Ruhanga Bursary Project

The first term of 2017 in Uganda sees the launch of the Ruhanga Bursary Project, a locally managed project that aims to assist young people in Ruhanga whose families are in short term financial distress which can lead to their children having to leave school often for extended periods until the charges can be paid, perhaps following a harvest, sometimes to a point where no catch up can be achieved requiring a further year’s education which is beyond the means of many already struggling families.

It would perhaps be useful to note that families in Ruhanga are nearly all self-employed and have no access to loan facilities to pay for education as they are neither salaried nor have equity in their homes.

As such, fees and school charges have to be paid for in cash and this places an enormous burden on already struggling families who have little or no capacity to save money after paying for daily living expenses.

That many do is remarkable but many face regular setbacks from periods of low earning due to ill-health, or, as recently in the village, when freak storms damaged crops leaving nothing to sell at market.

Piloting at Team College in the village, and funded by LTHT, the project aims to make funding available to ensure no child is forced to abandon their education due to short term financial difficulty.

The project provides loans to the school to cover the required charges until the family is in a position to repay the funds. This way the school ends the term with all charges received, the parents end the term with all charges paid and the young person ends the term with a full term’s education better equipping them to maximise life’s opportunities.

You can help by donating through this fundraising page:

It really is the gift that keeps on giving as the donation will help a child remain at school, then once repaid to the Bursary Project, the money can help another child etc.

Make a difference today :)

For volunteering opportunities at Team College in Ruhanga visit their website here: volunteer-uganda.org

Our first baby goats

On 21 August 2016 we took delivery of 18 dairy goats for our Widows loan goat and crossbreeding programs. What we didn’t know at the time, was that some amongst the goats were pregnant and we now have our first baby goats 

This is the female baby goat and her mother

 

This is the Male baby goat

Oe of the aims of dairy goats program was to enable women to access milk as part of their diet and the  good news is that the widows whose goats have kids are getting 1 to 2 cups of milk per day for their own consumption.

baby goats

We have had some bad  news too.  One of  the 50% male goats we bought for the cross breeding program died.  He was housed with one of the female goats who was already pregnant. We suspect that he tried to mate with her and because she was not on heat (due being pregnant already) she fought him and injured him with her horns.  This resulted in an eye infection that spread to both eyes and unfortunately, after treating him with antibiotics, he didn’t respond well and died.

baby goat

The program is now under way and we are expecting 3 more baby goats next month so keep an eye on this space for updates.

baby goat

I caught up with some of the women that are part of the program last month. It was interesting to hear about their experiences of caring for the goats and how excited they are the prospect of having access to goat milk. 

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

Year End at Team College

The school term at Team College ended on 14th December 2016 and there was a lot to celebrate this year.

Windows on newly refurbished classrooms at Team College

For instance,  the school’s students’ successes over the past academic year and mark the undertaking of a major infrastructure improvement programme to the school.

MP. Gerald Karuhanga

Attended by students, former students, local officials and a wide cross section of the community, the keynote speaker was local MP Mr Gerald Karuhanga who gave a well received speech stressing the importance of education to the future development of the local community and Uganda.

Head Teacher- George Karamira, Paige Kilroy, Ida Horner and MP Gerald Karuhanga

The improvements to the school, which include refurbishing the classrooms, new doors and windows and upgrades to the sanitary facilities, were funded by the charity and long term supporter of the school LTHT, whose chairperson, Ida Horner, attended the event together with trustee Paige Kilroy, and presented awards to students celebrating their achievements over the past year.

Ida Horner- handing ut prizes to Students

Headmaster of Team College, Karamira George, hosted the event which was considered a great success by all those who attended.

End of year lunch
Classroom at Team College

The new academic year starts next month and we hope that the improvements will attract more students to the college.

Team College renovation: an Update

In my last post I told you about  Team College and what we are doing to renovate and upgrade the school buildings as well as improve sanitation. 

Rural schools such as these suffer from a lack of funding compared to urban schools. This then has implications for the quality of teachers such schools can attract and as such the quality of education pupils can expect. 

We are pleased to be in position to change things for this school and as you can see from the photos below, a lot has happened in the past few days. 
delivery-of-sand

The truck arrives with building materials
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Stones for construction of the veranda
upgrading-the-class

Work starts on the interior of the classrooms.  The builders and suppliers of building materials are secondary beneficiaries of this project, 

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Not wanting to be left behind, girls from the college get stuck in the preparations to seal the floor

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Rendering of outside walls. This being a rainy season the progress on this is surprising to say the least. 

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And here is the finished article

 

Team College management committee and James Chairperson 2 Ruhanga parish visit to the building site. 
Team College

With the rendering of the outside walls nearly done, work started on installing window frames. It will be such a treat for students to have dry classrooms during the rainy season. 

renovation
Team College

This is where we are now friends, keep an eye on this page for more updates.

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

Catching up with our buck-keepers

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

The goats are here

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

 

 

Diary Goat Crossbreeding Program

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

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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..

 

Goat project- Training gets underway

The Diary goat project has 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.

goat
Kalenzi- Inspecting a goat shelter

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

Osbert

LTHT Project Manager explaining attendees about the type of fodder suitable to grow in our area which they can feed to their goats

Buck -keepers

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 photo op

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

Widows' training session

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

buck station

We anticipate that some of the kids will be male and this is where they will be looked after

Keep an eye on this space and  our Facebook page for updates

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