Jan 13, 2017

S.O.U.L. Foundation's Iganga Program Progress

A S.O.U.L. student writes a letter to her sponsor
A S.O.U.L. student writes a letter to her sponsor

With the start of another new year, the S.O.U.L. team is so excited to see our new Iganga office also taking on new territory! This month we will be accepting 21 additional students into our Student Sponsorship Program, bringing relief to parents by partnering to provide 50% of students’ school fees and pairing them with sponsors with whom they regularly communicate. Students went through a rigorous application process including review of school and family history and an interview with both parents and students. Congratulations to those students who made it through! If you are interested in creating a connection with one of our students and sponsoring them to achieve their education or know someone who may be, please visit www.souluganda.org/sponsorship/.

Two of the Iganga Chicken Groups have just successfully completed their first chicken rearing cycle. In addition to learning the ins and outs of how to raise chickens, the women have been learning how to search for a market – from a neighbor to a local restaurant – and practice business finance through practical experience. We hope to start our final group in the coming months as they make the finishing touches to their brooders.

In the next few months we will be beginning a new Goat Group in a nearby village! Our previous group’s goats have been giving birth to kids, which the women give back to the program for continued distribution as part of S.O.U.L.’s Give a Goat – Get a Goat Program. We are scouting possible locations, and will very soon be starting our goat rearing trainings as well as the construction of the brooder where the goats will be kept.

After months of community requests, we have also begun planning for a Pre-Primary/Nursery School for local children ages 3-5. Parents ask for pre-primary schools to prepare their children for success in their formal education. In addition to allowing students to spend their mornings productively, a Pre-Primary/Nursery school will give community mothers the opportunity for a safe childcare environment and time to complete household chores and farming. This exciting new program is something that the community members have requested for months, and after fully immersing ourselves for the past four months, the S.O.U.L. team is ready to take action! Members of the community have already provided 16,000 bricks to support the project.

Finally, we will soon be completing the wiring installation for our Solar Powered Computer Lab! The lab will allow local students and adults to access technology that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The Lab will be located inside of the S.O.U.L. Community Center that the generous support from GlobalGiving donors has allowed us to build. Thank you so much to all of the people who have helped us to make these Iganga programs possible!

Cooperative participant looks over the new chicks
Cooperative participant looks over the new chicks
S.O.U.L.'s male goat in the goat co-op program
S.O.U.L.'s male goat in the goat co-op program
Community bricks for the Pre-Primary School
Community bricks for the Pre-Primary School

Links:

Oct 18, 2016

Growth and Opportunities in the Iganga District

Iganga community members at the Community Center
Iganga community members at the Community Center

S.O.U.L. Foundation’s Iganga Community Center is now celebrating one month of official full-time operation. Two permanent Iganga-based S.O.U.L. staff members Basit Ibanda and Caellagh Morrissey have now opened the center to be accessible to the community on a regular basis, and to continue the implementation of S.O.U.L. projects in this new location. Members of the community are excited to be able to visit the office at any time, and S.O.U.L. receives daily applications for the student sponsorship program from people in all of the surrounding villages.

The Iganga-based team has just finished their first round of student evaluations after the completion of Term 2 for sponsored students in the area. Students no longer need to travel the 40 kilometers to S.O.U.L.’s main office, but can now easily access the new office and approach the staff to ask questions. During their holidays, excited students came to the new office to draw, play games, and meet the new staff. 

The Iganga staff have recently visited each S.O.U.L. partner school in Iganga to check on the welfare of the students, and to introduce the new staff members to head teachers and school faculty. The staff members have also had the opportunity to go and visit the homes of each student sponsored by S.O.U.L. in the area to motivate and connect further with the families of those students. They have also recently held a successful Parents’ Committee Meeting, during which parents expressed their gratitude to the Foundation and their excitement for the continuing growth of new projects. As of last week, students have just begun their third and final term of the current school year and have returned to their studies.

This week also marks the planting of 3,800 trees in S.O.U.L. Foundation’s new eucalyptus tree garden in Iganga District. These trees will be carefully monitored over the next several years, and eventually harvested to raise funds for other S.O.U.L. programs. With the help of the S.O.U.L. staff members in Jinja and many volunteers from the surrounding area, this project took a full three days to complete!

The S.O.U.L. Iganga chicken groups have recently completed their training and are now making the final touches on their brooders and preparing for the first cycle of chicken raising. The women are busy creating budgets, reviewing the rearing process, and preparing their brooder for the arrival of 100 birds. During this first cycle, staff members will be there to guide the women through each step, with the eventual goal that they will be able to run their chicken business completely autonomously.

We are also recently celebrating the installation of a solar lighting system in the Iganga Community Center. These solar panels will bring power to the remote location of S.O.U.L.’s Iganga office and will pave the way for further development of solar power that will eventually run the Iganga computer lab. Community members are extremely excited about this project, and hope that with access to computer trainings they will be better prepared to find sustainable livelihoods after completing their education.

Thank you so much to the GlobalGiving community for the support needed to continue implementing these programs in S.O.U.L. Foundation’s Iganga branch. It is through the generous donations of many that our projects can continue to thrive and grow.

Installation of the new tree farm in Iganga
Installation of the new tree farm in Iganga
Students enjoy a holiday visit to the Center
Students enjoy a holiday visit to the Center

Links:

Jul 25, 2016

S.O.U.L. Expands Iganga Community Programs

Iganga cooperative learning about chicken feeds
Iganga cooperative learning about chicken feeds

Thanks to the hard work of the Iganga community, the S.O.U.L. Foundation staff, and our generous supporters, S.O.U.L.’s programs have successfully begun at our new four-room Community Center in Iganga! With the support of the GlobalGiving community, we have grown our Iganga student sponsorship program, kick-started our sustainable agriculture programs, and will soon move permanent staff members into our new space. We are so glad to be realizing this vision of the Iganga community members that is over two years in the making.

In the past few months, S.O.U.L. has successfully expanded its sponsorship program in Iganga, allowing more students to access education. We have partnered with six local schools, strengthening the existing education system and bringing students to schools closer to home. To date, S.O.U.L. Foundation has received over 300 additional applications for our sponsorship program, a testament to our continued partnership and the need for this program.

To support and direct our student sponsorship program, S.O.U.L. has formed a robust Iganga Parents’ Committee. The Committee meets throughout the year to outline guidelines for the acceptance of new students, discuss the development of the student sponsorship program, and propose new schools for S.O.U.L. to partner with in the community. Through this direct participation, parents become active and engaged stakeholders in their child’s education and the long-term success of the community. Together with S.O.U.L., parents are advocates for the holistic development of the community’s students.

The Community Center is also now home to expanded mentorship and sustainable food security programs. We began agricultural classes with our women’s chicken cooperatives in Iganga District this summer. These courses teach participants about chicken rearing practices and propel food security, nutrition, women’s empowerment, and economic security.

Joy, a member of one of our chicken cooperatives in Iganga, gave the following testimony on her experience in S.O.U.L.’s food security programs:

"My life is going to change and I am learning a lot. I am going to learn how to rear chickens which is going to improve on my way of living. After learning to rear chickens, I will become self motivated and with time to come I will start my own business of the same kind. And this will enable me to take my children to school, and also be able to save some money as a woman at home. I am so happy that this opportunity is in my village, and many women are going to enjoy these outcomes. This is the first group in the village, and everyone is now wanting to join the S.O.U.L. chicken groups because they have so many benefits from these groups. Thank you S.O.U.L. so so much! Webale Eno Eno (Thank you very very much)!"

Finally, S.O.U.L. will soon be moving permanent staff members into the new Iganga Community Center to increase our presence in Iganga, demonstrate our dedication to our projects, and learn as we continue our development partnership with the people of the Iganga community. Basit Ibanda, S.O.U.L.’s Field Coordinator, is originally from the Iganga area and had to leave for Jinja to go to school. When Basit was younger, his mother would take out loans to help Basit and his brother to attend school. Now, he is excited to return to Iganga to work alongside the community. With our continued partnership, we hope to help more people like Basit learn the skills they need to give back to their communities.

We want to sincerely thank the GlobalGiving community for your participation in making continued access to education for rural Ugandan youth possible! You are profoundly impacting the lives of the students, their families, other beneficiaries, and the Iganga community as a whole.

Agricultural class with a chicken cooperative
Agricultural class with a chicken cooperative
Chickens of an Iganga cooperative member
Chickens of an Iganga cooperative member
Namusubo Rehema, a S.O.U.L. Student in Iganga
Namusubo Rehema, a S.O.U.L. Student in Iganga

Links:

 
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