Building Bridges and Overcoming Obstacles: Koshaba Racheal’s Work as a Change Agent
Koshaba Racheal (28) is a resident of Bwisa village with about 600 community members.
She says when she learnt of her appointment as a Change Agent she was thrilled beyond measure.
“In the beginning, it was difficult for me to believe it, I kept asking myself; why me? And how will I manage this role?” she recalls
However, she says she was hugely encouraged to learn about other Change Agents in nearby villages
“When we later met for training, I was relieved to hear that others were also experiencing similar doubts and insecurities. Luckily, the Change Agents were very friendly and supportive. Throughout the training, we learnt from trainers and from each other,” says Koshaba
Her biggest challenge is the working relationship with her village chairperson. According to Koshaba, the leader believes she is paid handsomely in her role as Change Agent. As a result, sometimes the leader becomes unresponsive to her requests because he doesn’t want to support someone who is paid while he isn’t financially benefiting from Koshaba’s successes.
There is also a challenge from villagers. She says many of them aren’t keen to attend meetings unless they are guaranteed to receive Bushera – a local millet porridge which turns alcohol when fermented.
Overall, she believes community members respect her and her ideas, irrespective of her age. She draws her confidence from other leadership roles she holds such as women group leader at her church.
Like other neighbouring villages, water is the biggest challenge at Bwisa village.
“In the whole village, we only have two wells. And they get dirty very quickly, especially during the rainy season. But when we wanted to protect them, authorities at the ward level said the wells don’t qualify for the ward fund because they don’t have enough water to warrant the protection. We disagreed with their assessment” says Koshaba
Koshaba and fellow community members have written an appeal letter to the community development officer. They are still waiting for the response.