End of Semester 2 at the sewing class

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

International Day of the Girl Child

11 October is International Day of the  Girl Child.. One of the reason we exist is to ensure that girls are not disadvantaged socially and economically because of their gender. Whilst I am happy to celebrate the Girl Child, I really wish we didn’t need days like this.

The reason for this is articulated by the UN

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are part of a large and vibrant global generation poised to take on the future. Yet the ambition for gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights the preponderance of disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere on a daily basis. Only through explicit focus on collecting and analyzing girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data, and using these data to inform key policy and program decisions, can we adequately measure and understand the opportunities and challenges girls face, and identify and track progress towards solutions to their most pressing problems…..

sewing class
Girls from our sewing class showing off the skirts they made as part of their homework

We have been doing some work with adolescent girls in Itojo district SW Uganda. These girls are not in employment, education or training , the so called NEETS   and form part the 14 Million young people in Uganda that are without a job due to lack of skills. The life outcomes for such girls are well documented but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We have shared with you the outcome of our Skills Development program for these girls and they have been learning about fashion design and the results are amazing

girl
From left to right: Ovious, Evas and Evelyne.

As part their training, the girls are provided with fabric to experiment and design something. At the end of  the first semester the girls were able to design a full outfit. As you can see from the photograph above they are now proficient in dress making.

Our aim with this program is to ensure that girls acquire skills they can use to either create their own employment or seek employment elsewhere.

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

Menstrual Hygiene Management and the Girl Child

Access to hygienic menstrual absorbents has implications for the Girl child such as missing 2.6 days of school each month in the short term but in the long run this absenteeism may and does lead to girls dropping out of school altogether.

Our work on Menstrual Hygiene Management  in secondary schools in Ntungamo District in Uganda indicates that we have a long way to go to change outcomes for the Girl Child

NtungamoOn average:

  • 53% of the girls didn’t know what menstruation was before they experienced it
  • 61% of the girls have felt ashamed or embarrassed due to their periods
  • 42% of the girls miss days of school during their periods because they don’t have access to sanitary products
  • They miss 2.6 days of school a month which impacts negatively in their performance.
    Students change their sanitary products every 9 hours.

Ntungamo

Our team looked into how girls in Ntungamo secondary schools manage their periods and how they access to menstrual hygiene absorbents, and these are their findings;

  • 48% of the students feel bad or very bad during their MPs
  • 73% of the students use reusable pads but on average they change them every 9 hours which is not hygienic or healthy
  • 13% of the students use reusable sanitary pads at school and a cloth at home
  • 9.1% of the students use a cloth
  • 4.4% of the students use leaves, mattress stuffing, toilet paper or nothing at all

It is 2016 and the fact that this is still the situation in some of the schools means that we will need days like for sometime to come. But it does not have to be this way if we work together.

Help us make a difference by supporting our MHM work for as a little as £1.

  • £1 provides a girl one pod that include a napkin and a holder
  • £5 provides a girl a full kit
  • £10 provides two full kits
  • £20 provides 4 full kits

The pod and kits last for three years making this a cost effective way of managing periods. Please donate to our Sanitary Pads 4 Girls program today via our Virgin Money page

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/sanitarypads4girls

Meet the girls on Our sewing program

The first term at the sewing workshop has ended. During this term the students have learnt about, Sewing machine parts & functions, Treadling, Hand stitches, Seam sewing, Measurements, Cutting material and Garment construction – skirt, shirt & dress.

The progress made by the girls is so impressive that some have started taking in paid work. This is good news as it means the girls can pay for their own course materials.  They report being very happy with their tutor as well as the team spirit within the class.

Here are some of the girls taking part in this program

KOMUHANGI OVIOUS

Obvious

Age: 18

From: Kahunga (Ntungamo Municipality)

Lives with: Her parents

Siblings: 3 brothers & 4 sisters – She’s number 3

Education: complete Senior 4 in 2015 (O’lvel)

Future plans: Would like to continue sewing

When not in class: She takes the 4 family cows grazing on the hills

 

NWENSHABA EVELYN

Evelyn

Age: 22

From: Ngorogoro (Itojo)

Lives with: Her mother

Siblings: 3 brothers & 2 sisters – She’s number 5

Education: Senior 3 – Completed in 2014

Future plans: Would like to continue sewing

When not in class: She digs in the family’s farm – matooke (green bananas), beans and millet

 

KANSIIME DAPHINE

Daphine

 

Age: 18

From: Rwemihanga (Ruhanga Parish)

Lives with: Her parents

Siblings: 4 brothers – She’s the first born

Education: Primary 6 – Completed in 2014

Future plans: Would like to have her own sewing workshop

When not in class: She cooks at her mom’s restaurant Kikamorie (translation: Look Left and Eat) in Itojo town

 

NUWANSHABA PHIONAH

Phionah

Age: 18

From: Migorora (Ruhanga Parish)

Lives with: Her parents

Siblings: 3 brothers & 5 sisters – She’s number 3. She has a 2 year-old son, Jack.

Education: P7 – Completed in 2013

Future plans: Would like to continue sewing.

When not in class: She farms and cooks for the family

 

ARIHO RONAH

Rhonah

Age: 19

From: Ruhanga (Ruhanga Parish)

Lives with: Her auntie

Siblings: 3 brothers & 3 sisters – She’s the last born

Education: Senior 2 – Completed in 2013

Future plans: Would like to continue sewing.

When not in class: She digs in the family’s plantation – millet & beans

 

NAMARA RONAS

Ronas

Age: 15

From: Kakiizi (Ruhanga Parish)

Lives with: Her auntie

Siblings: 2 brothers & 3 sisters – She’s number 5 (one of her brothers lives with her)

Education: Primary 7 – Completed in 2015

Future plans: Would like to continue sewing.

When not in class: She takes her auntie’s 11 goats grazing

 

 

 

 

 

Not in Education or Employment -NEETS

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.

NEETS
2016 participants

NEETS

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.

If you would like to keep up with the progress of the girls, please sign up to our Newsletter or like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LetThemHelpthemselves/

 

The dairy goat project for widows

In 2015 we set out on a journey to establish types of interventions that improve the livelihoods of girls and women from rural villages in Itojo Sub-County, where Ruhanga parish is located.

As part of that strategy we have worked with  a local women’s group KAMINYA TUKORE to set up 29 Micro poultry farms under the SEND  A CHICKEN TO AN AFRICAN WOMAN program.

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

goat loan project
Widows from Ruhanga with Goat Program Manager Os Nyesiga

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.

Crossbreed program

On top of that, the whole community will also benefit from this program via a cross breeding program. .

goat
Toggenburg buck

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.

Menstrual Hygiene Management program is launched

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.

 

Menstrual Hygiene
Letricia, Maria, Agnes and Allen setting off for Kampala

Following the set up of the sewing room in Ruhanga our menstrual hygiene ambassadors set off for Kampala for a  two week residential course

menstrual hygiene management
Gerald Karuhanga, MP for Ntungamo Municipality and Ida Horner, LTHT Chairperson discussing with Diana Nampeera, Days for Girls country director the effectiveness of the washable sanitary pads]

I arrived in Kampala two weeks later  just in time for their graduation.

Menstrual hygiene
Agnes receives her certificate from MP Gerald Karuhanga

Our 17 year old Agnes was top of the class.

menstruation day
Graduation day

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

Menstrual Hygiene
Menstrual Hygiene Day launch

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.

Menstrual Hygiene Day
Mp Gerald Karuhanga launches LTHT’s Menstrual Hygiene program

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

Menstrual Hgyiene
Student from TEAM College shares her experience

 

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.

May 28 Menstruation day
Graduation Day

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

 

Menstruation matters
Men at launch day

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

Allen and Agnes working on sanitary pad kits
Allen and Agnes working on sanitary pad kits

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.

Menstrual hygiene
Finished wings

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

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/sanitarypads4girls

Managing Menstrual Hygiene in Ruhanga- setting up the sewing room

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.

Menstrual Hygiene Management
The sewing room

This is our new sewing room that will serve as a training room as well as centre of operations.

Menstrual Hygiene Management

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.

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Waiting for interviews

With the sewing room set up, an advert went out to invite girls not in education or employment to attend an assessment day.

From left to right: Allen, Marion and Apophia -
From left to right: Allen, Marion and Apophia –

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
Menstrual Hygiene Management

Agnes cutting out pattens

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Letricia and Agnes

Team work- Letricia and Agnes threading the finishing machine

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Letricia

Letricia was a late addition to the team. She has caught up. This is the first liner she made independently.

 

Finance lesson

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

Jenn Dutton
Jenn Dutton

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

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Greetings to Jenn

 

Who are the Ultra Poor?

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;

  1. the Ultra poor have no assets to generate their own income
  2. tend to be women
  3. engage in casual labour
  4. 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.

send a chicken- ultra poor
Gertrude Tumusiime- Chairperson KAMINYA TUKORE women’s group

We have called this initiative SEND  A CHICKEN TO AN AFRICAN WOMAN and work got under way after christmas with the women signing up to the terms of the project.

Ultra poor
Members of the KAMINYA TUKORE women’s group at the Send a Chicken inaugural meeting

A visit to Ruth’s farm

A key aspect of this initiative is, the women being accountable to each other through their leadership committee. Our role is to facilitate that process.

Shortly after members signed up to the project conditions, the committee visited Ruth to sign a supply agreement.

Ultra poverty
KAMINYA TUKORE committee signing supply contract with Ruth

 

send a chicken- ultra poor
KAMINYA TUKORE committee visit a chicken breeder’s farm

Ruth breeds chicks and sells them on.  On this visit, the women placed their order and learned about what poultry rearing.

Our in country team have their work cut out  but they are as excited as the women are.

Keep an eye on these pages for monthly updates.

If you would like to support our efforts please consider making a donation of £2.50 to our SEND A CHICKEN CAMPAIGN

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/sendachicken

Jenn Dutton takes on the London Marathon for LTHT

London Marathon
Jenn Dutton

My name is Jenn Dutton.  I am 23 years old and a full time nanny. I love to cook, bake and travel. On April 24th 2016, I will  be racing in one of the great British sporting events, the Virgin Money London Marathon  on behalf of LTHT.  The London Marathon is a gruelling 26 miles 385 yards long, passing through the streets of London from Blackheath to the famous finish line at The Mall.

Why am I doing the London Marathon?

I love to set myself challenges and believe that you must always push yourself and try new things. I really enjoy running and exploring new places with it.

I truly believe that LTHT is a fantastic charity and I would like to support the work that they do around Menstrual Hygiene for rural girls in Uganda . 

Rural girls in Uganda miss several days of school per year due to lack of sanitary towels. This, in turn, leads to many girls school results suffering and some girls even dropping out of school as a result. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can make a difference to such girls if we work together

I like the unique ways in which LTHT works to improve the daily lives and futures of the women in Ruhanga . This inspires me greatly to train my hardest and give the marathon my all.

I hope to raise a lot of money for this small charity so they can help the people of Ruhanga to help themselves.

Please support me by making a donation at

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JenniferDutton1

Every little helps

https://www.myfundraisingfilm.com/view/080c5507-2893-4941-9786-94ac7e34df95?utm_source=RenderComplete&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=myfundraisingfilm

Send a Chicken

We need your assistance to help women in rural Uganda increase their income from 40p to £1.75 a week. That’s just 25 p a day and half the price of a daily newspaper here in the UK but £1.75 is the amount of money a woman in Uganda needs to send three children to a government school, fight malnutrition and ensure that her family can access basic health care. It’s a life changing amount. It’s a difference you can choose to make.

LTHT believes in a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” approach and you can help make that difference by donating £2.50 to our “Send a Chicken” initiative. “Send a Chicken” to an African woman is a direct way of aiding women in rural Africa to become economically independent.

Your donation of £2.50 will buy a two-month old chick for an African woman and create a life changing experience for the recipient and her family.

If you can dig deeper, for £10 we can deliver two two-month-old chicks to a village woman, help them set up a pen for the chicks, provide chicken feed for three months as well as vaccines. After that your gift will be self sustaining generating much needed income for years to come and will help build a better nourished next generation of children.

Within two months the hens will start laying eggs and we will help the women find a route to market for the surplus eggs after her family’s nutritional needs have been met.

We ask you to support this initiative because

  1. Women in rural Uganda still do all the hard work for only 40p a week and simply can’t afford this type of investment. (For most women in rural Uganda £2.50 is over an entire month’s earnings.)
  2. This initiative will enable women to acquire a new skill.
  3. By closing skills gaps amongst rural women who have no assets to generate their own income we enable them to improve their income and livelihood
  4. Better skilled African women in rural areas have a chance of generating income to benefit the community as a whole
  5. 2.3 million Ugandan children are chronically malnourished, the eggs laid will provide essential proteins for growing children

Every Little helps –Make a difference today by donating £2.50

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Please note: 100% of your donation goes directly to the recipient. There are 0% deductions

If you would prefer you can also donate through Virgin Money Giving here

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