The Kasiisi Project (Girls Support Program)

Since 1997, the Kasiisi Project has aided education in and around Kibale National Park in rural western Uganda, East Africa. Founded initially as a link between the research-based Kibale Chimpanzee Project and the local community, the Kasiisi Project now works with several research groups in and around the park to target critical issues for the survival of the forest and support of the local population. We support early childhood education, promote conservation and health education, provide daily school lunches, train teachers, encourage literacy through libraries and computer usage, fund secondary school and college scholarships, and address the special needs of girls.
Feb 20, 2015

Bikes for Girls

Girls and Bikes
Girls and Bikes

Thanks to volunteer Oliver Bradley, the Kasiisi Project has an exciting new program to protect girls from sexual harassment , increase their access to education and to promote independence and self reliance: BICYCLES!

Long walks to school are a problem for all children in rural Uganda,  but particularly for girls. They are vulnerable to sexual harassment on the road,  and the temptation, when you are tired,  to accept lifts from  the Boda-Boys (drivers of motorbike taxis) can be irresistible. But Boda-Boys often expect sexual favors in return, leading to pregnancy and HIV infection.

The length of the journey also means very early starts, often before dawn, and arriving home too late to do much homework while it is still light.

The Kasiisi Project Girls’ Bicycle Program hopes to change this. The brainchild of volunteer Oliver Bradley, this pilot initiative is providing 25 girls from Kasiisi and Kigarama Primary Schools with bicycles, and teaching them to ride them. Buffalo bicycles,  provided by World Relief Bicycles,are built to withstand the tough roads of Africa. All the girls will receive helmets, road safety training, and will be required to bring the bikes in for regular check ups and maintenance.

And we do not forget our boys – we hope to train students in bicycle maintenance, both to maintain our bikes and to provide a skill they can put to good use in the future.

This is a pilot – we hope to expand the program into other schools. We thank Oliver and his family for their generosity donating the first 25 bikes. 

Girl riding Bike
Girl riding Bike
Volunteer and Girls with Bikes
Volunteer and Girls with Bikes
Bikes from Kenya
Bikes from Kenya
Nov 18, 2014

Sanitary Pads and Health Talks Keep Ugandan Girls

Hand Washing
Hand Washing

Sanitary Pads and Health Talks Keep Ugandan Girls in School

By: Katelyn Wigmore

During the second week of each month, the Girls Peer Education program travels to five local primary schools in the Kibale Forest School District to distribute sanitary pads to girls in Primary 3 to Primary 7. These monthly distributions of sanitary pads help keep Ugandan girls in schools who might otherwise miss anywhere from three to seven days of school because of their monthly periods or the extreme but not unusual case of dropping out of school completely because of it. Kasiisi Primary School Headmistress Lydia Kasenene says “they stay at home because they are embarrassed and feel shame because of this very natural event. If their periods start during the school day, they may bleed through their dresses and won’t participate in class activities because they have to stand up and they may get made fun of.” The program distributes about 900 sanitary pads monthly to the five different primary schools. The pads give the girls confidence, independence, and the ability to be active all the time and participate fully in school just like the boys.

The monthly pad distribution also gives Kibale Forest Schools Program Nurse Eve Basemera and United States Peace Corps Health Volunteer Katelyn Wigmore, the opportunity to give health talks on various subjects from hygiene, menstruation, nutrition, early pregnancy, boy’s and girl’s development, abuse, marriage, and HIV/AIDS. The girls can ask questions and receive answers in a safe and learning environment. Many girls do not have an environment at home where they can ask questions and many times their mothers or relative or close friends do not know the answers to certain questions because they do not know either they never learned or were never told.

The distribution of pads and talks also gives the girls the chance to have hands on experience, such as learning how to use a sanitary pad, learning how to wash their hands with hand washing demonstrations and also learning to build tippy taps that are stationed outside their schools pit latrines to wash their hands. At each of the schools in November as the program focused on hygiene, they did an activity where after the tippy taps were built they brought a couple boys from the school to provide the girls with a teaching opportunity to teach the boys how to use the tippy tap and wash their hands. The girls are given skills that they can take back to share with their families and help create healthier environments at their homes, at school, or in the community. Girls gain confidence and information needed in their everyday lives. Kasenene puts it with a smile “they are becoming smarter than the boys.”

This coming year will focus on continuing to provide the girls with information on health topics to better their health, learn about Life Skills, and introduce different activities like Grassrootsoccer and peer education. The program hopes to combine with the Boys Peer Education program to do activities, also to help provide a better understanding of each other and hopefully will lead to more respect.

We would like to thank all the donors for their generosity as it helps change lives and when we can change one person we change a generation. 

Showing younger children how to hand wash
Showing younger children how to hand wash
Nurse works with Students
Nurse works with Students
Classroom Time on Sanitary Health Concerns
Classroom Time on Sanitary Health Concerns
Sanitary Pad Distribution
Sanitary Pad Distribution

Links:

Aug 21, 2014

Summer Volunteers and more!

Summer Volunteers
Summer Volunteers

Summer always brings a lot of motivated and skilled volunteers to the Kasiisi Project in Western Uganda. This summer Kayla Bruce helped with our girls' sexual health program. The elementary school girls were visited  by our nurse, Eve Basemera and Kayla Bruce, to discuss women's empowerment and "Life Skills." Life Skills reinforce messages such as: practicing communication, resisting negative peer pressure, asserting oneself, self esteem, etc.. The girls took notes and used these lessons to create songs, skits and dances which discussed women's empowerment and the life skills. On July 26th, 20 girls from each of the seven schools came to Kasiisi playground and presented their songs, skits and dances. The schools' productions were creative and informative; everyone enjoyed the presentations!

Additionally, this summer, five meetings were held with boys from a sample of our schools. The boys were given a short questionnaire to determine how much they knew about the topics that are covered throughout the course of the Girls' Program (growth and development in boys and girls, hygiene, STD and HIV/AIDs prevention, early pregnancy, etc.) and they had a discussion about Life Skills. We are hoping that this information can be used to design a small program for the boys to complement the girls' program.

Lastly, the girls spent the summer competing in an essay writing competition. Each of the seven schools selected 40 girls to participate. The girls were given lectures on Early Pregnancy, Growth and Development in Boys and Girls, STD Prevention and Hygiene. They had a little over a week to study their notes and prepare their thoughts, and then Nurse Eve returned to administer the essay competition. It was a very succesful project! 
As always, thank you for your support of the Kasiisi Project and the girls' health program! 
Nurse Eve and Volunteer Kayla
Nurse Eve and Volunteer Kayla
Girls receiving new underwear
Girls receiving new underwear
Learning how to use sanitary pads
Learning how to use sanitary pads
Making life skills signs
Making life skills signs

Links:

 
   

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