What does RACE do and why was it started?
(RACE Real Action For Community Empowerment ) is nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rural communities, skills and mindsets conducive to self-reliance. We don't do the work for them or give them any material aid. Instead, we engage them in activities that build the skills and attitudes required to overcome the challenges they face. The aim of our work is a lasting march toward progress within these communities that will continue long after we have disengaged.
Why Empower Communities?
Take the word "poverty" for example. In the assistance industry (helpers of development), we often see ourselves as soldiers in the so-called war against poverty. Poverty is what we want to defeat. But what is the opposite of poverty? Wealth. Somehow we do not like to admit we are "soldiers in the war in favour of wealth." Why? Because while poverty and wealth are technically opposite, there are many assumptions, emotions and hidden values that are attached to both those words, and those are conveyed along with their overt meanings. Somehow it is morally OK to help poor people, but we do not always like to keep in our conscious thoughts that we are helping them to obtain wealth.
Why Choose a Community to Empower?
If the purpose of community mobilization is to increase its power, wealth and capacity, why would you choose to mobilize one community and not another?
The world is not a fair place. There is inequality. There is strife. There is inhumanity towards mankind, by humans. Life is not fair. We need some purpose in life. Trying to set right the wrongs of the world; trying to help poor people to become independent and escape from their poverty, are among such purposes. Simply trying to become rich ourselves is the main purpose of some people, but it is a very shallow and unfulfilling purpose (the richer that people get, the more wealth they want; there is no satisfaction). There is no evidence, or even hope, that the world will become fair, that poverty will be eliminated. Yet the striving for it is a purpose that has its own rewards.
So we could spend our energy in trying to mobilize and empower a rich or relatively wealthy community, but that has less purpose than trying to help a poor community become stronger. The methods that are explained in this web site can be applied to rich or poor communities.
What are basic skills, habits and mindsets, and why are they so important?
Basic skills include a capacity for problem solving and the ability to evaluate approaches through critical thinking. Even with these skills, problems can only be approached with the proper mindsets. Self-confidence, the capacity for a sense of accomplishment, and intellectual engagement are necessary for progress. Without these basic tools and attitudes, communities collectively become trapped in an "I can't" mentality. If people don't believe in themselves, they can't make any steps toward their own success and happiness; they can only rely on others to dictate the priorities and objectives they should be deciding on their own.
What distinguishes RACE from other nonprofit organizations?
Our approach to development sets RACE apart from many other nonprofit organizations. Many organizations go into communities and say things like, "Here's your problem: You are spending all your time producing the wrong crop and can't earn enough money in today's market to buy everything you need. Here's how you can solve that." RACE feels that we shouldn't be dictating to people. Instead we give them training and resources and get them thinking about how to improve their lives. What we want to do is empower communities to be able to sustain themselves.
What are your criteria for selecting the communities you help?
Together with local partner organizations, we target communities that are semi-traditional., we also work with deprived communities because those who are fighting for their basic existence do not have the energy to address long-term strategic problems.
What resources do these communities need?
In order to thrive socially, spiritually and economically, our target communities need access to a number of tools and resources, both tangible and intangible. Among the most prominent are the skills and mindsets necessary to evaluate and execute new strategies.
- The lack of safe and clean water facilities is a serious challenge to most rural communities in the regions that we work in.
- The lack of access to information about economic opportunities, is also a major detriment, as are external obstacles such as lack of energy and limited access to business-building capital and markets to sell products.
- Strong mentors who can serve as role models to build confidence are also necessary.
Why do you work with rural communities Uganda?
Contemporary development thinking focus on poverty reduction as much as economic growth, as reflected by the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals. According the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development, at least 70 percent of the world's extremely poor people - those living on the equivalent of less than US$1.25 a day - reside in rural areas of countries like Uganda.
What progress have you seen in these communities as a result of your work?
Our work has yielded comprehensive results. Among Vulnerable people (especially the children), entrepreneurs in most communities of uganda, we have seen better management of resources, more sustainable business practices, and higher incomes. Dialogue between previously isolated communities has been opened thanks to the creation of online social networks operating through e-mail, chat rooms and Skype. The quality of education has also risen, health facilities have been boasted because the continuous dialogues that we have with district and community health adminstrators.
How can I volunteer?
We have a number of open positions for people willing to devote their time and experience to our cause. and welcome any institution or individuals that are willing to offer volunteering services.
How can I contribute financially?
We are always grateful for the contributions of donors, the donations go directly toward helping communities in need. You can make a donation through our PayPal A/C, check or cash.