Picturing Wanteete is in collaboration with two amazing and passionate non-profit organizations, Spark MicroGrants and BESO Foundation, that are committed to community-led development, and have made a significant impact in the Wanteete community and beyond.
Spark MicroGrants is an international NGO that focuses on providing training and capital support to allow communities to design and manage their own social impact projects. Spark is founded on the belief that communities can champion their own development and drive their own positive future.
To catalyze change, Spark sends local facilitators into infrastructure poor villages and engaged them in a six month planning process. Community members build consensus on a communal goal, identify a project to realize the goal, develop an implementation strategy, budget, and democratically elect a leadership committee. To learn more about the awesome work they are up to in East Africa, click on their logo to read their 2014 annual report or visit www.sparkmicrogrants.org
BESO Foundation is a grassroots Ugandan Community-Based Organization (CBO) founded by people from the Wanteete area that focuses on the empowerment of disadvantaged women and children in rural Uganda. BESO Foundation is working to create a society where children and women can reach their full potential through increased access to education, health services, livelihood skills development, and agricultural improvements.
Currently their efforts are concentrated on their Educational Support and Economic Empowerment Programs, both based in Wanteete. To read their 2014 annual report, click their logo above. Learn more about their commitment to vulnerable peoples in Uganda by clicking here or www.besoug.org.
A HISTORY OF COLLABORATION:
Spark MicroGrants launched its first community-driven project-- the construction of a primary school-- in 2010 in Wanteete, Uganda. Previously, Wanteete had no school of its own. The local children had to walk over five miles to access sub-par education in a neighboring village. Through participating in the Spark Process, a collective of 80 mothers united to build the first school in their town center. Simultaneously the community based organization (CBO), BESO Foundation, emerged from this collaboration with Spark to support the growth and development of this work on a grassroots level. In 2011 the school opened with 100 students and just two teachers. It was a humble start, consisting of a single tin roofed structure with no walls, funded by their $1,600.00 microgrant from Spark. Over the past five years, thanks to the support of BESO Foundation and the community’s commitment to the project, the site has expanded to include four permanent brick buildings that house a pre-primary, primary and upper level school. Today the school is fully operational with an administrative staff and ten teachers. BESO Foundation also offers a school-wide subsidized free meal program and provides scholarships for over half of the children in attendance. Since 2011 over 650 students have received a quality education at Wanteete's school. The community members of Wanteete also credit the organizational capacity and confidence gained through Spark and BESO’s facilitation as the reason why they now have a Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO). Currently they are saving toward to construction of a community owned and operated collective grain-grinding mill. Overall, the community Wanteete is a wonderful success story of how much community-driven development can achieve when implemented properly.
Picturing Wanteete echoes this spirit of collaboration and community empowerment. Through participation in Picturing Wanteete the people directly impacted by Spark and BESO have the opportunity to be intimately included in conversations abroad about their lives, and are given the opportunity to share their own story rather than to be the subject of an outsider's representation of them. This project gives the participants access to their inalienable Universal Human Right to freedom of expression. Furthermore this work rightly involves the local community in fundraising efforts designed to benefit their community and others similar to them.
All proceeds from the sale of the fine art prints available in the Print Shop go directly back to the Wanteete Photo Collective members and their families. Please consider purchasing a print to support this valuable cause. Your money goes beyond the direct impact of a financial gift to a family in need. It sends a message to the community that the locals are the experts and that their voice matters most of all.