Speaker: Economic development a step to political stability
K.K. Mugambe looks at economic development as a step toward political stability. Mugambe, CEO and founder of Village Hopecore International, spoke to Jamestown College students at an assembly in Voorhees Chapel Thursday. "It is critically importa...
K.K. Mugambe looks at economic development as a step toward political stability.
Mugambe, CEO and founder of Village Hopecore International, spoke to Jamestown College students at an assembly in Voorhees Chapel Thursday.
"It is critically important to close the gap between rich and poor," he said. "A growing gap between the people guarantees political instability."
Village Hopecore operates in Chogoria, Kenya, and has been a destination for nursing students from Jamestown College in the past years.
"Quite a few of our nursing students have been there," said Dr. Robert Badal, president of Jamestown College. "Another 14 are going this spring along with other disciplines. A significant number of our seniors are getting a chance to experience Kenya."
The nursing students participate in one of the three parts of the Hopecore International program.
"The preventative health program is not just to keep people healthy," Mugambe said. "We need to keep people healthy so they can do business and earn a living."
Small family-run businesses are the basis for increasing income levels in the Hopecore program.
"Income generation is the first leg of the three-legged stool," he said. "Micro-credit allows families to buy the tools they need to increase their earning ability."
Mugambe looked at this as a change from other charitable programs.
"We don't want to give them a piece of bread," he said. "We want to teach them to raise food."
The Hopecore International website describes loans of up to $400 repaid over a two-year period. The loans are commonly used to buy livestock or farm equipment in the rural areas and may be used to start restaurants or stores in the small communities. The program has helped 492 families, according to Mugambe, and has a waiting list of more than 700.
"The third leg is capacity building," he said. "The people need to have the knowhow to succeed. This is the technical capacity to run a business and the attitude change that you can succeed. We need to get people out of the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness."
For Jamestown College, the presentation was a chance for students to see a different lifestyle than they normally encounter in North Dakota.
"Our school is committed to the Journey to Success," Badal said. "That includes looking beyond what our students are comfortable with."
Darin Namminga, chaplain at Jamestown College, had seen firsthand the lifestyle of the people of Kenya.
"They are a generous people happy with what they have," he said. "There is such a sense of community there where everyone looks out for each other."
More information about the program is available at www.villagehopecore.org .
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org