Starting together on a path to independent living

Kotido is a city in northern Uganda and one of the poorest in the country. Until a few years ago, the population consisted largely of Nomads who lived without permanent homes for economic reasons. This system caused the outbreak of civil war when the government banned the nomadic lifestyle about a decade ago. The region was severely battered and parts of the country lost a significant portion of their population. Currently, there are about 60,000 people living in the region. The majority of residents have been living in poverty forever and continue to struggle with the adjustment to a permanent place of residence.

 

Living conditions are hard and the climate yields one harvest per year at most. In some years, the lack of rain doesn’t even allow for that many. The crop cultivated is sorghum that is either mixed into pulp or, more frequently, fermented to make beer. Often, this beer is the sole source of nutrition for people, especially in times when food supplies are about to run out. Unemployment is an important subject as well. The labour market is particularly difficult for people who either have no education or are disadvantaged.

 

In spite of all that, the Mill Hill Brothers established a solid parish structure in the region and are very much engaged in bringing about change. The parish is the first place to go in case of illness, hunger or trouble. This is precisely the type of engagement we support.

 

In collaboration with Caritas Carinthia, we developed the idea of opening up a small bakery that produces and sells a basic local assortment under the Haas brand. Due to the solid structures of the Mill Hill Brothers Association and the trust enjoyed by the parish among the population, we are building a bakery in Kotido. The Haas Bakery produces baked goods sold at the on-site shop and supplies street vendors and schools.

 

14 young people receive training in the bakery and the shop, depending on interest and suitability on the part of the young apprentices. The bakery is headed by a manager who oversees production as well as the entire sales operation. A Master Baker receives training to run the oven and produce the goods, while also being responsible for the entire product range. The focus throughout is on quality control.

 

The Master Baker is aided by an additional baker who will be the lead of a future second shift. Helpers support the baker throughout the production process. There is a wide variety of jobs from heating the oven to processing the dough through to packaging the breads and cleaning the tools. The shop employs three sales people who are responsible for regular bread sales and operating a small in-house café.

 

The bakery receives financial and professional support from the partners in cooperation with Caritas.

 

“With this project we are creating jobs and opportunities to generate income, and providing places where young people can get job training. We have a unique opportunity to create professional prospects for young people who normally would not have any access to the labour market or only under very difficult circumstances. In the long term, this project contributes to a positive development in Kotido and reduces dependency on external support.”

Irene Kapaun, Haas Marketing Communication & Public Relations.

 

For further information, please contact Irene Kapaun: irene.kapaun@haas.com

 

Starting together on a path to independent living

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