Choosing a Micro-Project

Hello from Lira Uganda!

Everything has been going really well here and things are definitely picking up speed. It is getting busier and busier as work projects pick up and life in Lira becomes more settled.

One of these work projects that I am really excited about is the “micro-project”. This aspect of the CAP Network internship was one of the main reasons I wanted to come and work in Lira in the first place. It is a really neat opportunity, where each intern is given a budget of $1000 to work with a local Community Based Organization (CBO) to develop and implement a project from start to finish. The main reason that this opportunity is so appealing is because it is a chance to be centrally involved in all aspects of a project, from the needs assessment at the start, to actually implementing the project on the ground, and finally, to monitoring and evaluating the results/impact of the project. Basically, a really great learning experience!

Last Sunday, we drove to Aboke, about one hour west of Lira, to meet with the Aboke Women’s HIV/AIDS Association (AHWA) to discuss micro-project possibilities. We had already met with the group once before, and from the first meetings’ discussions we had come up with a list of micro-project possibilities based on the challenges the group is facing. Based on these discussions, we came to the second meeting with two specific micro-project ideas in mind, with the goal of discussing each project and narrowing it down to one.

Meeting with AHWA to discuss micro-project ideas

Meeting with AHWA to discuss micro-project ideas

The first project we discussed was about revamping the HIV/AIDS community outreach done by AHWA. Basically, this micro-project would consist of doing a refresher training with the AHWA members and then facilitating weekly outreach sessions to various rural villages within the county. The group was very excited about this idea and we discussed at length what this potential micro-project might look like, from the types of refresher training needed to the modes of transport that would be best to reach the rural villages.

The second project we discussed was about setting up a Village Savings and Loan (VSL) scheme. This project would involve basic business skills and savings training, as well as setting up the account and start-up capital to invest as seed money, which group members would be able to use for micro-loans. Again, the group welcomed this micro-project idea, as it would help them to address many of the financial challenges faced by both the individuals of the group and the group as a whole.

And so, we debated back and forth about the different benefits, risks, and challenges of each micro-project. Members presented compelling arguments for each option and responded to concerns around the long-term sustainability for each project idea. In the end, Millie, the group mobilizer stood up and charismatically expressed her support for the HIV/AIDS outreach micro-project idea, emphasizing how this project will help the people that need it the most in their community now rather than later. Ultimately, she was able to convince the group about the need for HIV/AIDS outreach services in their rural villages, and everyone soon agreed and decided that this was the micro-project that they wanted for the group.

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Millie (pictured up front) with members of AHWA

And so, that was that, and my micro-project for the rest of my internship had been decided. There is a lot of work to go from here, but I am really excited that the group chose this project because it fits very nicely with my background and interest in rural health. So, for the next couple of weeks I (along with the AHWA members) will be designing the project and deciding on the specific activities that the project will entail. It is a bit daunting, but I am really looking forward to learning as I go and working with AHWA to implement this project in their community.

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