Meaningful Volunteer has been working hard to identify the areas of Uganda where its programs will be most effective. We've traveled far and wide to places such as Kampala, Jinja, Mukono, Miytana, Iganga, Mblae and Sironko.
We have settled on the Sironko region. As per our project plan, we had a specific set of criteria that we were looking for. Sironko meets the criteria in the following ways:
- Reliable Electricity
The area has quite reliable electricity and is usually on for most of the day. The area is perfect for solar areas and this may be looked at in the future for the dormitory
- Access to the Internet
There is a new product in Uganda called MTN Mobile Internet. This product can access the internet wherever there is a cell phone signal. This product will be used extensively. There are also internet shops in the nearby township of Mbale.
- A short trip to townships
Mbale is one of the bigger cities in Uganda and is about 30 minutes away via public transport. This is less than ideal.
Meaningful Volunteer has identifies a house in the district that will serve both as a dormitory for volunteers and an office for Meaningful Volunteer. It has three bedrooms, a living area, an outside kitchen, and four small rooms out back that can serve as bedrooms.
- Educational Facilities
It is suspected that the illiteracy rates are very high in the area. Meaningful Volunteer will be conducted surveys to confirm this observation. The schools are scattered. The community has been kind enough to offer us some land to build both an orphanage and a school on the land.
- Great need and great locals
Sironko was formally part of the Mbale, but has recently broken away and formed its own district. It is often ignored by international NGO (non-government organizations) and to some extent by its own national government. As a result, the poverty levels are very high. We have already met many HIV+ groups and have already heard many heart-breaking stories. Meaningful Volunteer will conduct a census of our targeted village to get a better understanding of the needs of the community.