Underserved Communities Struggles, Needs and How to Support them

Underserved communities are communities without adequate access or no access to required life resources.

The required life resources underserved communities lack could be one or many of:

  1. Education
  2. Healthcare
  3. Clean water
  4. Job opportunities
  5. Skill empowerment
  6. Good and affordable housing
  7. Electricity
  8. Food

An underserved community could be in rural areas or within major cities and towns.

What Qualifies as Underserved Communities?

Communities that lack all or some of the aforementioned resources qualify as underserved communities.

Refugee settlements, slums and communities on the margins are underserved areas.

Depending on the resources they lack, underserved communities will have one or more of:

  • Poverty
  • Unemployment
  • Disempowerment
  • Ignorance
  • Illiteracy
  • Bad roads
  • High mortality rate.

For instance, an educationally underserved area has high illiteracy, disempowerment, low income, and ignorance.

Some ignorance of educationally underserved Africa communities are:

  • Women don’t use contraceptives.
    • They believe contraceptives cause barrenness, and not for preventing any unwanted pregnancy.
  • Families during nationwide census don’t disclose their actual number of children because, to them, counting the number of parents’ children will lead to the children’s untimely death.
  • Many don’t collect free mosquito nets either from the government or NGOs, they believe they are deadly.
    • Mosquito net deadly?

Why are Communities Underserved?

The reason communities are underserved varies. It isn’t one size fits all.

Communities in desert where:

  • Farming is difficult or impossible
  • Shipped foods are expensive
  • Clean water is scarce
  • There are no subsidised means of obtaining food and water,

will become underserved experiencing hunger and drought.

Riverine areas bounded by a large body of water, afflicted by floods, and other climatic induced factors, will lack good housing.

Communities could also be underserved because of illiteracy, barbaric cultures, and ignorance.

Countries being poor is the reason the government can’t step in to provide or offer subsidised means for these communities to access what they lack, but Africa is a tad different.

Why are Some Africa Communities Underserved?

Underserved communities in Africa are a different scenario, as most Africa communities are underserved.

In Africa, few communities aren’t underserved.

The World Bank named Africans as the world’s poorest. In fact, all 10 of the world’s poorest countries are in Africa and its average GDP is the lowest among the 7 continents.

In a normal world, most African communities shouldn’t be underserved.

It’s a continent rich in mineral resources, crude oil, granite, diamonds, coltan, gold, uranium, bauxite, iron ore and other golden resources.

Likewise, it’s rich in natural resources, arable land, grassland, rainforest, adequate sun and has soils good for farming.

Many factors are contributing to why most Africa communities are underserved:

  1. Corrupt, greedy, oppressive, and incompetent leaders.
  2. Civil wars
  3. Barbaric culture and ignorance

Supporting Underserved Communities

Why Support Underserved Communities?

A community being underserved, lacking required life resources result in communities with:

  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Drug abuse
  • Violence
  • Poverty
  • Female child mutilation
  • Uneducation
  • Talent wastage
  • Crimes like thieving, raping, etc

Adults and young children from underserved areas are prone to many terrors.

  1. Teenage and child pregnancy

In underserved communities, teenage girls and small children from the ages of nine are getting married and/or giving birth.

How does it happen? In these scenarios:

  • Poor families marry off their little daughters for money. There is a case in Becheve village in Nigeria.
    • At Becheve village, parents are selling their young girls from the ages of 10 to rich old spouses. The rich men in return pay the parents’ outstanding debt they couldn’t afford to pay. Read about it here.
  • Young girls trying to feed themselves, get raped or willingly sleep with a man for money. Children as little as 9 fend for themselves in underserved communities.
    • We should help underserved communities to protect these little innocent girls and stop the cycles of teenage and child pregnancy in these areas.
  1. High mortality

Medically underserved areas have a high death rate because healthcare is too expensive or not available.

In underserved Africa communities, healthcare workers’ ratio to patients is alarming and ridiculous. Uganda doctor to patients and nurses to patients ratio are 1: 25000 and 1: 11000, respectively.

Also, Africans are too poor to afford hospital bills, hence they resort to herbs and leaves, and consult herbalists for treatment. These methods take a long time to work, fail and pose many risks.

  1. Lack of education

Education is a necessity. In a normal world, every person should attain primary and secondary education.

It holds the key to empowerment, removes ignorance and leads people out of poverty. An educated person is a liberated person. He can access opportunities and has hope.

In 2018, UNESCO recorded 244 million children between the ages of 6 to 18 out of school, with 40% from sub-Saharan Africa.

This is because:

  • Majority of underserved Africa communities don’t have schools.
  • In underserved communities with schools:
    • Pupils are receiving education in an unconducive environment. They are taking school classes under trees, in buildings without a roof, and walking several miles to reach the nearest school while also receiving substandard education.
    • People are too poor to afford education so they don’t enrol their children in school.
  1. Crime

Thieving, rape, drug abuse, violence and gang fights occur in poor underserved communities. From a small age, underserved communities exposed its residents to these crimes.

No life skills, no education and no job, hence they resort to crime to live.

More so, during the crime operations, they hurt, rape, kill and steal from innocent people. An underserved community is not safe for anyone.

You should Support underserved communities to:

  • Bring hope to people.
  • Stop teenagers and young children’s marriage and pregnancy.
  • Bring education to people and kill ignorance.
  • Stop rape
  • Reduce spread of diseases, untimely death and more.

Beyond all the hardships, there are more to underserved areas and its people. Here are some ways they are beating the odds:

  • Resilience and Adaptivity

The downs and challenges of underserved areas have helped them build resiliency and adaptivity in any difficult situation.

Such that, no matter how hard the circumstances are, they’ll strive to survive.

  • Creativity and Potentials.

Underserved people are creatives with gifted hands and brilliant potentials. They are smart innovators and with lots of potential. They are also intelligent.

  • Community engagement

Underserved communities have a communal sense of living. They live depending on, supporting and looking after one another. They live heavily invested in one another in a good way.

  • Cultural diversity and perspective

Living in underserved areas is exposing the people to different cultures, languages and ways of life. In refugee settlements, different people are living together. This way they relate and understand each other’s culture.

How to Support Underserved Communities

Start with knowing how you want to support. Do you want to from where you’re or do you want to visit the area and help?

Anyone you choose is possible. Supporting from where you’re means you help online.

How to Support Underserved Communities Online

Supporting underserved communities online is good.

It’s the best way to support underserved communities at far or near distances you can’t afford to visit. The way to do this is through nonprofit organisations.

Nonprofit organisations are establishments operating for social benefit of people, without motive for profit.

Nonprofits organisations focus on different life resources underserved communities lack, child education, starvation in Africa, clean water for all, poverty alleviation, skill empowerment and other life resources.

How to Support Underserved Areas Through Nonprofit Organisations

Nonprofits need money to support the underserved areas with their resources. Support nonprofits by:

How to Search for Nonprofit Organization Online

Search on search engines for nonprofits in the underserved area you want to help. Include the causes you want to support in your search.

Faces Up Uganda, we are a nonprofit organisation in Uganda rehabilitating and empowering young people from underserved areas using art as a catalyst.

We are empowering and rehabilitating young people from slums, refugee settlements and underserved areas in Uganda so they can break cycles of negative outcomes of underserved areas. See what we doour approach and read the stories of people we’ve helped.

Support us to continue breaking negative outcomes in underserved areas of Uganda, Africa by donating to us, or shop at our online store.

How to Support Underserved Communities in Person?

How to Help Underserved Areas Close to You in Person?

You can do this in two ways.

  1. You can support underserved areas on your own.

Supporting underserved areas on your own allows you to control how and when you want to help. It also doesn’t require long-term commitment, nor doing it consequently.

How to Support Underserved Areas on Your Own?
  • Look for underserved areas near you by searching online or talking to people.
  • Gather information about the area, by observing the area, talking to the residents and identify what they need.
    • Help. It could be something significant, like:
    • Asking your neighbours, friends for their old clothes, some food and donate it to the
    • area.
    • Raise funds in your community, church, or club for the community.
    • Teach them some skills and raise capital for them through fundraising.
    • Offer them free maths, English and other classes.
  1. Volunteer at nonprofit organisations or at an outreach.

Volunteering with nonprofit organisations requires long-term commitment

It gives you liberty to donate your expertise, helping them to manage their social media account and blog, build websites, and offer your medical expertise.

How to Support Far Underserved Areas in Person

Either as a group or solely on your own, if you’re seeking to support underserved far areas you aren’t familiar with. This guide will help.

  1. Identify the resources the underserved area lacks by speaking with community
    leaders and residents.
  2. Support the areas with the resources they lack.

A way to help is partnering with local nonprofits

Local nonprofits are familiar with the community needs and have solutions. Partnering with them will provide you with rare insights about society and how to help them.

Partnering with local nonprofits will make it easier to help the underserved area because you’re building on a foundation rather than starting from scratch.

What do Underserved Communities Need?

What an underserved community needs depends on its lack. However, here is a list of what
they’ll need:

  1. Skill empowerment and money to start
  2. Food
  3. Clothes
  4. House
  5. Education
    Enrol the underserved area children in school, pay their school fees, build schools,
    donate equipment and facilities to schools.
  6. Medical care
  7. Money
    • Organise free health talks, outreach, pay their hospital bills, build hospitals and donate hospital equipment.
  8. Clean water
  9. Electricity