From Milton Keynes to Uganda

5th November 2018

Emily Brewer is a Manager of our Field Archaeologists Team in Milton Keynes.

In September, she packed up her tool bag and left site to undertake a 3-month placement in Uganda with VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas).

VSO is a charity that has spent the last 60 years working in developing countries, focusing on improving education, health and livelihoods with the help of both national and international volunteers.  The programme Emily has joined is based in Hoima, west Uganda, with specific aims to improve livelihoods of young people and tackle the high youth unemployment rate.

Border Archaeology is supporting Emily during her 3 month placement.

Below is our first letter from Emily:

After a week of initial training in Kampala, my Ugandan counterpart volunteer and I were introduced to the team of 14 volunteers we would be leading for the duration of the project.  Throughout the placement, these volunteers will be working on specific projects in conjunction with local organisations including ‘Take A Step Women’s organisation’, ‘Communication for Health Uganda’, ‘Hoima Union for Disabilities’ and SCOPE, a branch of VSO which focuses on Vocational Training Institutes to provide young people with income generating skills. In addition to this, we will be working with schools and youth groups to provide sensitisation and training on relevant issues.

Having now spent two weeks in our communities, we’ve had a quick readjustment to our new surroundings: long-drop toilets, bucket showers and an overload of the local delicacies (generally a selection of carbs like Matoke, Cassava, Posho, Millet and sweet potatoes, with a side of beans). Now we are settled in we’re getting stuck in with the work, with lots of events planned for our time here!

Working with the aid of ‘Communication for Health Uganda’ (C4HU), a group of volunteers and I visited Buseruka sub-county, an area within Hoima, which has been heavily affected by the recent discovery of oil around Lake Albert. Although providing jobs, and an increase of potential of wealth in the region, the installation of pipelines has been detrimental to many of the local communities who have been displaced from their homes. The government ‘settlement action plan’ to combat this has provided compensation to these families in the form of money or accommodation. However, the good intentions of this scheme have been lost in the reality of the situation; large sums of money handed out, without any financial advice, have been quickly exhausted or have been hastily taken by individuals as an opportunity to start a new life for themselves, leaving no provision for the family they are leaving behind. Those opting for housing have been moved to