The Ultra Poor are defined as those people who live on less than 50 cents a day.
On 9 December 2015, the media here in the United Kingdom was preoccupied by the Ultra Poor. This is because of a report launched that day by the charity BRAC at a lecture hosted London School of Economics (LSE) . The lecture discussed BRAC’s approaches to tackling extreme poverty through programmes that target the Ultra Poor.
At the time of this lecture, we had just completed a home assessment exercise in Ruhanga. This involved visiting twenty nine households in the community. Amongst our findings, that some of those households earn as little as seven pence (7p) a day.
As I followed discussions about the Ultra Poor in the media, my thoughts turned to those households in Ruhanga. I wondered how they fitted into the narrative about ultra poverty. I asked whether labels such as “Ultra poor” are useful in helping us understand the causes and solutions to poverty?
I will probably never know the answers to these questions, but I agree with some of the findings;
- the Ultra poor have no assets to generate their own income
- tend to be women
- engage in casual labour
- and are poorly paid.
What are we doing about the Ultra Poor in Ruhanga?
Ruhanga is a rural community in SW Uganda. The incidence of poverty is high yet most lack assets and or the skills to increase their income. The question that faces us, is what sort of interventions are appropriate in addressing such poverty.
In order to address this question, we have teamed up with a local women’s group to with a view to addressing those challenges.
We have undertaken to work with the women to increase their income by £1.75 a week. We will achieve this by enabling participants to set up a poultry rearing business as well as acquire skills in Semi Intensive poultry rearing.
We have called this initiative SEND A CHICKEN TO AN AFRICAN WOMAN and work got under way after christmas with the women signing up to the terms of the project.
A visit to Ruth’s farm
A key aspect of this initiative is, the women being accountable to each other through their leadership committee. Our role is to facilitate that process.
Shortly after members signed up to the project conditions, the committee visited Ruth to sign a supply agreement.
Ruth breeds chicks and sells them on. On this visit, the women placed their order and learned about what poultry rearing.
Our in country team have their work cut out but they are as excited as the women are.
Keep an eye on these pages for monthly updates.
If you would like to support our efforts please consider making a donation of £2.50 to our SEND A CHICKEN CAMPAIGN