Taking the microphone to the Villagers

In the last post we learned about a new type of conference from TMS Ruge, one that takes the conversation to the poor- VILLAGES IN ACTION

I caught up Teddy a few days ago to try and get a better understanding of what this is all about and here is what he had to say

So  Teddy I have heard so much about this  VILLAGES IN ACTION CONFERENCE, can you tell me firstly where and when it is taking place?

Kikuube Village Grounds, Masindi, West Uganda Saturday 27th November 2010, 2pm – 8pm

How did this come about ?

In September 2010, international organizations, heads of state, celebrities and specialists gathered to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As you may know, the MDGs were set in 2000 to achieve eight anti-poverty goals by 2015. In the midst of the coverage of these grand events, high profile attendees wined, dined and debated the relative merits of each MDG plan, while the actual “poor,” (the object of these goals) were not invited to these elite events.  As Project Diaspora is dedicated to change perceptions about the poor by building a platform whereby the voices of the poor can be heard, we decided to take the microphone to them.

Why is this conference necessary, after all there are so many conferences on Africa?

The goal of this one-day conference is to showcase the grassroots efforts driving economic development and improving the welfare of the community – all with little or no assistance from international aid organizations.

As a departure from the usual conferences on poverty in Africa, the keynote speech will be delivered by the village’s Local Council (LC1) chairperson, Milly Businge. Mrs. Businge represents this village of 270 homesteads and just over 1000 people.

Even though she had no knowledge of the MDGs prior to the planning of this conference, her keynote speech will revolve around the development springing up due to the shift from subsistence farming to commercial farming of sugar cane. As more farmers turn their uncultivated parcels of land into sugar cane out-grower parcels for the local sugar cane factory, development has followed.

That is very interesting, can you tell us more about the nature of this  development?

There has been an increase in the completion of permanent houses, mobile phone adoption, and improved means of personal transport are proving to be catalysts for an improved way of life/development.

What else can delegates expect at the conference

The conference will  bring together 400-500 members of the community, and community leaders for this one-of-a-kind event. Most of the presenters and panelists will be from the village itself, mixed in with local subject-specific experts and practitioners.

The conference will also showcase a start up SME-

Pamlea Nyakato- photo by TMS RUGE

Kikuube’s first hardware shop was opened by an enterprising young woman Pamela Nyakato who identified an opportunity and now has a thriving business. Individual efforts like these are directly contributing to local development as well the achievement of the MDGs.

What arrangements have you got in place for those that  are interested in this conference but cannot make it to  Uganda

A global audience of thousands will engage with the conference through social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, the blogs.

Thank you Teddy, I wish you the best of luck with the conference. Please do come back and  let us know how you got on


This conference is sponsored by BUSINESS FIGHTS POVERTY a network for professionals passionate about fighting poverty through business. For information please click on the logo on left

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