After weeks of preparation the goats finally arrived.
Keeping them on the truck was not an easy task
Before distribution all goats had to be tagged, deworm them, provide a preventative antibiotic treatment to ensure their adjustment to the new area and environment goes smoothly and trim their hoofs.
This is Lydia from Nyamuhani. Lydia is one of the widows that received a goat from the goat loan project. She is also one of the people looking after one of the bucks for the goat breeding program. Her female goat is mature enough and she was encouraged to keep her together with the male for a couple of days… We may have our first kid on the way pretty soon.
Jovannis is from Kakiizi. She’s got experience raising goats and currently has 2 female goats that she’s hoping they get on heat soon so she can take them to Alejandro one of the pure breed male our project manager is hosting
Kalanzi, the JOY goat development trainer, has taught Osbert how to handle the goats for the different treatments – especially hoof trimming and injecting them.
Following the goat distribution, there was further training about the care of goats as well as record keeping, in particular how often the goats mate as well as proper feeding.
It has been exciting day in Ruhanga. The goats arrived.
As well as the goat loan project for widows, we have a dairy goat crossbreeding program. This program will enable owners of local goats in Itojo Sub-County to crossbreed them with purse breeds to produce 50% diary goats which ensure owners can access milk..
This is Ronaldo. he is a 9 months old Saanen and he will spend the next year and half in the village Kytinda mating goats from Kytinda and Rwentojo
This is Force. He is a 10 month old Toggenburgh. He will spend 18 months in Nyamiko and will mate with goats in Nyamiko, Kibingo and Rwemihanga.
Alejandro is a 10 month Alpine buck. He will be looked after by Os the program manager and will mate with goats in Migorora, Nyamuhani, Ruhanga and Kakiizi
These are some of the 50% females that were distributed to the widows.
The goats had to dewormed and tagged and treated for stress due to change of environment
The program manager will visit each goat tomorrow and provide a multivitamin shot to ensure proper transition to the new area.
We will provide further updates in the next few days. Keep an eye on this space..
As part of their assignment during term one. The girls are pictured here in the skirts they’ve made this term. According to Maria, the girls are so happy and proud of their achievements.
Makline the teacher, deserves credit for taking the girls from zero sewing skills to where they are now. New friendships have been formed and the girls have grown in confidence
Credit to these girls for taking up this opportunity to learn a new skill. At the end of the course, they will have a choice to either start their own enterprise or work for someone else using the skills they have learned.
We would like to offer this opportunity to many more such girls in Itojo Sub-county. You can support our efforts by making a donation to our fundraising at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/skills4girls
The Diary goat projecthas kicked off in earnest. This week a trainer from Joy Goat Development arrived to provide training to the widows as well as those in the community who will benefit from the crossbreeding program.
Kalanzi Med, from JOY Goat Development, assessing the buck stations and providing guidance on how to build the feeding platform
Osbert -LTHT Project Manager and Joy Goat expert visiting Maria’s buck station. There is still a bit of work to do on her female goat house but now she’s got the knowledge how to finalise it properly
LTHT Project Manager explaining attendees about the type of fodder suitable to grow in our area which they can feed to their goats
Buck keeper training session – These guys are the role models of the cross breeding program. They will be responsible to keep our males healthy and active, identifying suitability of goats for mating and are empowered to turn down mating partners if they’re too young, too small or not healthy.
Buck keepers group photo in front of LTHT buck station + male kid collection pen.
In the next village, it was mostly women who turned up for training
These are the widows who are signed up to the goat project. They will receive a a female halfbreed kid to look after until it gives birth. The grown goat becomes the widow’s personal property and the kids are then passed on to another widow in the group
We anticipate that some of the kids will be male and this is where they will be looked after
It has not been easy getting here. Our Program Managers will share lessons learned in due course but one of the challenges we encountered was the fact that, some of the chicks turned out to be cocks. This reduced the number of eggs the women can expect.
Betice is the lady with most eggs so far, 75! She still has one cock with the hens but it seems he’s encouraging the ladies to lay consistently. She and her family are extremely excited.
Jane’s hens have just completed their first tray (30 eggs). Jane is one of the 9 ladies who still have 10 hens and she’s foreseeing a brighter future now that they’re all laying
Caroline is the only group member who opted for a free range system once the feed LTHT provided finished. She has 9 hens and so far they have laid 20 eggs.
Sylvia has 7 hens (2 cocks and 1 died). She’s got so far 18 eggs – in the picture only 13 – but the next day she got 5 eggs so she’s really happy that her hens even they are few they’re consistently laying.
I hope you can agree with me when I say that our Program Managers have done a fantastic job, in mobilising the women, training and getting them to this position.
The women have an opportunity to generate income from the sell of eggs and hopefully save enough money to restart the program without further intervention form LTHT
In 2014 nearly 69% of Uganda’s population was under years of age, and this has implications for unemployment and poverty amongst young people. The Uganda’s National Bureau of statics (UBOS) reports that amongst 18-30 year olds 57% are self employed, 24% work for some one, of those in employment 63% work in agriculture, 29% in the service industry whilst 8% are in manufacturing.
In addition, that unemployment amongst the youth in Kampala, Uganda’s capital stands at 15% and is three times higher than the national average and at least 14.1 Million young people in rural areas are unemployed due to lack of skills.
The situation in Ntungamo district where Itojo Sub County is located, is that 85% of the population is aged between 15-30 years and the incidence of unemployment amongst this age group is 90%. The young people from Itojo Sub County suffer from under employed mainly due to lack of skills. Amongst these youth are young girls not in education or employment.
Over the next two years of these girls will benefit from our Skills Development Initiative and in particular, the Free sewing lessons for girls not in education or employment. This is an annual course to enable girls to learn the basics of sewing and fashion design. The main objective is to give these girls an opportunity to gain skills that they can use to create their own employment or work for someone else and get a salary.
The reason we focus on girls is because we believe that the, lack income contributes to rural to urban migration and consequently to cross border migration for women and girls without skills the outcomes can be tragic as reported in several Ugandan papers earlier this year.
In our next intervention, we revisited an issue we had been working on since 2014- Menstrual Hygiene Management. Our objective under this program is to ensure that girls and women manage their periods in a hygienic way. This involves ensuring that girls and women have access to information about menstruation as well as access to clean and safe menstrual absorbents.
This program also provides employment for three local young women. It is our ambition to ensure that this program is accessible to girls and women across the district of Ntungamo
Widows and the goat loan project
Under this project we are working in collaboration with the NGO Joy Goat Development, to introduce a new breed of dairy goats into Ruhanga parish. The main beneficiaries of this program are widows, who will receive a 50% cross breed female dairy goat as a loan. They will be responsible to care for the goat until it produces the first kid.
Once the first births are weaned, the off springs will be returned to LTHT and the women at that point will be given sole ownership over the initial goat. This goat will then become an asset that the woman can use to generate income, support herself and her family through;
continuous sale of the goat’s offspring,
sale of goat’s milk
or improve the nutritional intake of their family if they opt for personal consumption.
Once the kids have been returned to LTHT, the female goats will be given to the next widow, while the male goats will be sold, using the profits to purchase more female goats so the cycle continues even if on-going sponsorship is unavailable.
On top of that, the whole community will also benefit from this program via a cross breeding program. .
Local female goats will mate with pure male dairy goats with a view to creating off-springs that can produce a meaningful amount of milk. This will improve the community’s nutritional intake radically.
We will spend the next few weeks getting the community ready for this program before the goats arrive, Keep an eye on this space for updates.
The aim of our Menstrual Hygiene Management program is to ensure that girls and women manage their monthly preiod in a hygienic way. This involves ensuring that girls and women have access to information about menstruation as well as access to clean and safe menstrual absorbents.
Following the set up of the sewing room in Ruhanga our menstrual hygiene ambassadors set off for Kampala for a two week residential course
I arrived in Kampala two weeks later just in time for their graduation.
Our 17 year old Agnes was top of the class.
The graduation was also attended by Gerald Karuhanga MP for Ntungamo district where our ambassadors hail from. In his speech, Karuhanga said that menstrual hygiene is an issue that is very close to his heart and promised to prioritise it during his 5 year term as an MP. He further promised to lobby government to remove import duty on fabrics used to make sanitary towels
International Menstruation Day
May 28 was Intenational Menstrual Hygiene Day and official launch our Menstrual Hygiene program across Ntungamo District. The event was attended by at least 160 including officers from the district as well as the municipality.
The initiative was launched by Karuhanga MP for Ntungamo who promised to work with LTHT to ensure the success of the program across the district
In February this year thirty nine girls from heard TEAM College received free sanitary packs as part of our trial. We heard from the girls and their Head Teacher on 28 May. They told us the pads had changed their lives whilst their Head Teacher reported reduced absenteeism.
We heard about the Menstrual Hygiene Ambassadors’ experience at the residential course in Kampala, which included participants from Kenya and Ghana and they too shared their experiences. We heard about gruesome practices such as girls being sewn up during their periods, not being allowed to milk cows and digging holes in the ground and using these as a means for managing periods etc
Where are the men in the conversation
As the event progressed it transpired that, hotel security were excluding men from the event on the assumption that this was a women only event. One of the men took exception to this and complained to us. He said
we are the ones that make decisions in the home and you are excluding us from the meeting
He had a point. A point that to goes to explain why in 2016 we still need an International Menstrual Hygiene Day. The fight for access to Menstrual Hygiene and sanitation should include men. We learned from our research that some of fathers believe that spending money on Menstrual Hygiene Management is a waste of money and that boys have a tendency to embarrass and shame girls during their periods
The Hard Work begins here
Now that the training is out of the way, work on producing sanitary towel kits for sell has started. And here are some of the completed products. I hope you are agree with me, when I say, they have done a fab job.
Can you help?
We have come a long way with this project and have set ourselves an ambitious goal of ensuring that every girl and woman in Ntungamo district can access sanitary pads at a reasonable cost.
Please consider supporting our efforts by making a donation via our VIRGIN PAGE
A week before celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day 2016, three young women from Itojo sub-county graduated from the Days for Girls University, a 2-week residential course to learn how to make washable sanitary pads and soap, become women’s reproductive health ambassadors and understand the basics to run an enterprise.
Gerald Karuhanga, the MP for Ntungamo Municipality who fully supports the exemption of taxes in women’s sanitary products, attended the graduation ceremony at the Days for Girls centre in Kamwokya, Kampala.
He would like to see a considerable reduction on girls ‘ school dropouts due to a lack of access to an affordable and sustainable alternative to reusable sanitary pads and would like Uganda to be an example to other African countries in their quest to provide girls and women tax-exempt sanitary products. o ignored
Let Them Help Themselves (LTHT), a UK based NGO which has recently opened a branch to operate in Uganda, has sponsored these three young ladies to attend the course and start up an enterprise to make washable sanitary pads in Ruhanga, Ntungamo.
LTHT is hosting an event at Jerusalem Tree Cottages in Ntungamo town next Saturday, May 28 coinciding with International Menstruation Day to bring together local politicians lead by Hon. Gerald Karahunga, men and women from all walks of life to talk about menstruation and the challenges girls and women face every month due to poor menstrual hygiene management infrastructure and lack of access to affordable sanitary products.
It will also be a great opportunity for the three graduates to introduce the washable sanitary pads to the community and promote women’s reproductive health among the attendees.
LTHT is hoping the event will be the trigger of a long journey to end with the existing taboo about periods and reproductive health in the rural areas of Western Uganda.
Menstruation is a normal biological process and a key sign of reproductive health, yet in many cultures it is treated as something negative, shameful or dirty. The continued silence around menstruation combined with limited access to information at home and in schools results in millions of women and girls having very little knowledge about what is happening to their bodies when they menstruate and how to deal with it (source: developmentbookshelf.com)
This statement is true of girls in Ruhanga. We are working to change this and our journey starts here.
This is our new sewing room that will serve as a training room as well as centre of operations.
The local machinist tweaks the sewing machines before the girls are let loose on them. This type of a machine is known as a locker and here the machinist sets it up to ensure that it works and that it is threaded correctly.
With the sewing room set up, an advert went out to invite girls not in education or employment to attend an assessment day.
These are three of teenage girls that were selected to become ambassadors of our menstrual hygiene program. They will be put through an intensive training program including a a two week residential course in Kampala.
With no time to waste, work got under way and here the girls are practising their sanitary pads making skills
Agnes cutting out pattens
Team work- Letricia and Agnes threading the finishing machine
Letricia was a late addition to the team. She has caught up. This is the first liner she made independently.
As well learning how to make sanitary pads, the girls are learning about managing money. These skills will be essential to the sustainability of the project. More about this in future posts
This journey has been made possible by Jenn who run the London Marathon in aid of Menstrual Hygiene Management. The money she raised has gone towards the setting up of the sewing room. Jenn completed the London Marathon in 5 Hours 6 minutes. You can still contribute to Jenn’s campaign at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JenniferDutton1