With this quarter’s update I want to introduce you to one of our new local Ugandan NGOs, Bio Gardens. The Foundation for Community Development and Empowerment (FCDE) works with about 25 local organizations in each of its program sites. Local partners go through a two year process with FCDE that involves education, consulting and financial support with the intent of making the organizations stronger and more efficient.
FCDE's core work relates to the development and nurturing of local Ugandan NGOs. Bio Gardens represents part of a third cohort of NGOs that have partnered with FCDE. This third cohort brings our number of partners inthe Kasese District to 25 which is our target number of partners in a program locaion.
Bio Gardens is an indigenous organization with a purpose of bringing people together to conserve their land, water, air, animals and plants while developing sustainable ways to improve local livelihoods. Bio Gardens operates alongside the hills and the low lands of Mount Rwenzori.
Bio Gardens works to promote indigenous knowledge in the Rwenzori region by respecting the wisdom and teachings of our elders’. Our elders have knowledge and practice in agriculture and conservation that can positively impact communities when properly utilized. Bio Gardens utilizes a community-based approach for integrating indigenous knowledge in agriculture, health and conservation for the protection of Rwenzori Mountain’s eco-system.
Some of Bio Gardens programs include: 1. Improved health among the poor communities: The organization promotes the use of herbal medicines and nutritional. Communities are mobilized to establish medicinal plant gardens in their households. They are trained in how to produce and use local herbs. The organization produces herbal medicines which it supplies to the poor community members at a subsidized cost. The organization also integrates herbal medicines into modern medical services in Uganda.
2. Environmental Conservation and Food Security: Under this program, the organization mobilizes the community to use improved agronomic practices (organic farming) and to adopt new appropriate agriculture technologies to increase crop production. The organization promotes the use of traditional foods that have proven themselves to be nutritional as well as tolerant of local growing conditions. Communities are educated on environmental conservation, recycling and applying improved methods of farming and tree planting.
3. Savings and credit for the poor farmers: The organization mobilizes farmers to save and use the savings as loans to agricultural inputs and for investment.
Bio Gardens, like all of our Ugandan partner organizations, receives our services free of charge. Your tax-exempt contributions allow us to continue to provide these services and to expand to additional locations in East Africa.
This update from FCDE is full of great news from our work in Uganda. 2014 brings our programs into their 3rd year of work in Uganda. We are currently supporting 17 local Uganda non governmental organizations (NGO) in the Kasese region on the Western border of Uganda. Our work to help these organizations become more self-sufficient and and efficient touched over 500 Ugandans who live below the international poverty line in 2013. In 2014 our partners in the Kasese District will increase to 25 because of support from people like yourselves.
FCDE will be opening a 2nd program site in Uganda in 2014! The success of our work in Kasese and the great need throughout rural regions of Uganda have lead us to this decision to expand. The regions we are looking at for expansion are some of the poorest in Uganda. As always, we will be looking to find a location where local Ugandan people and organizations have initiated the challenging work of trying to improve their communities. Our work will be to help those projects and initiatives that have already been started, but need that extra bit of help to be successful.
Our next update will include information on the new site - stay tuned.
Again, thank you for the continued support. Our expansion and work would not be possible without your support.
We are pround to introduce another of our local Ugandan partners. Karambi is a grass roots organization that helps persons with disabilities find ways to be productive and gain new opportunites. Our organization, FCDE, works with 17 organizations like Karambi to help them grow, thrive and have a greater impact on the impoverished Western Ugandan region in which we work.
Karambi People with Disabilities has been giving those with physical disabilities the opportunity to gain skills and become more self-sufficient. Since 2006, they have been teaching students tailoring skills that will provide them with a trade for income. The program now takes all people, since people in the community saw the work done by Karambi and wanted to be involved. The program lasts 6 months and currently accepts 10-20 students at a time.
Before Karambi began this program, people with disabilities were begging on the street. After speaking to these people and doing a needs assessment, it was discovered that there was a low level of education amongst the community of people with disabilities. Karambi realized that they must teach people with disabilities a marketable skill, thus resulting in the tailoring program.
Kitambara Margaret began the program as a student in 2006, and now her high skill level has allowed her to become a teacher for the program. Margaret appreciated the low cost of the program and says it allowed her make the program a possibility. Margaret is now skilled in making skirts, shirts, trousers, dresses, and blouses. Margaret's parents helped her purchase a sewing machine so she is able to use her new skill as a method for receiving income.
Tailoring clothes has allowed her to increase her income significantly. “I am no longer a dependent” says Margaret, and she plans to move into her own home with her child. “Now I am able to pay for school fees. When my child is sick, I can provide medicine.” Margaret credits the Karambi tailoring program to her success.
In 2008, Karambi selected her to become a teacher for the program. Margaret was honored to be selected, and traches and inspires many people with disabilities. Other students with disabilities see Margaret as an inspiration of what they are able to achieve, while students without disabilities are able to see how self sufficient and successful people can be, despite physical disabilities.
Please remember, your gift to FCDE through Global Giving helps us provide training, computer centers, grants and a comprehensive set of support to Karabi and 16 other similar grassroots organizations.
We have also just set up a Global Giving page for Karambi in case you want to make a donation directly to their projects.
Dear Friends of FCDE,
First off, thank all of you who expressed concern over the recent influx of refugees across the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo. There were about 60,000 displaced people who crossed over in a two day period about 10 kilometers from our program headquarters. Fortunately, it did not significantly affect our staff safety or the program work with which we are involved.
With this update, I wanted to share the progress of our organization’s ongoing education program. FCDE currently partners with 17 local Ugandan NGOs. As part of each partnership agreement, FCDE provides a series of workshops and trainings that extend over an 18 month period. These trainings focus on helping our local partners build their organizations’ capacity, develop better approaches to service delivery and raise funds so that they can reach more people.
Our staff works directly with our partners to assess what types of education and training will best help them in their development efforts. Our Ugandan staff works with our curricula development team to provide information and support to be used throughout the 18 months of training. Our partners develop skills in how to write grants, how to design and manage programs, how to integrate best practices of development into their work and other valuable skills.
We want to thank you again for your ongoing support of our work. We also want to introduce you to another of our Ugandan partners who are the real heroes in efforts to bring essential services and development efforts to the region. We are proud to introduce you to KALI.
Karambi Action for Life Improvement (KALI):
KALI was created to be a think tank regarding participation of the poor in social economic development and to also undertake effective actions and programs to reduce poverty.
With KALI’s gender advocacy program, KALI mobilized women of Kasese District to participate in and influence the local government decision making process. This has resulted in an increase of about 30% in women who participate in local council meetings and who compete for elective positions in the local councils.
As part of the awareness through theatre program KALI, has facilitated drama groups to perform forum theatre shows (community drama) in the surrounding communities. The forum theatre addressed the issues of poor service delivery and bad governance in terms of water, primary education and health. The forum theatre is highly interactive and is used to elicit open discussion regarding the issues the play focuses on, not only for sensitization but to mobilize communities for action.
You can learn more about KALI and our other partners on our website.
In other news, FCDE continues to recruit interns and volunteers from the developed world to provide support to our Ugandan Partner Organizations. FCDE's work includes transferring skills and building capacity of our Partner Organizations. Interns and volunteers play an integral role in making this type of development possible and sustainable. If you know anyone who would benefit from this type of opportunity, they can learn more about it at www.isla-serve.org.
Again, thank you for your continued support.
I hope that Spring is beautiful where you are. May has brought a good deal of rain and flooding to our program location in Uganda. Much of our time recently has been spent working with and around the rescue and relocation efforts associated with the floods.
It is this type of natural disaster that highlights the importance of the work we carry out. Strong NGO networks and communities are much better prepared to deal with a wide range of civic disturbances, whether they be natural or manmade. We want to thank our partner NGOs that have been working hard to help the Kasese District in this challenging time.
We are proud to report on funding made to the KADYFA project in this newsletter. KADYFA is one of our current local partners who work with young women who are High School drop outs (usually because of unplanned pregnancies) to provide marketable job skills and employment opportunities. The following is a report from our Kasese site team Program Assistant Sylvia Kabugho.
KADYFA, Improved Livelihood for Young Women High School Dropouts (tailoring)
KADYFA’s project is progressing on well with the training of the girls in tailoring skills. An assessment to identify the most vulnerable child mothers to benefit from the project was conducted. A 1 day meeting with the 10 identified child mothers was conducted to orient them on the project. Four tailoring machines and tailoring materials to be used by the trainees during the training were procured and one instructor to train the girls in making school uniforms. Training is currently taking place Monday through Friday. A room to display the finished products made by the trainees for marketing purposes was hired. Ten child mothers are undergoing training in different tailoring skills including making school uniforms, bitenge attires for women and men and other female wear (dresses, skirts and gowns). The products that are made by the trainees are being sold and the money from the sales has been used to buy additional training materials. KADYFA got a contract for the trainees to make school uniforms for a school in Bughoye Sub County. The girls are very active and enthusiastic with the training they are getting.
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