Ground has been broken for the construction of the Aliguma Foundation’s permanent home in Masindi District – 210 kilometres from the Ugandan Capital City of Kampala.
The ground-breaking ceremony happened earlier this week in the presence of Masindi District Local Government Engineer Sunday Joseph Atwooki, Confederation of African Football (CAF) Stadium Inspector Ivan Kintu Bayige, former Uganda Sports Press Association president Sabiiti Muwanga and Aliguma Foundation (AF) CEO Ritah Aliguma alongside Kinuma Village elders.
Known as the the Aliguma Foundation Sports & Empowerment Centre – under the tagline of ‘Changing Lives Through Sports & Enterprise’ the facility will be located on a 15-acre plot of land in Kinuma Village – Bigando Parish, Miirya Sub-County, just 10 kilometres from Masindi Town.
According to the foundation’s press release, the sports facility will comprise of two soccer fields; one main ground with a running track and covered stands, a side soccer training pitch plus a court apiece for tennis, basketball, netball and volleyball as well as a swimming pool. It will also have a different access road to the centre.
The sports facility will cover six acres of land while the rest will go to farming including a demonstration greenhouse for teaching and empowering purposes for the people of the area and beyond, poultry, piggery, rabbit-keeping, cottages for accommodation and administration blocks, some of which will be work stations for locals engaging in enterprise activities like; shoe making, bakery, reusable pads making, tailoring, house-keeping, child care, nutrition, phone repair, computer literacy, finance and business development among others.
For Aliguma, this milestone is a dream come true for the four-year old foundation and her journey has been inspired by her journalism background that exposed her to the plight facing vulnerable people in society.
“This is a dream come true for me and us as Aliguma Foundation,” patron of the foundation Ritah Aliguma said while addressing the full house of natives from Miirya Sub County that attended the ground breaking event.
“Since my earlier days as a journalist when I covered stories from areas with disadvantaged people and refugee areas, I used to dream about doing something like this. I don’t even know how much it will cost in the end but I am happy we have started,” Aliguma noted adding that they vow not to look back but
progress with works at a steady speed.
Among others, she also thanked the UEFA Foundation For Children who have funded the kickoff stages of the centre through the Sports for Resilience and Empowerment Project (SREP), and Joel Boutroe, the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Uganda, for supporting the foundation right from when he arrived in Uganda in 2019.
The engineers swung into action immediately with Atwooki leading his team of five to construct a new 800m road from the Kampala-Masindi Highway that shall connect to the centre’s main entrance.
Ugandan stadium inspector Bayige also circumnavigated the plot, helped open up the boundaries and picked the area suitable for the soccer pitches and other social amenities.
Kakiri-based farmer Faisal Sserwadda, on assignment after being recommended by the
foundation’s friends in the USA, also made a pick for where the farming will best be done and animal breeding structures will be erected.
Kinuma Village LC 1 Chairman Godfrey Isingoma after receiving two balls from Ritah Aliguma, as a sign of the foundation’s commitment to sports development in the area welcomed the initiative and pledged support.
“Kinuma will never be the same again. Your livelihoods are going to change forever. I urge you
to support Aliguma Foundation. I think you have already seen the good things that are bound to come if you offer your help and cooperation,” Isingoma told locals.
The ground breaking exercise that took two days was capped by a cake-cutting ceremony and the locals notably girls and women were delighted to welcome Aliguma Foundation to their area.
The task at hand for Aliguma Foundation is to make sure the project is a successful one and people can earn from their works by drafting user manuals, best practice briefs and articles, conduct research studies and project evaluation.