Uganda: Budaka

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Orphans and vulnerable children project, Budaka

Project established: 2009

indigo foundation partners with six small but highly effective community-based organisations (CBOs) in Mt. Elgon region in Uganda to strengthen the capacity of families and communities to care for over 2,000 at-risk children and young people, all poor, many orphaned and many HIV-positive.

The project over the next 12 months will support:

1.    Education: provision of educational supplies, including books, pens and uniforms to 2,100 vulnerable children.

While primary education is free in Uganda, many disadvantaged children are excluded because they lack basic school materials. indigo foundation works with the CBO’s, who work with schools, to track the children’s attendance at school and support their progress through psychosocial support.

2.    Counseling: counseling training for CBO’s and school teachers on how to support vulnerable children and in particular those grieving or traumatised through HIV.

3.    Training and income generation: support training in vocational skills (such as sewing, knitting and baking) and ongoing funding for successful pilot initiatives established with indigo foundation support including:
•    a sewing training school for women widowed by HIV;
•    a livestock ‘bank’ with chickens, pigs and goats that increase food security; and
•    distribution of improved strains of cassava and peanuts resulting in increased agricultural production.

These activities combined will provide a pathway for children to access education, and become confident and contributing members of their community. The investment in schemes for production and income generation, and the vocational skills of older adolescents serves to foster well-being and community sustainability.

previous activities

Since the project was initiated in 2009, each of our partner organisations have chosen to spend much of the funds on school materials such as uniforms, pens and exercise books, to assist orphaned children to attend school.

In addition to providing school materials, our partner organisations have also previously used indigo foundation support to:

  • Buy chickens and piglets, which were raised and bred, giving struggling families young animals from the offspring.
  • KAGA purchased a sewing machine and trained women widowed by AIDS to sew uniforms for children supported by the group, as well other tailoring work to generate income.
  • Hold five days of joint training on HIV testing and counselling, including a day with a specific focus on children and youth. Thirty volunteers participated in five days of the training, and all evaluated the training very positively. Two of the groups have already developed comprehensive plans for extending HIV testing and counselling across their communities.

After the success of the HIV training, our partner organisations resolved to spend the remainder of funds on governance training. However, in consultation with the broader community it became clear that there was widespread concern over the possibility of food shortages over coming months. Eastern Uganda is influenced by the same weather system that has seen Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia face severe drought and famine, and the families in Budaka who rely solely on what they can grow themselves to survive have lost many of the seedlings planted for successive seasons.

For this reason our partners decided to allocate the funding for the purchase of new seedlings.

school partnerships

There is widespread recognition across Budaka that education is a key to providing orphans and vulnerable children with future opportunity.

Primary education has been free for Ugandan children for some years and universal secondary education was introduced in 2007. However, in Uganda, as in many other developing nations, the dramatic increase in the numbers of children attending school has not been met by a commensurate increase in funding to schools particularly in rural areas.

Schools in Budaka operate in overcrowded classrooms, with no text books or other learning resources, no electricity and teachers who are poorly supported and poorly compensated. indigo foundation has assisted four schools in Budaka establish partnerships with four schools in Melbourne.

Students in each country learn about the lives of children in another country, and exchange posters, drawings and stories. The Australian schools raise funds to support their Ugandan peers. In previous years, these funds purchased a range of text books, atlases and dictionaries; scholastic materials for students unable to purchase their own; posters and wall charts; coloured pencils and crayons; and soccer balls and net balls.

The Budaka schools involved in this partnership were selected by our partner organisations in recognition of the large number of orphans and vulnerable children each of these schools is supporting. The organisations and schools have pledged to work together to track the progress of the most vulnerable children and ensure that they are supported to remain at school.

about our partner organisations

… coming soon …

future plans for the project

In 2015 we will sign a new three year commitment agreement with each of our partner organisations. This will give Gaalimagi, the IkiIki AIDS Community Initiative, the Kakule AIDS and Grieved Families Association (KAGA) and NACOMAS the confidence and support to develop plans and budgets to assist their communities.

Over the first half of 2015, our partner organisations will come together for joint planning and priority-setting. They will work through a list of priorities identified in community consultations, and discuss challenges that have arisen this year

Orphans: registration and participation

With the disbursement of funds and the purchase and distribution of scholastic materials, a simple registration form has been developed which enables groups to monitor the health and progress of each of the children they support. This will assist us all to better understand the needs of these vulnerable children, but there is also growing recognition in Budaka that children and young people need opportunities to participate actively in decisions made on their behalf.

Each group has been encouraged to assist the development of youth-led programs

Overall, the growing confidence of our partner organisations, their willingness to work together and with local schools and the inclusion of youth-led activities in their programs mean that indigo foundation are looking forward to our next commitment period in the Budaka project.

Project Coordinator: Dr Ellen Kraly

In-country liaison officer: Katooko Joyce

Board representative: Sally Stevenson