May 19, 2021

Learning Throught the Pandemic!

Agape Christian School Children
Agape Christian School Children

A good quality education helps children reach their full potential; However, for thousands of children in Northern Uganda its beyond reach and many are not learning due to the government measures to curb down the spread of COVID-19.

All children, of all ages are being affected, in particular by the socio-economic impacts and in some cases, by mitigation measures that may inadvertently do more harm than good.

Moreover, the harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations.

The potential losses that may accrue in learning for todays young generation, and for the development of their human capital, are hard to fathom. Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost an entire year due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Even prior to the pandemic, children’s learning was in crisis, and the pandemic has only sharpened these inequalities, hitting schoolchildren in poor countries particularly hard.

Though the government has been quick to implement remote learning, new health protocols and reopening plans, these measures have varied widely based on each family’s wealth and the capacity of the schools. Since most families have lost their sources of income due to the pandemic, they can’t afford the tablets, laptops, Television sets as well as radios to access lessons. The schools too don’t have the capacity to acquire these online teaching gadgets since there are not readily available funds!

Agape Christian School Children
Agape Christian School Children
Agape Christian School Children
Agape Christian School Children

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Apr 15, 2021

Helping the rural poor women to save!

Rural Women attending a self help group meeting
Rural Women attending a self help group meeting

Rural poverty in Uganda is extremely bad. 85.0% of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas; 27.2% of them are below the national poverty line. Poor rural women, who often do not have enough savings, often need loans to deal with emergencies, invest in income-generating opportunities that arise, and meet life-cycle needs, including births, deaths, education, and home-making. However, the rural poor, especially the rural women, have little access to traditional financial credit. Rural areas may not be serviced by traditional financial industries because they are seen as unprofitable because of low population density in rural areas and the smaller amounts of money borrowed and invested.

Even Microfinance institutions (MFIs) and Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs), which often target the low-income populations in rural areas, have difficulties reaching the poorest of the poor, also called the “non-active” poor. The poorest rural people are not attractive clients for banks, MFIs, and SACCOs because they save and borrow very small amounts.

Therefore, women are overrepresented among the poor in Uganda. Data from 2005/2006 from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics estimates that 23% of Ugandan households are headed by a female. Out of these female-headed households, 33.7% are below the national poverty line.

Providing a place for the poor rural women to save is important for poverty reduction because it gives the rural women funds to fall back on in emergencies, allows them to invest in profitable opportunities that arise, and allows them to spend on expenses relating to deaths, births, education, and home-building without having to take out loans. This limits the potential of falling into harmful debt.

Informal self-help savings and loan groups are an alternative way for the poor rural women to access credit and save money. Groups like at Karin Community Initiatives Uganda in Gulu District, have assisted in developing the community, not just economically, but also in-material and non-material development as group members become interested in certain social issues and mobilize the group to try to do something about them. Many reports have found them to be very successful in poverty alleviation and contribution to other aspects of development, especially in rural areas among the poorest of the poor and especially among women.

Rural Women attending a self help group meeting
Rural Women attending a self help group meeting
Rural Women attending a self help group meeting
Rural Women attending a self help group meeting
Apr 1, 2021

Giving hope to mothers in Agonga village!

Agonga maternity ward under construction
Agonga maternity ward under construction

Giving life to architecture carries the responsibility to sustain life for many people - the people who design it, build it, use it, own it - and responsibility to the earth, too. When we approach design by engaging our network of stakeholders, we can change the world. By October 2020, our new maternity unit under construction in Agonga, Uganda had reached the roofing stage, bringing hope to mothers in Agonga - it’s one shinning example of how this design ecosystem can work.

Located in Gulu district, Agonga is an impoverished, rural area in Northern Uganda, home to more than 20,000 people with limited access to health care. This region’s existing maternity ward is part of an existing health facility built more than 60 years ago. Its limited rooms serve as a place to give birth and receive pre and post natal care.

Yet Agonga’s women are considered lucky to score a bed at the facility. the population in Gulu district has grown, and the ward cannot accommodate nearly half of its expectant mothers who travel to the facility - most often long distances on the back of motorcycle taxi - to give birth.

Statistics indicate that Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most dangerous places on earth to be pregnant and give birth. Complications from childbirth, poor nutrition, infections, cross contamination, limited access to care, malaria, HIV and AIDS impact health outcomes for mothers and their children in this part of the world.

To improve Agonga’s delivery of health and reduce infant and maternal deaths, Karin community Initiatives Uganda is making tremendous progress with the construction of a sustainable maternity ward in Agonga village - Gulu district Northern Uganda. However, furthering the challenge of a sustainable facility: Agonga does not have a reliable source of electricity and vital maternity equipment. To be part of this life changing work for Agonga’s mothers and their new born babies, please make your donation here.

Agonga maternity ward under construction
Agonga maternity ward under construction
Agonga maternity ward under construction
Agonga maternity ward under construction

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