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 period 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 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
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
Back in August 2015 we started on a journey to work with the women in Ruhanga SW Uganda on initiatives that would improve their incomes. By November we had settled on the idea of micro poultry farms for 29 women.
It has been an interesting journey so far that has seen women trained up in chicken feeding, coop building before being handed the chicks to look after on International Women’s Day
This is a typical chicken coop built from local materials. We provided wire mesh, nails doors and iron sheets and the women did the rest.
Each woman was given 70kg of quality feed for their chickens. This feed will cover the first three months. It is anticipated that the chicks will be let out for a couple of hours a day to supplement their diet with greens and insects. By the end of the three months the chickens should have started laying. The women will be able to afford the chicken feed themselves from the se hopefu
The chicks were very tired when they arrived from the breeder on International Women’s Day celebrations and needed vitamins. This is Maria distributing chicken Vitamins to the women.
Having worked on this from a distance, it was an absolute pleasure to be present at the launch by handing out chicks to women. I must say I was overwhelmed by the energy and atmosphere of the day.
Night Barayemura is one of the beneficiaries of this initiative. She’s 40 years old and has 7 beautiful children. As many others in the community, she’s a subsistence farmer and currently earns an average of £4 a month by selling some of her green bananas (matooke), beans and ground nuts (peanuts) around the village. Through this project, she’s hoping to provide a better diet for her family as they currently consume green vegetables twice a week and meat only on Christmas Day.
Following the distribution of the boxes, the carpenter was once again very busy making up 29 laying boxes. The boxes are very heavy and it was good see that men recognised this and stepped in to help their wives take the boxes home.
This program has benefited suppliers of services too
Denis (one in stripped polo shirt) is 32 years old and is married with three children. Currently, he has a team of 7 carpenters and apprentices who help him with different orders. They mostly build doors and seats. For the ‘Send a chicken to an African woman’ project, he built 15 feeders and 27 nest boxes. He reckons his profits were about 240,000 UGX, (£51.62) which he reinvested in materials for his workshop.
Ronald is 32 years old and is married with 3 children. He has benefited twice fold from the ‘Send a chicken to an African woman’ project. Some of the women asked him for help to build their chicken coops and LTHT contracted him to build 27 doors and 14 feeders. He hired two additional people to complete the job, at a rate of 10,000 UGX (£2.15) per day. He told us his net profit from the LTHT contract was 500,000 UGX (107.53), which he used to buy new materials for his business.
Ruth is 33 years old and has one daughter. Ruth is poultry and farmer and supplied 330 chicks to the project which meant increased income and a profit of UGX 1.3 (279.56). Ruth says that, the project has given her an opportunity to help her other women through sharing with them the knowledge about poultry keeping. This had always been her long time desire as she wants to see women work there way out of the poverty. In addition, the project has created awareness about her business thus expanding her clientele base.
In the next steps the women will learn about routes to market, book keeping and savings. If you would like to be updated as to the women’s progress sign up to our Newsletter or like our Facebook Page
There has been good progress with the chicken initiative. The local carpenters have been busy. The chicken coops are nearly done. Next on the agenda is coops inspections before the chickens arrive next month.
Drinkers and feeders ready to go. Feeders were hand made by Denis and Ronal our local carpenters
Participants in the chicken initiative collect their feeders and drinkers
Rovina and Linious excited to receive their feeders and drinkers… They told us they cannot wait for us to come and check their chicken coops
The Ultra Poor are defined as those people who live on less than 50 cents a day.
On 9 December 2015, the media here in the United Kingdom was preoccupied by the Ultra Poor. This is because of a report launched that day by the charity BRAC at a lecture hosted London School of Economics (LSE) . The lecture discussed BRAC’s approaches to tackling extreme poverty through programmes that target the Ultra Poor.
At the time of this lecture, we had just completed a home assessment exercise in Ruhanga. This involved visiting twenty nine households in the community. Amongst our findings, that some of those households earn as little as seven pence (7p) a day.
As I followed discussions about the Ultra Poor in the media, my thoughts turned to those households in Ruhanga. I wondered how they fitted into the narrative about ultra poverty. I asked whether labels such as “Ultra poor” are useful in helping us understand the causes and solutions to poverty?
I will probably never know the answers to these questions, but I agree with some of the findings;
the Ultra poor have no assets to generate their own income
tend to be women
engage in casual labour
and are poorly paid.
What are we doing about the Ultra Poor in Ruhanga?
Ruhanga is a rural community in SW Uganda. The incidence of poverty is high yet most lack assets and or the skills to increase their income. The question that faces us, is what sort of interventions are appropriate in addressing such poverty.
In order to address this question, we have teamed up with a local women’s group to with a view to addressing those challenges.
We have undertaken to work with the women to increase their income by £1.75 a week. We will achieve this by enabling participants to set up a poultry rearing business as well as acquire skills in Semi Intensive poultry rearing.