Distributing building materials

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Our next send a chicken program is focused on the village of Rwentojo in Itojo sub-county. The participants are mostly widows or single women with children. As well as providing hands on training on farm management we have provided the basics for coop construction

These photos are from our materials distribution session. Each woman received 5 iron sheets, 2 and 1/2 kg of nails, 11 metres of wire mesh and 50,000 UGX (£11.81) to contribute towards the cost of labour.

Keep an eye on this page for the women’s journey.

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International Day of the Girl Child

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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

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Send a chicken Phase 2 gets under way

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Following the success of  the first round SEND A CHICKEN TO AN AFRICAN WOMAN we have  launched phase 2.

One of the lessons from phase 1 was that covering more than one village cell at a time was a strain on resources. For this reason, we are focusing on the village of Rwentojo. We will also have fewer participants and more chickens.

Selecting participants

Our Project Managers worked with the village Chairman on identifying and interviewing. His preselected group included women who are head of households in his village such as widows  as well as those who apparently cannot rely on their husbands either because they’re never around or are  alcoholics.

It was interesting to note that some women excluded themselves from the project because they felt they could not give it their full commitment, whilst some worried about being able to provide materials for constructing chicken coops.

Our Project Managers were surprised by some of the women’s reactions and had this to say,

For once, it was so refreshing in a way to realise that people are not just willing to take things for free just cause someone is offering them but instead they are already thinking of the challenges they may face. This shows: a higher level of commitment and willingness only to join if they believe they are capable of committing to the project and in this case taking good care of the chickens; that they’re not used to getting things for free; and that they do really need the help we will be providing them. 

In fact, one of them has told us we should leave her out as she spends most of her time digging (for others) and collecting fibres and grasses to weave baskets… We tried to convince her but she told us she would not forgive herself if any of her chickens died…It is a real shame as she could really use the help!

About some of the interviewees

Send A chicken

Jovlet, she’s a 46 year-old widow who works other people’s land to get an income. She has 6 children but 4 of them already dropped out of school as she could not afford to continue paying school fees for them.

Send a chicken 

Anna, she’s a 40 year old widow who has 3 children and makes her monthly income selling sugar canes in a small trading centre

send a chicken

Sylvia, a mother of 5 and one more on the way. She’s married but her husband spends most of the money he makes burning charcoal on alcohol especially a local gin called Waragi 

Send a chicken

Topista, a 50 year-old widow who lives with two of her grandchildren. She spends her days digging and collecting fibres and grass to weave baskets. She doesn’t think she will be able to join the project as she will not have enough time to take care of the chickens. 

send a chicken

Mariserina, a 40 year-old widow, who has 3 children one of whom is disabled. She is a coffee farmer and uses the income to pay her children’s fees. She is also a casual labourer on other people’s farms. 

Os, Annet and Chairman
Os (Program Manager)  Annett and Chairman David

Annett  is a 43 year old widow and mother of 4. She is a labourer and sues that income to pay her her children’s fees. She’s very proud that at least one of them has completed P7. Unfortunately, she cannot afford to send her child to a secondary school so she will be starting to work as a labourer like her in order to support the family. 

Rwentojo

The first training session on Poultry Farm Management and Housing took place on Monday.  some amongst the group were in for a shock. They arrived late for the meeting and fellow participants required them to pay a fine. The group has also decided to form a management committee that will coordinate their affairs. 

Phase 2 is now well and truly underway. Keep an eye on this space for updates

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Catching up with our buck-keepers

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In my last post the goats had arrived. Os our Program Manager caught up with the Buck-keepers and here is what he discovered.

Buck keeper

Maria is one of our buck-keepers has opted for a semi intensive approach for her goats. She takes them with her when she is working the land and brings them back in when she’s finished. They look extremely healthy and it seems the female may be pregnant… Well done, Maria!!

buck- kee

Lydia is the second buck keeper. She keeps her goats zero grazing, meaning that they do not go out to graze but the grasses and vegetation is brought to them in their penn. The male may need extra feeding but the female is doing great and may be pregnant too!

buck keeper

Jovannis, is our third buck keeper. She has required further training on the care of the buck to ensure that it is healthy.

Caring for the bucks is a big job and we are grateful to Maria, Lydia and Jovannis for the work they have put in this far.

I am excited about the first kids but we will not for sometime when we can expect them

Stay tuned

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Meet the girls on Our sewing program

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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Introducing Night Barema

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On this year’s International Women’s Day we launched the Send a Chicken program for 29 women and their families in Ruhanga. The program aimed to provide an asset to ultra poor women that they could use to generate an income and working  capital that they could reinvestment. One of those participants was Night Barema.

Night

Night spoke with one of our Program Managers and here is how they got on,

What is your name and how old are you?

 N: Barema Night and I am 58 years old

Are you married?

N: I am  a widow. My husband passed away 25 years ago

How many children have you got?

N: I have 6 children. They are all out of school. I live with my last born, Anita, who completed Primary 4 and then dropped out.  

night
Night and three of her children. From left to right: Anita (the last born), Mevis and Deivis

What is your level of education?

N:  I didn’t go to school. My father didn’t think educating daughters was important so only the boys were sent to school. Night thinks her father didn’t go to Heaven because of this. 

What was your life like growing up

N: I used to help the family in the gardens and raising animals. I was born in a village in Ntungamo sub-county and moved to Kakiizi when I was married off at the age of 16. I had my first child a year later. 

How did you hear about LTHT?

N: I belonged to Kakiizi post-test which is a group of women concerned about HIV and I found out about LTHT when they called us  for a meeting

Why did you join?

I wanted to be part of the chicken program because I thought it was an opportunity to learn something new and get additional income

What was your income before you joined the chicken program?

 N: I used to make 10,000-20,000 UGX  (£2.43- £4.87 per month)

How did you earn that income?

N: I had a sugar cane garden which I used to take care of and I sold the sugar canes by the road

What did you spend it on?

N:  I spent it on soap, salt, sugar, and other basic needs for the household

What are you currently earning?

N: I am now making 70,000 UGX  (£17.03 a month) from selling the eggs the chickens produce. I am no longer able to take care of the sugar cane garden so I have lost the income from selling sugar canes. 

What percentage of your income is from the selling of eggs?

N: 100%

What has this income allowed you to do that you were not able to do before?

N: I am now saving 9,000 UGX (£2.19) per month and I have bought a goat. I am reinvesting most of my income in buying high quality feeds for her chickens

Do you  consume some of the eggs?

N: No, I haven’t had a single one

Night with her goats
Night with her goats

Why did she buy a goat?

N: I bought a goat because they’re easy to raise and reproduce quite quickly

How do you hope to benefit from the goat program?

N: I would like to crossbreed my female with one of the dairy males so I can start drinking milk as I currently don’t 

What are your  aspirations?

N: I would like to have a more comfortable life, not having to work so hard anymore to cover my family needs. I would like to learn to write and read as I feel I missed  a great opportunity in the past. I would also love learning to speak a bit of English. 

 What do they hope for their children?

N: I hope my children have a better life than me: get a good paying job, have a healthy family and live comfortably.

What changes would you like to see in you country in your lifetime that would affect you or the girls/women that follow?

N: I would like some factories to come to the area to produce sugar from sugar cane or dry pineapples, so jobs would be created and farmers would have easy access to market. I would also like to see more people having access to water. 

 

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Menstrual Hygiene Management in Ntungamo secondary schools

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On 28 May 2016, we launched a Menstrual Hygiene Management program (MHM)  in Ntungamo district SW Uganda  with a view to ensuring that women and girls 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.

As part of the access to information aspect of  the program, our Program Manager and MHM Ambassadors  visited 12 secondary schools within Ntungamo district  SW Uganda over a course of 4 weeks. The team spoke with 1175 girls in all as well as some of their female teachers. Their findings are summarised below

sanitary towels

 

On 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 interviewed miss 2.6 days of school during their periods because they don’t have access to sanitary products 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.

These findings are challenging to say the least.  We cannot allow this situation to persist as it has direct implications for poverty.

We want to offer these girls  a hygienic and sustainable  way to manage their periods. We also want to ensure that girls do not miss school days  because of a lack of access to menstrual absorbents.  We however cannot do this without your help  and you can make a difference for as a little as £1.

  • £1 provides a girl one pod that includes 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

You can also donate via our paypal account


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The goats are here

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After weeks of preparation the goats finally arrived.

goats

Keeping them on the truck was not an easy task

Widows waiting for their goats
Widows waiting for their goats. Some of the widows are so elderly, they sent their sons to represent them.

 

deworming
deworming

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.

goat

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.

 

Maria
This is Maria from Migorora. Her daughter died right after delivering her baby girl so Maria used goat’s milk to feed her for almost a year. She’s now a beautiful young lady. Maria is the program’s strongest ambassador for this reason.

 

Jovanis

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 from Joy goat

Kalanzi, the JOY goat development trainer, has taught Osbert how to handle the goats for the different treatments – especially hoof trimming and injecting them.

 

follow up training session

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.

Keep an eye on this space for updates

 

 

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Diary Goat Crossbreeding Program

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It has been exciting day in Ruhanga. The goats arrived.

goat
Widows waiting to receive a goat

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..

goats

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

goat
Force

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.

goat
Alejandro

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

goats
crossbred females

These are some of the 50% females that were distributed to the widows.

goats

The goats had to dewormed and tagged and treated for stress due to change of environment

goats

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..

 

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Sewing classes : End of term one

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It is end of term at the Skills development initiative. The girls  Not in Education, Employment or Training are learning about fashion design and how to sew. At the end of term, the results are amazing

sewing
Maria and the girls

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.

sewing
Makline and the girls

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

sewing class

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

 

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