AIDEST in Uganda – for the empowerment of communities

By Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi,
ProMosaik. For the next interview of today, we are moving to Uganda to talk to Herman
Kizito Bukenya, Director of the Africa Intercultural Development Support Trust
(AIDEST). We asked him about the major
social issues in Uganda, and how AIDEST works to address them. Would like to
thank Herman for his detailed answers and the photos he sent us. 
What are the main objectives of
Initiate, promote and create opportunities for
the youths (men & women, girls & boys) for self-sustaining in the
labour and employment market through entrepreneurship skills training while
contributing to development efforts and country’s economy.
Advance human resource bases through community
participation, education and technical centres establishment i.e. vocational
centres to help reduce unemployment among the youths and poverty.
AIDEST embraces culture and traditional
development by empowering young people at all levels to know their African
culture / heritage through education, language, music dance and drama.
Sensitise the community to promote WASH
initiatives to help communities and schools improve their health and living
environment through establishment and maintenance of clean and safe water
Promote environment and energy efficiency
through community tree planting initiatives, energy saving cook stoves
empowerment, solar solutions to reduce on trees and forests that are cut for
wood fuel used by households for cooking, reduce on smoke generated from
candles and lighting of wood.
are the main social issues in Uganda?
There are a number of social problems affecting
Ugandan society, which are worrying.
and disease are the main issues being debated, associated with poor sanitation,
unclean water and inadequate housing and coupled with unemployment and
population growth in urban slams / centres. As of 2015, Uganda’s population
statistics indicates that 39032000 people.
sector is quite failing sector where insurance plans are hard to come by soon,
health centres often lack adequate personnel or professional doctors, nurses
and medicine/drugs, working in unsanitary conditions, which when you visit
there its becoming unbearable, outdate equipment. A report done by The Africa
Angle indicates that, doctor-patient ration stands 1-24000. So, a lot must be
done by the government and the community / stakeholders. This kind of situation
is mostly affecting the rural health centres and the common person becomes the
victim of these issues, especially women and children.
according to national statistics 2012-2013, still leads the top causes of morbidity
with over 15 million cases annually. This requires viable solutions to, not
only blame to the government of done nothing but to encourage the health
ministry to establish functional and equip the hospitals or health centres,
however, the government should also listen and act accordingly, through
healthcare provision that will help the citizens access it.
Uganda has the youngest population in the world, with 77%
being under 30 years. There are 7,310,386 youth from the ages of 15–24 years living
in Uganda
. It’s reported that at least 57000 of adolescents / youth are
believed to get infected with HIV weekly, this is a worrying situation. As a
community body concerned, AIDEST realised that there is need to build capacity
in creating awareness among the youth of the dangers of HIV and rate at which
the disease is being spread. It encourages them to always visit heath centres
for check-ups to know their status, protect themselves, taking care of their
bodies, not to engage in sex before knowing spouses status – it’s their human
right to say NO, encourage them to always seek for counseling and testing.
A lot to mention in health sector, but AIDEST
identified the above as crucial issues to share about.
How do
you promote community empowerment?
For all
the years since its establishment, AIDEST has been contributing to the
promotion of community empowerment through working with the local community and
stakeholders by engaging them to fully participate in new initiatives at the
grassroots level brought by AIDEST. We usually organize meetings, seminars, and
practical skills training for youth and single mothers within their home areas,
and collaborate with local authorities to implement these programmes a channel through
which are done successfully, as collective social responsibility.
initiated a Youth Production and Skills Training program in 2013 that empowers disadvantaged
youth (men & women), ongoing students in lower and upper institutions of
learning, who want to develop or improve skills under entrepreneurship and
innovation training programmes. We promote agriculture/agribusiness for
sustainability through which we encourage young people to engage and learn
modern farming to contribute to food security, increase on sustainable income
and fighting poverty hence reducing hunger and insecurity among Ugandans and
neaighbouring countries.
I initiated a project idea – ‘’Spring water4community Health’’ that aims at improving people’s
health in rural areas by providing clean and safe water through mobilization in
schools and communities, senstise them to participate in building of water
sources within their localities, to reduce on diseases that affect their lives
like malaria and typhoid as a result of contaminated and un boiled water. You
can visit the initiative at
You can as well comment, contribute or encourage friends and networks to
contribute. Thank you.
Do you
address any specific project to women?
We’ve been addressing women project and/or
issues in different ways;
the programme Youth Production and Skills Training, an all-youth empowerment
that helps less privileged youths and women especially single mothers to become
self-supporting by acquiring practical skills. Under this programme, women
participate in tailoring and fashion, hairdressing and cosmetology,
professional secretaries, management and operations, agriculture modernisation
since they contribute so much on food productivity, handcrafts making and sales
to enable them earn sustainable income to change livelihoods. I and AIDEST are
so much concerned about improving lives through women emancipation and gender equality
in job opportunities, whereby men are given the first priority in applying for
them either in office or at business level. Men are still seen as the superiors
for this matter, but AIDEST wants to begin valuing women as hardworking,
capable and can become agents of change in society.
Of all
applicants who apply at AIDEST to join short courses above, number of women
exceeds that of men, this mean that women believe in themselves, this has led
them to do good in business accounts and stability than men. However, there
existing gaps in women access to and control of
resources, education, division of labour, property ownership, opportunities and
political voices. Overall, women and girls continue to have less access to
social services, are victims of gender based violence. So, mobilising and
sensitizing them at grassroots to form village loan revolving schemes is
alternative to support them excel in business and co-operatives, become social
entrepreneurs through small business establishments that are manageable. AIDEST
decided to take part in this because the number of single mothers in Uganda is
on rise, due to lack of family responsibility and care that is supposed to be
provided by men/husbands, and leave only the mother to cater for the children
through all stages of growth.
How do you
cooperate with local authorities and institutions?
AIDEST partners
and collaborates with a number of organizations and institutions, these include
local, national and international partnership.
Nfluco Youth Build Uganda (NYB). Collaborates in
training youths in solar energy solutions and electricity construction and
installation, through learn-by-doing method to enable them earn sustainable
cash within a shortest time.
Balamu Community Outreach Programme (BACOP). To
promote WASH programmes in schools and communities participation in Uganda.
Brick To Housing Pioneer Women Project (BHP).
Young women enterprise that empowers women in entrepreneurship through
agriculture, bricklaying and biogas energy efficiency and innovation in firing
bricks and conservation.
partners at international level. 
more information on our programmes you can check us at However, there going to be
upgrade on the programmes on the website, to include new ones that have been
integrated e.g. metal fabrication, mobile solar energy training, African
culture through art and music, dance and languages, water sanitation and
hygiene, HIV&AIDS.