I was entertained by a story in the media titled “Minister orders Masaka officials to recover Museveni’s stolen cows”. The youth in Masaka reportedly sold off cows the President gave them as a donation to alleviate poverty. It reminded me of the gross mistake poverty fighters make believing that everyone suffers from the same form of poverty and has common needs and priorities. I don’t condone what the youth did but others would do the same because receiving the heifers today doesn’t automatically relieve one’s yesterday financial pressures and tomorrow’s needs.
For this, I give credit to Brac, a Bangladesh-based NGO, for having taken care of such blunders. They rank the poor according to their degree of impoverishment and immediate needs. For instance, the “ultra-poo” are not given micro-credit and valuable livestock assets immediately. They are taken through a rehabilitation phase to restore their confidence. It includes supplementing their diet to graduate from eating one meal a day. They are made to take an oath of commitment to get out of poverty which includes ensuring safe custody of live stock assets given to them and micro-finance discipline.
Alternatively, heifers should be given to individuals and companies who are well established to do large scale dairy farming and create regular jobs for the youth. Otherwise, it will be a continued wastage of resources to give heifers to people without farming background, real interest in farming and all farming requirements.
Julius Zaake Wasswa, (MA)
SOURCE: Daily Monitor