Ruhiira, Uganda

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The Ruhiira cluster lies in southwestern Uganda and is 40km from the nearest city, Mbarara. It stretches out over several hundred square kilometers with extremely poor roads, making travel between the six villages and neighboring commercial centers very difficult.

The cluster sits in a highland region at altitudes ranging between 1350m and 1850m. The hillsides drain into the valleys creating a stream system. Ruhiira has a sub-humid climate receiving an average annual rainfall of about 1000 millimeters, and the main staple crop is banana.

Ruhiira and the neighboring area settlements were created after a sub-tropical forest reserve was cleared in the early 1950s. Today, only about 5% of the land is under tree cover. As a result there is a serious shortage of wood products. Women and children spend hours searching for firewood. In addition, high population density and continued growth rates have contributed to land shortages and degradation. The area is also well known for having the highest tuberculosis prevalence in southwestern Uganda.

More Highlights

  • Average maize yield has increased from 1.8 to 3.9 tons per hectare.
  • The number of children receiving a meal in primary schools shot up from 5% to 74%.
  • Ruhiira was the first site to launch the School 2 School program, using Internet technology to connect children in the cluster to children in a school in Connecticut, USA.
  • Institutional delivery has increased from 8% in 2006 to as high as 81% in 2011.
  • Malaria prevalence is approaching zero, from an initial level of 17%.
  • The Project registered a nearly fourfold increase in the proportion of people using an improved drinking water source.

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