The River Fund

The River Fund is dedicated to providing physical, emotional and spiritual support, to people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and other life challenging illnesses and circumstances, as well as their loved ones and caregivers. We serve the poor, those who often are alone and in need - regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or age.
Mar 27, 2012

Progress Report

Group member with baby goat
Group member with baby goat

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT WOMEN ASSOCIATION is a Community Based organization established in 2006. Its office is situated at Christ the King parish, Kitgum Town Council, Kitgum district, Uganda. It has a total membership of 30 women who have volunteered to help sensitize and restore hope to the traumatized community (orphans, child headed families, people affected with HIV/Aids) as well as improve the nutrition of malnourished children.

Key focused areas of intervention include; Training People Living With Aids (PLWA) on long term Survival skills, Care of malnourished children through providing food stuff, Counseling of married couples on coping with the Aids pandemic situation in their families, Home visits of PLWA, Educating mothers on providing proper and balanced nutrition using locally available resources and Initiating livelihood and economic strengthening schemes for PLWA that do not demand too much energy.

In 2011, the Association identified the most vulnerable household of women living with HIV/Aids and supported them with goats to boost the economic wellbeing and household nutrition.

This report is of the monitoring visit done and a follow up of the goats distributed. Visits were made to the two groups and this is a success story from Dicwinyi Women group, one of the groups that received the support in Kitgum district. The group has a total of 30 women. The initial number of members who received support from River Fund Women Association Kitgum was 10. The 10 members who are all living positively received training in Life skills and were later given 4 she goats. Now the number of members rose to 30 women who not only have the goats to boast about but also their Village saving and loan Association activity that has enabled them provide for their families and have time to share with one another, their social capital.

Benefits from the goats received.

Having these goats has given us a number of positive impacts. Acen Margaret, the group secretary tells us their story.

The goats have helped us learn how to exercise team work. We have been looking after our goats since we received them in June ourselves without necessarily employing any man to look after them for us. We have made a Roster for looking after the goats in which one person looks after them for a whole one week then another member takes over. This is on a rotational basis and it has helped us learn team work and the sense of responsibility.

We were never trained on rearing goats and as such have been looking after them the local way. We usually give them salty water to enable them become addictive and want to come and drink from the same source. This is to prevent them from running far and getting lost since we do not tie them being a dry season. We have and are still learning how to rear and manage goats.

The goats have helped us to become innovative. Before receiving the goats, we already had this group but were majorly for counseling and sharing ideas on how to overcome the challenges of HIV/Aids. However, when we received the goats, we decided to start saving some money as members to help in some expenses like veterinary services since we had no money as a group and had no idea that we would receive goats in the future. We therefore started a Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) and this has attracted other women who were not part of us who received the goats to join our group. We are now 30 in total in the saving activity.

With the formation of the VSLA, we are able to loan money to members and this has helped them to cater for our household needs as well as pay our children in school. We have also learned how to manage finances at the household and group level though not in big amounts. Our single saving value per sitting is 1000 shs. And a maximum of 5000 shs and a welfare fund of 200 shs. Per sitting.

The goats have enabled us to carry on with our initial objective of counseling and sharing with one another as we face challenges in our day to day lives as people living with HIV/Aids. Some of our members have been falling sick quite often and sometimes we thought they would give up with life and die but being in this group has given us the hope and courage to nurture what we have and as such encourage other members to live on to enable us see our children grow and finish school.

We have also learned how to manage groups and settle problems that arise between members of our group without the involvement of local leaders. We now feel for the wellbeing of every one and when one is down with sickness, we as members check on her family to ensure that the children are going to school and are eating. We have developed a sense of solidarity and love for one another.

We have also been blessed and one of our goats has produced twins. If we are lucky we shall have three more goats produced in May because three of the goats we received are expecting now and are due to deliver.


We have not been able to share the goats among ourselves. We received four (4) goats but we were ten
(10) in the group. As such we have decided to rear them together as a group. One member gave land on which we put up a shed for the goats.

In addition, when we received the goats in June, two delivered twins each and the other two one kid
goat each making a total of six kid goats. However, they all died after delivery leaving us with the four we had been given. We would be having eight (8) delivered goats but we have only two now since the other 6 died.

The recurrent ill health of the goats makes them unable to deliver healthy kid goats. This means we have to
spend on veterinary services and vaccines for the goats to be treated. We have been able to de-worm the goats, treat them of diarrhea and a dog bite. One of the goats was bitten by a dog at night and was treated now it is well. Although we have been able to treat the goats, the services are expensive and our little saving sometimes is not enough to meet the costs.

The goats’ shed is more of a makeshift and thus cannot protect the goats from dogs and thieves although we
have not yet had any incidence of thieves breaking in to steal them. We managed to put up a grass thatched shed for the goats to stay in but this is getting destroyed as some poles are now broken and the grass need to be replaced.

Some of the group members have been sick for long periods. Two members were hospitalized for 2 months and
this made us the members worried that they could die since they were and are still very weak. The sickness has impacted negatively on us due to the schedule for looking after the goats and the saving exercise. We had to come in for the sick and tender the goats for them meaning the work load increased and the period for rest reduced as we were left only eight (8) of us to care for the goats.

The VSLA activity that we are also carrying out has to some extent helped solved our domestic financial needs. But this is overweighed by the too many needs to be solved by money. For example, many times when we go for our routine treatment at the ART clinic, we are often given the ARVs but as for other drugs for opportunistic diseases, we have
to pay for at the pharmacy of the hospital since they are not given at the ART clinic. This means if one has no money, then one has to go without and then fall sick. Sometimes because of our condition, we need to eat good nutritional food but we do not have the money. This means, our diet continue to be poor since we cannot afford the expensive foods with high nutritional values.


We request that if possible, the group is supported technically on how to rear and manage goats to help us  monitor and report cases of ill health early enough to avoid death as has been the case in the last year.

We also lack the basic skills in VSLA component especially in the record keeping. We therefore request
that we are rendered training in the principle to help us carry on well.

The goats that we have now are not enough. If any, more goats should be added on what we already have to
enable every member to have at least a goat.  

We also request for support in vegetable growing. We lack the seeds for the different variety of vegetables. If given, this will support the members’ household both for consumption and commercial purposes.

We request that if possible, some support is given to us to construct a permanent goats’ shed since a member
has given land on which the temporary shed is erected for protection from dogs, breaking in by thieves and also from the bad weather.


The livelihood project has been of help to some groups while others have not been able to tell their story
as a result of failure to keep their goats as a group or due to the death of some of the goats they received.

The project has had a number of challenges as told by the different groups during monitoring exercise. Some
members have shared the goats amongst themselves with the hope of easy management of the goats but have failed to have anything to show.

Some groups like Dicwinyi Women group have benefited and if given more technical support, will reap big
from the project.

Goat shed
Goat shed
Feb 28, 2012

Hearts Quarterly Report

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

Namaskar and Happy New Year Greetings to our Global Giving Donors and well-wishers.

Dear friends thank you so much for your kind support to run the “little HEARTS orphanage” without any financial disturbances since 2005.

Children at “Little HEARTS Orphanage” are doing very well and growing slowly in all aspects of life.  Our main focus is to seriously concentrate on how to educate our children who came from very poor background. Two tutors are regularly attending for evening extra classes

Hariprasad, who is studying 7th standard got first rank and selected best student award by the school authorities among from 1st standard to 10th standard in all subjects! Wow! We are really happy to inform all of our kind donors and well-wishers.  Recently the same school authorities selected 10 best and bright students, among them 4 children are from “little HEARTS orphanage” and we hope and trust that our donors will raise their heads with pride!

On 11th we participated and celebrated “Fun Day” which was organized by The Right Now Foundation, U.K. based children’s charity, Ramu from little hearts, who got free boarding at “Chandra Reddy College” for 2 years for his academic excellence in 10th standard and all round performance was picked and selected and awarded “Best Student” by Mr.Stewart Botting, The Right Now Foundation among  13 children’s homes from Nellore and Prakasham Districts of Andhra Pradesh State.

All of your kind donations spending very wisely according to the need only, not even single rupee wasted.  Our monthly budget is always around 35,000 to 37,000 but at the beginning of every academic year we have to spend more money to buy uniforms, school bags, note books, little money as school fee.

Karimulla and Kalesha both are brothers from Muslim community joined at little hearts for being their parents are died of HIV.  Nirmala, Rubini, Shirisha and Mounika (girls) also joined with little hearts family due to their fathers are alcoholic addicts and mothers are not in a position to feed these little girls.

Karthik (boy) joined with our children because father died and mother is physically challenged and also recommended by Women and Child Welfare Department and Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of Nellore District. Women and Child Welfare Department is belongs to Andhra Pradesh State Government and CWC is an autonomous body appointed by the AP State Government on child rights.

Priya couple of days ago taken to little hearts who is an HIV infected girl and completed first year from her three years graduation. She is now 19 years and no parents who fled from Khammam District in search of food and shelter. Yesterday we got a phone call from Mr.Praveen to admit 2 HIV infected boys from Kavali and requested us for feeding and shelter. We agreed to accept his request.


On 31 st December Sk.Ismail (Muslim) donated Dinner and Cake.

On 1st January  D.K.Womens College students donated New Year Cake.

Same day, Siddhardha English Medium School children donated New Year Lunch, Cake and Rs.500/-.

On 6th January Mr.Hussain (Muslim) donated Breakfast.

On 7th January Women’s Polytechnic College students and staff donated Mats, Soaps, Underwears, Tooth Brushes, Tooth Pastes and Chocolates.

On 1st February Mrs.Renukamma donated Dinner.

On 15th Mr.Suresh donated Dinner and Cake on be half of his daughter’s Birth Day.

Once again we sincerely thank all of our kind donors.













Girls with HEART!
Girls with HEART!
Feb 23, 2012

Empower AIDS Widows: Quarterly Report

Working with the maize (corn) garden
Working with the maize (corn) garden

Empower AIDS Widows - Save a community: Quarterly report February 2012

We give thanks to all our donors, friends and well-wishers who are making difference in the lives of our people in Uganda. Truly we are grateful for the donations that we received last year which contributed to social change among our vulnerable community we serve.

In the last academic year 2011 with your support we managed to have 56 OVC sit for their Uganda Certificate of Education (UEC) and 114 sat for PLE 2011.

This academic year 2012 we expect more 89 OVCs to sit for their O’Level exam and 126 sitting for Primary Leaving Exam (PLE). 

Our nutritional aspect this time round is fair compared to the past quarter when we experienced along drought till November when we received enough rain.

With your support we managed get good harvest of maize, beans and green vegetable these is improving our nutrition  and thus reducing malnutrition among young children, the aged and PLWAS.

In Tororo we got 42 bags of maize equivalent to 4,200 kgs, green vegetables and 2 bags = 200 kg of ground nuts, more 27 goats offspring of the previous distribution.

In Busia 25 bags of maize which is 2,500 kgs  4 bags of beans which are 400 kgs green vegetables and 200 local birds.

In Bugiri 3 bags of maize that is 300 kgs, we gave out 4 pigs, 10 more goats.

Two more new groups that was created of recent in Tororo and Busia i.e. (in Amonikakinei by Grace and one by Rose near Tororo Cement Industry ) also did well coming up with 14 bags of maize  = 1,400 kgs , 10 piglets and  green vegetables.

In general we realized a total of 8,400 kgs of maize, green vegetables, 37 goats, 14 young pigs, 200 kgs of ground nuts 400kgs of beans and 200 local birds.

With this good harvest, at least our members who are living with HIV/AIDS will have well balance diet and improve their immune systems, our OVCs and their care takers will have enough food in this quarter and we plan to expand our production in this planting season. 

Although we achieved good harvest this season, we are still challenged by needs of Orphans and other Vulnerable Children OVCs mainly in support of schooling material, uniforms and other basic needs. 

We request for your kindest continual support which we will highly honor it especially the need for providing the OVCs and girl-child education support.

I thank all my friends, donors and my local leaders, community members for standing with us, thanks to Ma Jaya Bhagavati  and the Director of River Fund Jaya Canterbury-Counts, all Global Giving staff and donors  who have helped us go this far.

God bless you so much.

Best regards,
Onyango Joseph
The Executive Director

Raising local poultry
Raising local poultry

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