Community leadership and poverty reduction in Uganda: the PEAP in Mukono District
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Community leadership is central for communities in their search for solutions and resources to solve current and future problems. It is argued that the degree of poverty or prosperity in a community is logically attributed to the ineffectiveness or otherwise of community leadership. The relationship between good leadership and people’s welfare was therefore examined, using the PEAP as a case study. In 1997, the Government of Uganda developed the PEAP, as a national planning framework for development. Consecutively, when the international community introduced the MDGs in 2000, they were to be understood in the context of the PEAP. One would imagine that Uganda was then in a better position to reduce poverty after all the striking principles established by the PEAP since 1997, and the MDGs since 2000. However, available information indicates that 9.9 million Ugandans still leave in absolute poverty that is, on less than a dollar a day. In Mukono District particularly, where the majority are the rural poor, poverty was on the increase since 2004. Since community leaders are formally charged with spearheading the reduction of poverty in their respective areas of influence, the general objective of the study was to establish the extent to which community leaders had contributed towards poverty reduction in Mukono District from 2004 to 2008, using a case study design, with in two sub-counties of Goma and Nakisunga. But first, it was necessary to identify the indicators and levels of poverty in the two sub-counties, as well as the role of community leaders in the PEAP. The findings established that although there are similar indicators of poverty in both sub-counties, there was a slight difference in the causes and levels in each sub-county, with Nakisunga being worse than Goma. The increasing levels of poverty were due to lack of good leadership policies to effect government programmes at sub-county level, as well as the tendency by leaders to maintain the political seat than engage in the poverty reduction campaign. The suggestion was that such problems can be overcome with more training on poverty reduction, the role of leaders as well as their followers.