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Over the past decades, Uganda has experienced war, economic downfall and political instability, resulting in them being one of the poorest developing countries in Africa today. To help combat this, many NGOs have contributed by improving the lives of many people by providing basic human needs to give greater chance of eradicating poverty within that region.
Poverty is the insufficiency of money to meet basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. But it also about the lack of education, health and clean water. It is measured by the number of people who fall below the poverty line – the income needed for a basic standard of living. The international poverty line of the global absolute minimum is currently at $1.90 per day.
Poverty is a severe issue in Uganda that impacts everyone and doesn’t discriminate. It encompasses everything in a person’s life, including their health status, education, access to basic sanitation and clean water, employment, etc. Poverty is found to be concentrated among the most disadvantaged: people in rural areas, youth, elderly, women, the disabled and those from ethnic minorities.
In February 2018, over 8 million people out of 40 million were in poverty, which in percentage terms is just over 21%. That means that in 2018, 1 in every 5 people in Uganda lived on less than $1.90 per day. From 2013 to 2018, the poverty rate has gradually increased from 19.7% to 21.4%. Despite this, Uganda has one of the highest monetary poverty reduction rates in the world.
When Uganda is compared to other African countries for the extent of poverty, it tends to be towards a more mild issue. Uganda was ranked the 15th poorest country in 2018, measured by its GDP per capita which was $1,032 AUD. The remaining African countries either have a higher or lower poverty rate due to economic and political stability, education, clean water access, etc.
Due to the high financial costs and low incomes, poverty has a higher connection with the infant mortality rate across the whole country. The infant mortality rate is measured by the number of infants dying before reaching a year old, per 1,000 deaths in a given year. The infant mortality rate in 2017, was 35 deaths per 1000 live births. This is a lower number compared to the 2000 infant mortality rate, which was 170 deaths per 1000 live births . These statistics show the immense improvement of household economy and health care facilities in Uganda in 17 years.
Poverty impacts all aspects of a person’s life. Not just economically, but mentally, socially and physically. Poverty results from having high unemployment rates and the effects are lower health levels and disease. Poverty can also affect the lifespan of a person due to the lack of resources they have access to. In 2018, the average life expectancy of a person living in Uganda was 63 years old.
In today’s society, 2% of Ugandans are unemployed, 7% are employed in industry and 47% are employed in agriculture. Not many people are able to find a job that pays the minimum wage — or even find a job at all. The incomes are unequally distributed with an average of one person’s income being at about $1000 annually. Structural unemployment from technological changes has caused many workers to lose their jobs and the skills required for the occupation. The most important sectors of work are: agriculture, light consumer goods & textiles, electricity and cementing. The pie chart below shows the types of employment in 2018.
The major effects of poverty are linked to lower health levels and high disease rates, especially in early childhood. According to Save the Children, the children in Northern Uganda are twice as likely to die as children who grow up in the city, due to the lack of access they have to resources to aid them and the lack of education to prevent these issues happening. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, pneumonia and heart-related problems are the most prevalent health issues that cause death among the poor. They have lower life expectancies and higher mortality rates than the rest of the world.
World Vision Uganda is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation that was started in 1986. Their vision is to end poverty through development, relief and advocacy. Their goals are to provide everyone with clean water and sanitation by 2030; improve health and reduce mortality; ensure that all boys and girls receive an education and to protect children. They are able to provide educational support, construct and equip schools & health care centres and supply clean and safe water. They have successfully helped over 128, 000 children in more than 50 districts across Uganda. World Vision are slowly working on achieving all of their goals by doing simple tasks that make such a difference.
World Vision has been really successful in being able to improve the quality of life among children with many different solutions. In November 2017, they provided solar lamps for children so they can read books, complete their homework and walk places in the dark. Lang Lok (pictured to the right) reading using his solar lamp provided by World Vision.
World Vision have also created literacy programs that ensure children get the education that they deserve. The impact of these programs is that nearly 400,000 children have enhanced their learning abilities and over 34,000 different copies of books have been distributed for children to read. These are two achievements made by World Vision that contribute to ensuring that all boys and girls receive an education.
World Vision also provide opportunities for South Sudanese refugees that have fled to stay in refugee settlements in Uganda. Charity Yabang is a refugee mother that fled from South Sudan in February 2017. On the way, she picked up three children and currently looks after fifteen children. For the people she had to feed, she had no income which left her hoping for a miracle. World Vision came to her aid with a program called ‘Cash for Work’, by paying her with money to do various activities. With this, she used the money to provide for her kids and bought them food, clothes and uniforms for her children. This is another example of how World Vision Uganda have progressed in reaching all of their goals.
The effectiveness of World Vision in Uganda is massive in the communities that receive their aid. Without World Vision, children wouldn’t of been able to make it far in life without the basic needs that World Vision aims to provide the less fortunate. The stories of people who have been helped by World Vision explain just how much World Vision are aiming to attain their goals.
Poverty in Uganda is a severe issue that must be addressed before it has the potential to increase. There needs to be more jobs and higher wages distributed, otherwise the country will keep suffering from low health and disease. World Vision Uganda helps to reduce the poverty rate, but more support is needed to boost the population’s wellbeing and to eradicate poverty.
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