Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls

 
$3,112
$6,888
Raised
Remaining
River Fund handing over a package to a child
River Fund handing over a package to a child

November 2014 - January 2015

ALOYO INNOCENT JESSIE                

Mobile: +256(0)774-002070

Email: jescaopoka@yahoo.co.uk

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 focus areas of intervention include; Training People Living With Aids (PLWAs) 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.

Activities this quarter:

1. Provision of food and non-food items.

Provision of Christmas packages to clients and those in need to enable them have a decent meal. With the belief that everyone is connected to one another in a way, the Association provided food items and non-food items to those in need in the eve of Christmas for them to take to their families and together have at least a better meal as they celebrate the birth of Christ. A total of 150 people received these packages (Rice, Sugar, Salt, and Soap) with most clients being middle aged women and men, elders who are taking care of their grandchildren whose parents have died mostly of the HIV pandemic. With as little as a kilogram of rice, we put a smile on the faces of these disadvantaged and needy community members.

With this event, we saw in the eyes of the people the need to reach out to many who are suffering alone and without hope of having a meal the next day.

2. Women’s workshop on Gender education.

The group engaged women in dialogue meetings in two different interfaces at Aloto Chapel in Latanya Sub-county, Pader district and Oryang Demkulukwac in Kitgum Matidi Sub-county Kitgum district all within Christ the King Parish Kitgum to discuss gender and its relation to women’s health, participation in public affairs as well as decision making.

Questions revolved around who controls tradition, culture and gender roles? How does tradition affect the health of women and girls in this time of AIDS? How can we as women help other women? What are our hopes for our daughters? These questions were asked with the intension of hearing from the women what would be the solutions or better ways of improving on the social relations within the families especially now in harvesting and marketing times when Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases are increasing due to conflict over what to sell and how the proceeds be shared between husbands and wives.

We acknowledge that to combat HIV/Aids, the social relations within the community is very important for the intervention to succeed and community dialogue is one avenue for the women to open up and talk about the issues surrounding their relations within their very families, community and how these relations impact either positively or negatively to their own development and empowerment. The exercise had an average attendance of 50 people per session, an equivalent of 100 people were reached.

Findings from the discussions:

Gender is always related to women’s affairs in that the women themselves have always misused the word to their own disadvantage. The men on the other side have taken this as a way of relieving all their domestic duties of being bread winners or home providers to the women and children. This is changing the gender roles.

3. Participation in International Celebrations.

This year, Kitgum District joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Aids day on 1st December 2014 at Kitgum Public School playground. As a women’s group whose focus is on combating HIV/AIDs with nutritional education, the group exhibited the different foods while explaining their importance in one’s diet. This demonstrated to the community that everyone is rich with different local foods to boost their immunity and for promoting long life.

Recommendations:

  1. More dialogue with the community with the involvement of both men and women is required to explain that with equal power relations within the families, it does not change the fact that men are the heads of households and as such both have to contribute equally for the welfare of their households.
  2. Sensitization on the different approaches of conflict resolutions without necessarily resorting to physical fights or verbal abuse which are common practices now within the communities.
  3. Networking with other stakeholders who can provide referral services to victims of GBV as well as psychosocial support to facilitate access to different services and justice.
  4. Form family support groups within the community who shall play a role in helping families solve conflicts; mobilize youth to help most needy households farm small plots for the family foods.
  5. Continue conducting women’s workshops on Long-term Survival skills with focus on nutrition and positive living.

Conclusion:

We would like to thank all of our donors for without their continuous support we wouldn’t have reached out to the people in need and known the plight of the community. Our plan is to have as many women and men formed as family support groups to help in mediating family conflicts and helping those most needy families without anybody to grow crops for them to help put a meal on their table even if it’s once a day.

Elderly mother teaching gender relations
Elderly mother teaching gender relations
Celebrating World AIDS Day 2014
Celebrating World AIDS Day 2014
Demonstrating types of food
Demonstrating types of food

1. Long Term Survival Skills Training.

Recognizing that food insecurity and low nutritional status can be a causal factor as well as a consequence, deliberate programme for capacity building and empowerment of PLHA (People Living with HIV/AIDS) in terms of skills building for better feeding and positive living are urgent for self reliance and advocacy for their food and nutrition as well as treatment rights. In line with this, the River Fund Kitgum conducted training on long term survival skills and better feeding approaches for PLHA.The training participants were both men and women living positively as well as care givers and parents of HIV positive children who are being supported in education by the Association. The training looked at the table of health, and explained the food groups for wellbeing of a person. A total of 47 (Male 05: Female 42) Participants attended the training.

The Objectives of the training were

  1. To empower the PLHA on positive living for better health and long life.
  2. Demonstrate and explain the importance of better feeding for healthy living.

The training explained how one can provide a complete meal with the use of the local available foods that are grown in their backyard without spending any or much money to acquire them.

It further explained why as a PLHA it is important to live a fruitful and productive positive life. The illustration of table of health was used to enable the participants to understand the important aspect of health. The table of health explains the relationship and interdependence of health on the nutrition (top) to the four legs of the table (one representing the mental health, another the physical well being, spiritual life and the fourth the social relations and support a person has and gets).All the five aspects must be accorded equal consideration for one to have a longer life.

Findings:

Despite the many community education and sensitization carried out by government and other civil society organization implementing HIV/AIDs projects, many PLHAs still express wrong notions that one can get cured of HIV citing situations that some people have been tested to be negative after taking ARVs for many years. This thinking is reported to be encouraging behaviors that increase the spread of the HIV virus and behaviors that discourage positive living like excessive alcohol consumption, engaging in extra marital affairs/having multiple sexual partners, and failure to adhere to drug intake.

2. Community sensitization outreach programme.

With the need to reach more people, the group conducted sensitization and education to 8 chapels within Christ the King parish in Kitgum.A total of 624 people(Male 297: Female 327) were reached. This was purposely done to provide information and education the Christians on HIV/AIDs, Positive Living and proper feeding to revitalize their health. Being a group formed by women from within the church well aware that many people are getting infected and affected by the virus due to the lack of information on prevention and other educative messages in place in the parishes and chapels, the Association believes that with extensive engagement in community education and sensitization and with the use of referral mechanisms, many people will be able to receive better health services and attain improved health. The initiative must therefore be conducted at different levels to ensure that as many people as possible are reached.

Findings:

  1. Alcohol abuse is on the rise and this is limiting the community from carrying out productive work that can support their livelihood and wellbeing of those affected by HIV/Aids.
  2. Married couples are facing difficult situations especially with the lack of home based care services and counseling to encourage men to open up and take HCT
  3. The youth and children living positively lack the societal support to promote positive living. This is leading to increased risky social behaviors and lack of guidance on how they as youth can live for long with the virus.

 Challenges:

Transport to the chapels was a challenge due to distance and lack of transport means. The group members depended on hired transport means which was expensive.

Conclusion:

The findings from both the training and the outreach illustrates the need for further community engagement and education to encourage more people to come up and test for HIV and if one is positive to encourage adherence to treatment and doctor’s advice to promote positive living and long life.

We would like to thank our donor for the continued partnership in providing service to the needy community of Northern Uganda. Without this support, the activities mentioned would not have been carried out.It is our wish that the partnership continues to strengthen the approaches to contribute to the mitigation of the impact of HIV & AIDS on the people we work with and for.

Facilitator explaining the uses of the foods
Facilitator explaining the uses of the foods
The community listening to the facilitator
The community listening to the facilitator
In the bean garden!
In the bean garden!

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 focus areas of intervention include; Training People Living With Aids (PLWAs) 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.

Activities this quarter

1. Gender community education.

We acknowledge that to combat HIV/Aids, the social relations within the community is very important for the intervention to succeed. Being an organization with the value of justice and equal enjoyment of rights, we embarked on gender sensitization and education of the community through drama and discussion. The group moved to chapels which is an organized Catholic Church structure in the community. The group moved out to 4 chapels of Dure, Oryang Ojuma, Okidi and Akworo all in Amida Sub-county, Kitgum District and conducted 4 community ensitization/education. The exercise had an average attendance of 100 people per session, an equivalent of 400 people were reached.

2. Food Security Intervention.

At River Fund Kitgum, we integrate food security activities into our HIV/Aids work.HIV accounts for the low life expectancy in Uganda and reduced labour supply to the agricultural sector as reported by FAO in its state of food security in the world report. Northern Uganda faces a bigger problem of acute food insecurity being a post conflict region. In our intervention, 6 beneficiaries’ groups with an average number of 15 members per group which is an equivalent of 90people as direct beneficiaries and a trickle down benefit to 8 people per household reaching to720 indirect beneficiaries received beans seeds which are an effort to contribute to a reduction of the food insecurity at the household level.

All these were made possible with the continuous support from the Global Giving and the River Fund. It is our sincere appreciation for your endless love and service to the poor and those in need.

Our plan is to reach out to as many people in the community as possible but all is dependent on funding possibilities and as such he River Fund Kitgum is sending out proposals to other prospective funding agencies.

A drama session in the rural community
A drama session in the rural community
Pandwong Primary School kids with new supplies
Pandwong Primary School kids with new supplies

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 focus areas of intervention include; Training Women Living With Aids (PLWAs) 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. 

This report is on activities carried out in the month of April to May 2014.

ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT.

  1. Support to children in school.

25 HIV+ school going children were supported in fees, school uniforms and scholastic materials this second school term. The support is made for the entire school calendar. The children will be visited and talked to find out other challenges that might be affecting their performance in class. This will inform other intervention for supporting the children to perform better.

  1. Support to 25 extremely poor households with HIV+ Children with food items like sugar, posho, beans, and other items to boost their food stock in the house. This activity is one of the key aims of the Association which is to care for malnourished children through providing food stuff. Each household received 10 kgs of posho, 05kg of sugar and beans, and 2litres cooking oil. Many more children shall be identified for support to combat malnutrition and other opportunistic diseases which may result from malnutrition.

Lessons learnt.

Many children are incapacitated to access basic education due to poverty and health related problems. Most of them are orphaned and being taken care of by grandparents who cannot also provide for themselves due to economic hardships.

Provision of scholastic materials is essential but many caregivers prefer to receive support in fees other than books or uniforms saying they are not able to earn anything to pay fees which is considered too high for their level of income.

Households of elderly persons are more prone to diseases like malnutrition for the children due to their lack of energy to engage in activities that require much energy to earn income for food provision. This leaves the family to depend on a meal a day which is not adequate for proper growth for the children.

Plan for coming quarters.

  1. Conduct data collection on malnutrition and early childhood development. This will inform the project intervention strategies for effective service delivery to the beneficiaries. Instead of focusing solely on children, the program shall consider the entire family or household as the programming unit. Though services offered by implementing agencies varied, the focus here shall generally covered health and nutrition; education, vocational skills training, and life skills; household economic strengthening and psychosocial support;
  2. Train caregivers on cereal production and nutritional food provision. This is aimed at strengthening the capacity of families to protect and care for orphans and vulnerable children.
  3. Identify OVC (girls) for support in secondary education. Data collection done in three schools in the district indicates that many secondary school going girls are forced out of school due to challenges that they cannot overcome. Many cannot afford fees as most of them are orphaned to HIV/AIDs and the LRA conflict.
New school supplies
New school supplies
Children enjoying sunflower seeds
Children enjoying sunflower seeds
Participants at a session on children
Participants at a session on children's rights

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 focus areas of intervention include; Training Women Living With Aids (PLWAs) 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.

This report is on activities carried out 1st quarter, 2014 in the month of January to March.

  1. Support to children in School.

This quarter with the beginning of the new school calendar, the project supported 30 (thirty) disadvantaged children with scholastic materials, and uniforms to contribute to their stay in School. The children most of whom are in their lower primary of education will receive these kinds of support through to term III of the 2014 school calendar.

      2. Training of care givers on Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Long Term Survival Skills.

To empower the women and girls, the project conducted training in Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Long Term Survival Skills (LTSS) to 150 care givers. The training highlighted the key areas of child’s survival amidst HIV/AIDS and poor nutrition. Other important component covered topics of children’s rights and the various roles and responsibilities of parents, care givers and the children.

Lessons learnt.

There are many cases of child abuse and neglect especially of Children with health related problems like HIV/AIDs. Many Parents look at them as children who can never achieve in life. This has also led to some children running away from home to live with other relatives or move from friend and to friends.

With the support for education, many children are keeping out of school due to lack of fees or scholastic materials as most parents are taking to alcohol consumption other than meet the children’s needs.

What did not work well?

There project was not able to support the children in terms of fees payment. With more than three pending activities yet to be carried out the available fund was not enough to cater for fees. The children will be supported in Scholastic materials this school calendar.

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Organization

The River Fund

Sebastian, Florida, United States
http://www.riverfund.org

Project Leader

Joseph Onyango

Executive Director
Kampala, Uganda

Where is this project located?

Map of Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls