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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’re invited to rural southwest Uganda to help promote life opportunities for village children.
This project is primarily looking for volunteers who are TEFL or hold other teaching qualifications and who have experience with working with teenage students in both formal and informal settings. This project will also be suitable for other self-motivated individuals who can assist in the classroom and/or on a one to one tuition basis and/or in running after school clubs for the students and who are prepared to help establish the framework for this new project. Fundraisers to help the children’s physical surrounding are also more than welcomed!
Team College is one of two secondary schools in the village of Ruhanga with the other school, Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, being government aided. Being government aided does not mean free education as significant fees and charges apply, putting secondary school education out of the financial reach of many families. As such, many school children drop out of education at the end their primary schooling severely impacting on their long-term life opportunities.
Team College was established by the former headmaster at Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School to cater specifically for brighter children who would otherwise be squeezed out of education due to these high fees. A not-for-profit school, Team College offers education from Secondary 1 to Secondary 4, when O-levels are taken before the students either progress to A levels or take the vocational training route which is preferred by many given the lack of formal jobs in the Ugandan economy.
The school is few in number partly because it has an educational standards admissions policy but also because its physical resources are limited which is off-putting to some families despite the school’s actual education attainment being held in high regard locally.
Given the not-for-profit fees it charges (which basically only cover essential costs such as paying the teachers) without third party assistance, the physicality of the school is unlikely to improve significantly. This is especially evident in one classroom where one of the walls has collapsed and in the limited boarding provision where students have to sleep on the floor rather than in beds.
This is a new volunteer project that follows a process of consultation with students at the school to identify (a) whether the input from volunteers with different cultures and backgrounds would be beneficial to the overall learning process and, if so, (b) what specifically would students want from volunteers.
The students were keen to welcome volunteers to their school to not only run workshops around such topics as cultural differences, English language development and careers advice as well as computer and internet skills, they were also anxious for volunteers to help with the physical conditions of the school and would welcome working with others to establish a community based library accessible to all students in the village to cater for reading for pleasure as well as reference books for course work.
Click on the sign up button below to find out more about this project:
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
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.)
This initiative will enable women to acquire a new skill.
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
Better skilled African women in rural areas have a chance of generating income to benefit the community as a whole
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