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Carmarthenshire and Kachumbala – building a better future
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, yesterday saw how a partnership between Carmarthenshire Construction Training Association Ltd (CCTAL) and a group of widows in Kachumbala, Uganda, is having a transformative effect on people’s lives both here in Wales and in Uganda.
As part of his visit to Uganda this week, the First Minister will lay the foundation stone at a new grinding mill and storage unit in Kachumbala which has been made possible thanks to CCTAL and its partners, Coleg Sir Gar, CITB and Carmarthenshire County Council, and Engineers for Overseas Development (EFOD) Carmarthenshire.
The mill and storage unit is run by Kachumbala Farmer’s Charity Group (KFCG), a cooperative of 30 widows which formed in 2011. The mill and storage unit will enable the group to process and sell the crops they grow on a commercial basis, allowing them to make a sustainable livelihood.
CCTAL held a fundraising dinner last year which raised £30,000 to fund the building of the mill and food storage facility. The project also received support through the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa Community Links Support Scheme.
The First Minister said:
"My visit to Uganda allows me to see first hand the transformative effect projects based here in Wales are having on the lives of people and communities in Uganda.
"This partnership between CCTAL and their partners and the Kachumbala cooperative is an excellent example of a project with mutual benefits to both Wales and Uganda. The project is enabling widows – many of whom would otherwise struggle to support themselves and their families – to make sustainable livelihoods, and teaching local people valuable construction skills. It is also giving Welsh engineers a once-in-a-lifetime volunteering opportunity, allowing them to develop key skills and make a real, first-hand contribution to international development."
CCTAL has supported local tradesmen, who have served their apprenticeships at Coleg Sir Gar, to travel from Wales to the site in pairs, working on the project for a fortnight at a time. They offer assistance with the operational management of the building site, oversee construction activity and pass on their technical skills to the local labour force.
As well as laying the foundation stone, the First Minister will meet the two Welsh apprentices who are currently on placement, Layton Davies and Owain Phillips, to learn about their experiences.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Owain Phillips, a 3rd year Carpentry Shared Apprentice employed by CCTAL, said:
"I lived in South Africa and Zimbabwe for the first 13 years of my life. I am looking forward to returning to Africa and to work with the people of Uganda. I am keen to pass on my carpentry and construction skills to the people I will be working with on the project."
Thomas Dakin, an experienced tradesman who has just returned from the project, said:
"My visit to Uganda was a life changing experience and I’m proud to have been a part of the project team in Kachumbala. The local people were friendly and hard working on site. I would like to return to Uganda and meet up with the friends that I made on the project."