A Meaningful Volunteer Competition and Cool Prizes


Meaningful Volunteer is about to launch some exciting new programs in Uganda and we need your help!  

Shown below are the programs that we currently have in development and are set to be launched in the not-too-distant-future.   

Cool programs need cool names and this is where we need your help!  Come up with a groovy program name and a catch phrase for the programs shown below and email your suggestions to coolprograms@meaningfulvolunteer.org.  We'll choose the best of the bunch and then release them for online voting.  The winning entries will get a cool Meaningful Volunteer t-shirt.

The RYE School is an especially cool program name and it is the type of thing we are looking for.

So what are you waiting for?  Get your thinking caps on and send those entries in!

Competition closes on March the 1st.

Fashion Project

There are a bunch of talented ladies in Buyaya just dying to be given the chance to shine.  The Fashion Project plans to gives them that chance.  Here's our plan in brief:

  • Purchase several pedal powered sewing machines
  • Bring in a trainer (volunteer?) to teach the ladies tailoring
  • Come up with a cool fusion of African and Western fashions
  • Get feedback on the fashion
  • Build towards the very first fashion show in Sironko!
    We'll have a catwalk, a sound system, a video crew, lots of press (hopefully!) and a bunch of Ugandans of all shapes and sizes strutting their stuff!
  • Release the label online

The idea with this project is gradually build the hype as the pieces fall together with the fashion show being the highlight.

All profits go back to the tailors.

Malaria Project

Malaria accounts for 53% of all death in Buyaya Everyone of those deaths is unnecessary and preventable.  The Malaria Project aims to tackle the problem head on.

We are currently developing a Malaria Education Pack. This pack is designed to be taken into a village by a volunteer.  The pack contains:

  • A Malaria Education Kit
    This will be used the volunteer to educate the village on malaria.  It will contain exercises for the villagers to work through and check lists to make sure they are well informed.

  • 20 or so treated mosquito nets
    We feel 20 is a good number for an education group.  The kit can be deployed many times for villages with more than 20 residents.

  • A GPS Unit
    The GPS unit allows us to track exactly where the nets were distributed.

  • Distribution  Processes
    It is important that we only distribute the nets on a per sleeping site basis.  Some Ugandans will inevitably try to work the system and try to get more than one net so that they can sell the other one.  Checks and balances need to be put in place to ensure a fair distribution.

Our long term plan is to get all 1,161 residents in Buyaya under a malaria net!

This is a project especially close to Malcolm's heart as it almost finished him!

HIV Project

According to the census Meaningful Volunteer conducted, only 0.46% of the residents are HIV+.  This is incorrect.  This is due to many reasons:

  • Stigma
    HIV+ people are stigmatized in Buyaya
  • Shyness
    Due to the stigma and mzungus (white people) conducting the interview, the interviewee is likely to become shy and not reveal their own status.
  • Not knowing
    Some people just did not their status.  Many of them wanted to, but just lacked the means to find out.

The HIV project is wide ranging.  As a first step we will test everybody who wishes to know their status.  We will have a Ugandan HIV/AIDS counselor on hand to inform the newly HIV+ people.

We'll then move into support mode and look to get as many people as we can onto ARV medication.  (ARVs slow down the progress of HIV.)  This is not as easy as it sounds.  The ARVs need to be taken with food (a huge problem in itself) and regular checkups with doctors is a must.

Another aspect is HIV/AIDS education.  Or more to the point, removing HIV/AIDS misinformation and then reeducating the people.  Most Ugandans know that wearing a condom while having sex will prevent HIV, but there are so many misinformed opinions out there.  For example, one man refuses to wear a condom because he heard that they cause cancer.

An HIV education kit is currently being designed specifically designed for Buyaya.  

The guest house in Sironko will be used as a free (or low cost) condom pick-up point.  The condoms will be specially marked so that locals do not just on-sell them to pharmacies.  

Human Rights Project

The Ugandan election is coming up in early 2011.  These are likely to get violent as various groups squabble for power.  The election will be "democratic" and fully deserving of the quote marks.

A first step to claiming your democratic rights is to be aware of what your rights are!  

An human rights education kit is currently being planned for Buyaya.  This kit is aimed at various age groups and is designed to be taken from village to village to small groups of people,

Coffee Project

Meaningful Volunteer will soon purchase an acre of land in Buyaya for about $US 1,800. This will be the start of a two year project to produce a fair-trade coffee brand (we really need your help here to come up with a cool name for the coffee brand!).

We will issue 1,000 shares.  Locals can then buy shares in the land for - say - $1 a share.  The profits from the coffee will be distributed on a per share basis.

We want to produce top quality coffee.  This will require careful management of the land and the use of best practise coffee growing techniques.  

The end product will be sold online and companies will be targeted (as opposed to individuals).  

Coffee does not have a good fair trade reputation, and it is hoped that is we can make a top quality fair trade coffee that is in coffee percolators in businesses around the world, then it will have a positive impact on many Ugandans.