Goat Project : updates and news

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It has been while since our last updates on the goat project. I reported that we had, had our very first baby goats and I am back with even more news.

 

 

 

New Kids on the block : As you will see from the photos above, we now have 7 kids (3 females & 4 males)  as the goats started delivering in December. The icing on the cake thus far, is the birth last month of female twin kids by Maria’s goat.   We do need more female kids as these are the ones we pass on to widows waiting in the queue for a goat of their own. The new round of distribution will be in July when the new borns  are six months old. The selected widows have started work on goat shelters. 

 

Milk production:  Most of the women whose goats have delivered have access to at least 1 pint of milk every day. But some  are not milking their goats at all such as Merida whose goat gave birth during the dry season and Maria whose goat had twins.  

Crossbreeding program 

goat
Alejandro

The other part of our program is crossbreeding. Through this program, everyone in the district is able to crossbreed their local goats with the three 100% pure diary bucks. The aim of this program is to create a new breed of goats. 

The bucks have been busy,

  • Alejandro has four offsprings (3 females and 1 male) and mated 3 new females in February.  The community is super impressed with the offsprings  and have started spreading the word about the program in the nearby villages of  Migorora, Kakiizi and Nyamuhani.
  • Force has mated 2 females so far and  has  2 offsprings which are males. 
  • Ronaldo has mated 2 females so far and has 1 offspring which is a female. 

A word from our program manager 

The widows are extremely happy with the program and have shared this with the local leaders as well as those in the community that are not yet part of this program

The women who have milk have different opinions: Lydia is enjoying it very much, Vairot says it is ok and Jovannis says it tastes different to the one from cows but is still drinking it. 

Take up of the crossbreeding loan is still low in the villages of Rwentojo and Kytinda where Force and Ronaldo live. It would appear the communities there are not aware of the program we therefore need to run a program campaign

The kids are developing well with the exception of the male from Merida’s goat – it’s a 25% male which didn’t seem to get enough milk at the beginning of its life.

It seems half of the widows take their goats with them to the gardens so they’re on a semi-free range systems.  Although  the 50% goats can live like a local goat but it’s better to keep them in a zero grazing environment if possible to maximise the amount of milk they produce.

We are all looking forward to the day when more families can readily access milk as part of their diet. 

For regular updates about this and our other programs, please keep an eye on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LetThemHelpthemselves/

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International Women’s Day, Hashtags and Ultra poor women

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It is International Women’s Day today and the question I am preoccupied with today is whether such days help ultra poor women in any meaningful ways. In the current times of hashtags the International Women’s Day has its own hashtag #IWD2017 or if you prefer #IWD17. 

But are hashtags enough to effect the sort of change ultra poor women are looking for? Do such women get to see hashtags and social media memes? 

Ultra poor women are said to 

  1. have no assets to generate their own income
  2. engage in casual labour
  3. and are poorly paid.

As far we are concerned here at LTHT, hashtags are not enough and International Women’s Day should mean more and be inclusive.

We have over the last year and half focused on providing ultra poor women with assess to generate their income.  We believe that

decent work is central to women’s #economicempowerment given its inherent importance to women’s well being and ability to advance in areas such as acquiring income and assets – ODI”

international women's day
Night with her goats

This has had an impact in the lives of women such as Night  Barema who have managed to increase their income from £2.43 to £17 a month. You can read about Night’s story here 

International women's day
Agnes- menstrual hygiene ambassador

Today, women and girls in rural Uganda cannot access information and materials to manage their menstruation. It is International women’s Day 2017 and yet some school girls still use leaves during their periods, miss 2.6 days of school each month and women use rags. To that end we launched a menstrual hygiene program last year to change this but we still have a long way to go. 

You can read about our program at http://www.lethemhelpthemselves.org/index.php/menstrual-hygiene-management-in-ntungamo-secondary-schools/

international women's day
Lydia

Widows and older women in rural Uganda are vulnerable to poor diet as they are almost always the last to eat. We started a goat program that provides an income generating asset to such women and gives them access to milk in their diet. 

As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, we should reconsider where and on what we focus on as hashtags will not help ultra poor women. This day should also be about equality for women regardless of their social and economic standing. We can make a real difference in those women’s lives with very little input. 

 

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Ruhanga Bursary Project

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The first term of 2017 in Uganda sees the launch of the Ruhanga Bursary Project, a locally managed project that aims to assist young people in Ruhanga whose families are in short term financial distress which can lead to their children having to leave school often for extended periods until the charges can be paid, perhaps following a harvest, sometimes to a point where no catch up can be achieved requiring a further year’s education which is beyond the means of many already struggling families.

It would perhaps be useful to note that families in Ruhanga are nearly all self-employed and have no access to loan facilities to pay for education as they are neither salaried nor have equity in their homes.

As such, fees and school charges have to be paid for in cash and this places an enormous burden on already struggling families who have little or no capacity to save money after paying for daily living expenses.

That many do is remarkable but many face regular setbacks from periods of low earning due to ill-health, or, as recently in the village, when freak storms damaged crops leaving nothing to sell at market.

Piloting at Team College in the village, and funded by LTHT, the project aims to make funding available to ensure no child is forced to abandon their education due to short term financial difficulty.

The project provides loans to the school to cover the required charges until the family is in a position to repay the funds. This way the school ends the term with all charges received, the parents end the term with all charges paid and the young person ends the term with a full term’s education better equipping them to maximise life’s opportunities.

You can help by donating through this fundraising page:

It really is the gift that keeps on giving as the donation will help a child remain at school, then once repaid to the Bursary Project, the money can help another child etc.

Make a difference today :)

For volunteering opportunities at Team College in Ruhanga visit their website here: volunteer-uganda.org

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Our first baby goats

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On 21 August 2016 we took delivery of 18 dairy goats for our Widows loan goat and crossbreeding programs. What we didn’t know at the time, was that some amongst the goats were pregnant and we now have our first baby goats 

This is the female baby goat and her mother

 

This is the Male baby goat

Oe of the aims of dairy goats program was to enable women to access milk as part of their diet and the  good news is that the widows whose goats have kids are getting 1 to 2 cups of milk per day for their own consumption.

baby goats

We have had some bad  news too.  One of  the 50% male goats we bought for the cross breeding program died.  He was housed with one of the female goats who was already pregnant. We suspect that he tried to mate with her and because she was not on heat (due being pregnant already) she fought him and injured him with her horns.  This resulted in an eye infection that spread to both eyes and unfortunately, after treating him with antibiotics, he didn’t respond well and died.

baby goat

The program is now under way and we are expecting 3 more baby goats next month so keep an eye on this space for updates.

baby goat

I caught up with some of the women that are part of the program last month. It was interesting to hear about their experiences of caring for the goats and how excited they are the prospect of having access to goat milk. 

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End of Semester 2 at the sewing class

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On 14 December Paige and I finally got to  meet that are part of our Skills Development Initiative in person.  It was end of semester 2 and we were in for a treat. The girls had to make something to wear for our visit as part of their end of semester 2 exams. 

Group Photo- as the girls show off their creations

We were treated to a fashion show too.. this was such a fun afternoon . The girls told us what it means to them to be part of this program as well as their aspirations. It was interesting to note, that most would like to go into business as teachers so they can pass on the skills they have learned to other.  girls like them.  

 


Ovious- I am impressed with what I have achieved here. I was in the village with no prospects nor future to look forward to. I had no skills and my parents had no money to fund further education or training for me. I dream of owning my own sewing school
Daphne- I had no skills and I never imagined I would ever sew anything let alone on a sewing machine. I would like to teach others who to sew a business
Rona- I am an orphan and had no skills or money to continue my education. I am happy that I can now use a sewing machine to sew. I will work hard and hope to get a job as a sewing teacher
Phionah- I ham happy to be part of this program. I would like to use my new skills to make clothes for children
Evelyn- I didn’t complete my O’levels and was not sure what the future would be like. I am happy to have been included in this project as well the sanitary pads projects
Ronas- I am  happy to be part of this program. I am especially happy that I can make my own dresses. I would like to get a job as a seamstress or teacher
Evas- (head Girl) – I am now competent in the use of a sewing machine and can make clothing for others. I would like to see this program scaled so that other girls in the community can access it.
Paige looking through Evelyn’s project work book. Impressive progress

 

Evelyn’s work- Evelyn has done so well that is now employed on our menstrual hygiene project 

 

Maclean- Teacher- She is to be congratulated for the work she has done with these girls in such a short space of time.  The girls’ achievements are a credit to her.

The girls have one more semester to go before they out and  out those skills to work.  Keep an eye on this space and we will keep you posted as to their progress. 

If you would like to support these girls get started on their new journey once they graduate please consider making a donation at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/skills4girls

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Year End at Team College

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The school term at Team College ended on 14th December 2016 and there was a lot to celebrate this year.

Windows on newly refurbished classrooms at Team College

For instance,  the school’s students’ successes over the past academic year and mark the undertaking of a major infrastructure improvement programme to the school.

MP. Gerald Karuhanga

Attended by students, former students, local officials and a wide cross section of the community, the keynote speaker was local MP Mr Gerald Karuhanga who gave a well received speech stressing the importance of education to the future development of the local community and Uganda.

Head Teacher- George Karamira, Paige Kilroy, Ida Horner and MP Gerald Karuhanga

The improvements to the school, which include refurbishing the classrooms, new doors and windows and upgrades to the sanitary facilities, were funded by the charity and long term supporter of the school LTHT, whose chairperson, Ida Horner, attended the event together with trustee Paige Kilroy, and presented awards to students celebrating their achievements over the past year.

Ida Horner- handing ut prizes to Students

Headmaster of Team College, Karamira George, hosted the event which was considered a great success by all those who attended.

End of year lunch
Classroom at Team College

The new academic year starts next month and we hope that the improvements will attract more students to the college.

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Rwentojo chicken program: The chickens are here

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Following the inspection of chicken coops, it was time to bring the chicks home to Rwentojo.

send a chicken

This is always an exciting time. The chicks are two months old and at this  age it is easy for anyone without prior experience of poultry farming to look after them. 

For this round of the program, we reduced the number of participants and increased the number of chicks per participant.

The village Chairman  was part of the house to house assessments  to introduce us. He did a preselection of the women who are head of households in his village – most of them are widows but there are some who apparently cannot rely on their husbands either because they’re never around or they’re alcoholics.

 

We are keen on investing in women in this part of the country as most  have no  assets that would enable them to generate income. 

Rwentojo

The next steps will involve monitoring the farms to ensure that the women are looking after the chicks properly as this has implications for how well develop into hens.

The women will receive training on how to vaccinate the chicks, book keeping and marketing. 

Watch this space for updates in the New Year. 

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Team College renovation: an Update

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In my last post I told you about  Team College and what we are doing to renovate and upgrade the school buildings as well as improve sanitation. 

Rural schools such as these suffer from a lack of funding compared to urban schools. This then has implications for the quality of teachers such schools can attract and as such the quality of education pupils can expect. 

We are pleased to be in position to change things for this school and as you can see from the photos below, a lot has happened in the past few days. 
delivery-of-sand

The truck arrives with building materials
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Stones for construction of the veranda
upgrading-the-class

Work starts on the interior of the classrooms.  The builders and suppliers of building materials are secondary beneficiaries of this project, 

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Not wanting to be left behind, girls from the college get stuck in the preparations to seal the floor

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Rendering of outside walls. This being a rainy season the progress on this is surprising to say the least. 

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And here is the finished article

 

Team College management committee and James Chairperson 2 Ruhanga parish visit to the building site. 
Team College

With the rendering of the outside walls nearly done, work started on installing window frames. It will be such a treat for students to have dry classrooms during the rainy season. 

renovation
Team College

This is where we are now friends, keep an eye on this page for more updates.

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Team College improvement program

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Team College School is a rural community education initiative. It is a registered Community Based Organization (CBO) with Ntungamo District and operates in Nyamuhani cell, Ruhanga parish, Itojo Sub County, Ruhaama County, Ntungamo District – South Western Uganda.

The school opened its doors to the public on 2 February 2009 and the objective is to offer post primary Educational services to rural youth aged 13 -19 years who would otherwise not afford to access such education due to prohibitive costs.

Team College

Team College is unique in the area in that it strives to accept children who may not be the most educationally gifted but those who have evidenced a willingness to learn and come from families where the cost of secondary education elsewhere is not an option. Whilst Team College has a good reputation amongst its students, its current physical condition does impact on its ability to deliver a good quality education.

The physical environment of the school is very poor and this has implications for learning. Currently, the buildings have got neither doors nor windows, this means that rain ingress is a regular occurrence. The walls are not plastered and the floors are not sealed. This means that on a rainy day students are learning in a muddy and dirty environment.

Floors not sealed
Floors not sealed

Also bugs like fleas, jiggers and ticks, which are common in the area have direct access to the classrooms exposing students to all sort of diseases.

No windows Moreover, during the rainy seasons (March to May and September to November) mold on walls and floors is common as they do not dry up quick enough and this causes respiratory infections in both students and teachers. This situation means that the school is unable to attract good quality teachers and this has serious implications for the students and their education results.

Team College
Classroom

 Our next initiative will involve focus on the installation of doors and windows, plastering of walls as well as sealing the floors. The anticipated outcome is that an improved physical environment will provide a better learning environment for the students and will make it more attractive to young people and their parents resulting in higher student numbers, thus more income, thus greater ability to attract and retain a better- standard of teachers.

Team College

The school boarding facilities are reduced to a room with no windows or doors for the boys, and a nearby house for the girls. The boys that currently board sleep on the floor and the girls have to share beds in the house they stay in. Boarding provides pupils an opportunity to focus on their studies away from the pressures of the home environment but when dormitories are not properly set up, living conditions can lead to distractions and eventually school failure.

Team College

Sanitation at Team College

39 girls from Team College participated in LTHT’S Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Program. Although, there is a high level of satisfaction among the students using the DFG sanitary pads we distributed earlier in the year, the lack of proper washing facilities at the school meant that their basic hygiene needs are not yet fully met. The current girls’ latrine is full and doesn’t provide enough space for the girls to wash and dry their pads we will therefore provide a separate washing facilities for boys and girls as part of this project. 

Water is extremely important in managing and maintaining hygiene. Currently the school has no running water  we will therefore install a rain harvest system to enable the school increase its hygiene levels. It is well documented that poor sanitation leads to increased incidences of diseases, which directly affects students’ performance and school results.

Keep an eye on this space for updates

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Update on the Rwentojo chicken program

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As we count down to the distribution day our Program Managers have been busy getting the women in Rwentojo ready. There have been several training sessions, coop construction and inspection and a lots of laughter along the way. Here are some pics from those activities. 

chicken

In this session, the women learned about chicken feeding and farm management, in particular the importance of keeping the coops clean and dry

carpenter at work
Our local carpenter has been very busy. he has had to measure the coops and make up doors for each one from scratch  

chicken coop door

Following the training session, the doors to the chicken coops were distributed

chicken

Here is one of the finished chicken coops.. I bet they had fun putting this together.


Under a semi intensive poultry farming system, water is an important aspect in the care of the chickens, so drinkers are part of the equipment the women need on their farms

send a chicken

We expect that it will be 5 months before the hens start laying eggs and as such the women will not have sufficient income to feed the chicks before then. We have therefore included three months’ chickenfeed.

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