises As Rains
Drench Eastern Districts
and a home for their families
The Bududa district landslide of 1 March 2010 wiped out three villages, and was the most severe ever recorded in Uganda. Only 92 bodies were recovered out of the 365 that were buried. Only 31 people survived. The area has consecutively been affected by landslides through 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and just recently in 2018 that have left 900 families homeless. There is still risk of major future landslides due to the annual heavy rains the area is prone to facing. Coupled with the increased population and cultivation of land for food causing cracks on the mountains, there is need to resettle over 100,000 people living in the risk-prone districts of Bududa, Bulambuli and Sironko.
The government has acquired land to resettle many of these people. In the Kiryandongo District the government has resettled 609 families so far on 15 square kilometers of land. Each was given 2 ½ acres to live on and farm, but no help with plowing, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides or housing. The result is people are living in makeshift huts, and have little or no ability to grow food or provide reasonable shelter for their families. The conditions are harsh. This is a dry land with no trees, one borehole serving families in a 50-hectare radius, 1 health center and 1 primary school serving over 2,000 families.
Brenda Salira, Founder, and CEO of Ndikyo Agricultural Co-op, is from the landslide region. When the tragedy occurred in 2010, she dropped everything to look for a way of helping these families. The goal was to not give them a hand out, but a hand up, to help them with sustainable aid that would save lives and end the cycle of poverty. Sacrificing practically all that she possessed, she has endured for 8 years to help these people. With her leadership, and help with others on her Ndikyo team, they have inspired this hopeless community to rise up out of their despair. Over 500 families committed 1 ½ acres for communal commercial farming. With some help from Steelheart International Foundation, they managed to plow and seed 22 acres before the first of two annual rainy seasons started. Brenda has secured contracts for1600 metric tons of Chia Seeds, and is optimistic about securing a major contract with Coca-Cola for millet.
The quest now, is to raise roughly $100,000 in loans or grants to plow, seed and fertilize 500 acres so planting can begin in June. That will enable them to have food security and sustainable income so their path to a better future can begin. As their income starts from commercial farming, our ability to provide housing will begin as well. The EcoShell, pictured here, is the least costly, best solution for housing. Since these houses are built with local concrete and labor at $2 a day (+/-), a 50 m2 home with a loft can be built for roughly $5,000. These houses can withstand earthquakes, tornadoes, and are impervious to fires, mildew, mold and termites. Obviously this is a significant step up from the shack shown above.
As this model program begins, it will establish the foundation for a housing industry in Uganda for low income earners. Donations raised for this program will be used by Steelheart International Foundation to establish a revolving loan fund for Ndikyo Farm and Housing Projects for plowing, seeds, fertilizers and management, to be repaid at harvest time. There are two harvests a year. $350 in seed capital is sufficient to help one family and is expected to generate over $1,000 a year income after repayment of the initial loan. Not much by our standards. Huge for theirs. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.