Cash Strapped HIV/AIDS Youth Project Stalls In Fort Portal

An HIV/Aids project implemented under the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders AMICAAL in Fort portal municipality has stalled.

AMICAAL is a network of local authorities, mayors and municipal leaders. In 2012, AMICAAL started a 400 million shillings project to help turn around the lives of Orphans and Vulnerable children in Fort Portal, whose parents died of HIV/AIDS.

Through the project, several youths in Fort Portal acquired skills such as brick laying, catering, tailoring and metal wielding among others. This helped some of the children who are heads of families to provide necessities for their siblings. Last year, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS-UNAIDS stopped funding the project and left it under Fort Portal municipal council.

However, the municipality has failed to honor its obligation, which has stalled the project. As a result, more than 300 youths in the municipality who have been benefiting from the project are stuck with nowhere to turn for help. Some of the beneficiaries like, Girls Tailoring School in Nyabukara, stopped its operations because of lack of sewing machines to enable the girls acquire the skills in tailoring.

Rosette Kemigisa, the in-charge of the center says they have only two sewing machines used by more than twenty girls. Kemigisa says that some of the orphans who want to acquire tailoring skills are often turned away because of lack of enough machines to use.

The metal fabrication unit at Kisenyi was also closed three months ago over rent arrears. Water and electricity were also disconnected. Simon Mwesige, the manager of the metal fabrication unit says that they decided to close since they can’t afford fuel for the generator. David Asiimwe, a beneficiary of the project says following the stalemate he can’t meet some of the basic necessities for his siblings.

Alex Busobozi, the coordinator of the AMICAAL project, blames the municipal authority for neglecting the programme. He says that before UNAIDS stopped funding, the municipality committed itself to fund the project but they have failed.

Busobozi says that they are forced to seek financial assistance from other NGOs to sustain the project but the funds are inadequate. Edward Lwanga, the town clerk Fort Portal municipality says the funds meant for the project are part of the local revenue, which he says is inadequate.

Lwanga says that there are priority sectors that require urgent attention like renovation of municipal roads and construction of municipal markets. He states that the municipality may fund the project at the beginning of next year, when funds are available.

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