Mr Anthony Mula presents strong points in the keynote article. I, however, would like to underscore the importance of an integrated approach to the development question; with specific attention to the Parish Development Model and how it can fit in the Busoga development agenda.
Back in 1900s, Busoga’s economy was outstanding and growing steadily with cotton production, hospitable citizens, railway line transportation, values of the Owen Falls Dam, and free fishing activities on the fresh water bodies. The industrial park at Jinja made the town one of the leading commercial centers in Uganda which dispersed the benefits to the whole of East Africa. But today all the endowments are either a historical or valueless gifted nature to the poorest households in the region.
It therefore should go without saying that well intentioned programs like the Parish Development Model project and Busoga Development Agenda (BDA) would be successfully if they were practically integrated.
Busoga is one of the mineral resource endowed regions in Uganda with Aluminous clays, and rare metals such as gallium and scandium. These minerals, Ministry of energy reports show, are worth trillions.
The districts of Bugiri, Iganga and Mayuge are estimated to have 300 trillion tonnages of minerals. How is Busoga being prepared to benefit from hosting the potentially biggest rare earth mining operation in the region?
Let’s prepare the youth to be skillfully relevant for the operation and the untapped mineral sector of the region. We also need to identify collaborative activities that have a direct relationship between the Makuutu project (and the wider mineral sector) and industrialization, infrastructural development, urbanization, and science and technology are unavoidable development indicators.
The minerals aside, Busoga is also endowed with water bodies. How can we harness the fishing potential of the region instead of simply playing host to exploiters who come to set up fishing companies and take everything out of the region?
This integration I argue should be both internal and externally dispersed. For instance, with the Parish Development Model, discipline of the leadership threads must be observed.
The Parish Chiefs should not be facilitated after raising complaints and let the financial follow up be clear to all stakeholders.
Considering the bottom-up approaches of program implementations in Busoga, their usability should catalyze the participation of all the intended beneficiaries. The mode of opening and accessing SACCOs became a big hindrance for the poor to access funds. Parish Development model should be seen in all life aspects, covering agriculture grown, education, and other key development indicators. The PDM implementers should look at an individual person’s social behavior change; abilities, interests, barriers, and self-efficacies for positive outcomes and impacts.
PDM and BDA program implementation should be built on foundations where someone watches development in the lenses of program perception and not beneficiary’s perception.
We need to think big in integrating programs, opportunities, gifts and freely use our endowments without adverse policy limitations, disjointminded leaders, and poverty cycle mindsets.
The writer(Mudecha Aramathani) is a 4th Year Journalism and Communications Student at Makerere University