Our Executive Director during the training
Report on the training of 80 additional LGBTQ community members.
CAKE BAKING SKILLS TRAINING FOR LGBTQ EMPOWERMENT
IN WESTERN UGANDA.
In December of 2017 Mbarara Rise Foundation embarked on a crowd funding fundraiser through the GlobalGiving platform to raise $5000 to empower its rural LGBTQ community members in Western Uganda through trainings in cake baking and bakery management.
MRF Executive Director Raymond Twinamatsiko and Programs Director Janet Mutesi organized all the trainings in four districts together with the facilitators from local bakeries. Two days training were conducted in each district at a respected venue.
Thank you for your generous contributions which made it possible for us to conduct our project activities successfully as planned.
The planned activities were to run in four Districts where we operate Mbarara, Rukungiri, Ibanda and Ntugamo for two months from March – May 2018.MRF partnered with bakeries to ensure that the trainings were professionally facilitated by resourceful and skilled persons.
Our target was to train 100 LGBTQ persons aged between 18 – 35 years from all the five Districts we serve and to ensure fairness in our community we agreed that gender balance was key across all the marginalized members. To achieve this we assigned each District 20 members. We also made sure that we balance the representation in terms of sexual identity. Of the 20 participants in each district, each letter was assigned 4 members- Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. The purpose of this was to close the gap of what would be seen as bias against a certain category of our community members.
In all the four trainings, Mbarara Rise Foundation’s Programs Director Janet Mutesi welcomed participants whereas the Executive Director Mr. Raymond Twinamatsiko gave opening remarks and a brief description of the cake baking project.
Our objectives for the trainings were to ensure that at the end of the day participants will be able to:
- Increase knowledge and skills in cake baking and bakery management.
- Improve household income.
- Provide life skills.
- Foster self-reliance.
- Increase job creation.
On 5th-6th of March we carried out training in Rukungiri overall number of registered participants was 20 and of these we had 6Lesbians, 3.Gays, 5 Bisexuals, 5Transgender and 1 Queer. Among the Trans genders we had 3 Transgender women and 2 transgender men.
7th to 8th we held our third training in Ntugamo district with 20 participants including 12 lesbians, 3 gay men, 1 bisexual man, 4 transgender women involved in a two days training.
iii. Ibanda district
26th to 27th we held our fourth training in ibanda district including 8 lesbians, 3 transgender men, 5 transgender women, 2 bisexual women and 2 gay men
iv. And on the 28th to 29th we held our fifth training in Mbarara district where he had a huge turn up of 22 participants for the training than the number we had budgeted for, participants included 5 lesbians, 9 gay men, 1 transgender man and 7 transgender women.
Overall the participants were in the age range of 18 - 27 years and from all districts, we had 31 lesbians, 17 Gay men, 8 both bisexual men and women, 25 both transgender women and men and I Queer person who will begin interning at local bakeries in each of the four districts to exercise their newly acquired skills to work. At the end of their internship we hope they will be able to start small scale businesses, acquire lifetime cake baking skills that will guide them to be self reliant. This means we would have increased income hold income levels and reducing unemployment under this initial project, the organization would have strengthened the social and economic capacity of the LGBTQ community to become financially independent and to overcome challenges of poverty and unemployment.
Topics and activities carried out during the training included an introduction to cake baking, baking hygiene and baking management, among others. Trainees had a chance to engage in an open discussion where they shared business ideas as a way to be self-reliant.
As initial challenge we encountered in implementing the bushenyi cake baking activity, were participants primarily spoke the local language of Runyankole, which required the use of a translator between facilitators and participants which future slowed down the dialogue. This time around we were able to identify facilitators who speak and are used of the beneficiaries local Language of Runyankole. This created equal and enjoyable participation during the training as the participants easily communicated with the facilitators and asked questions.
At the end of each of the first day, participants, facilitators and MRF met to evaluate the day’s activities and this allowed for feedback from the participants to the facilitators and MRF. The issues raised in these meeting were addressed during the next day’s session.
Among the training programs as per our evolution forms, the cake baking and bakery management skills was an active sessions for the participants compared to other programs like baking hygiene.
Just as the first 20 trained participants who are currently interning at a local bakery in bushenyi for a period of four months, also the 80 participants, that is 20 people in each of the districts of Mbarara,Ibanda, Ntungamo and Rukungiri will soon begin interning at their selected local bakeries to put their newly acquired skills to work and learn more professional skills. Upon completing their internships in period of four to six months, MRF is hopeful that over ten participants from four districts are likely to be full time employee of some bakeries and others will be able start their small scale business, based on the participants, they shared thoughts and ideas on what they are planning to do moving forward upon completing their internship like get self-employed, get employed.
We will do Follow ups, visiting the bakeries to see the progress of participants interning at each of their local bakeries and how many still turn up or completed their internships as well as trying to secure opportunities for them.
With your support, MRF will continue sensitizing the LGBTQ community about the importance of learning skills like cake baking, bakery management and entrepreneurship, as well as providing trainings. With these skills trainings, LGBTQ people are able to start businesses on their own, to be self-reliant, pay their bills and not be seen by society as waste products or mad persons as they always call us.
MRF-Uganda is Growing stronger & Better
- Through its lobbying and constant dialogues, MRF has managed to bring on board health care providers to provide health services to the LGBTQ in western Uganda without discrimination and stigmatization.
- MRF has been able to train over 149 LGBTQ youth in Cake baking and income generating activities reducing unemployment levels to 48.2% from 85%. The training has resulted into formation of members gaining skills in bakery and management.
- MRF has mobilized the rural LGBTQ community. Over 420 members now across western districts in Uganda.
- Have held several dialogue and meetings with members about health and rights + wellbeing.
- Documenting Gender Based Violence cases (GBV) and responding to them in all western parts of Uganda.9% GBV cases have been responded too.
- We have well trained peer leaders who bridge gaps btn health service providers and the LGBTIQ, MSM, Sex Worker communities, over 16%have accessed services, 1% refereed and on ART.
- We have built strong partnerships at both national and international levels.
Majority of the LGBTQ in western Uganda are unemployed and very much economically disenfranchised and the need for food, a place to live and paying house rents and bills overshadows the concern for safer sex and making them more desperate for money despite dangers of exposure. In sum, the project has succeeded in addressing the issue of poverty, poor numeracy skills and unemployment by means of community based training and local institutional capacity. Mbarara Rise Foundation identified and selected 100 beneficiaries in five districts i.e. 20 LGBTQ in each district namely, Mbarara, Ibanda, Rukungiri, Ntugamo and busenyi. In total over 100 LGBTQ have been trained and equipped with Cake baking skills and management skills.
The Project is making Substantial progress towards the achievement of the strategic development objectives, as evidenced by its results, benefits to target groups and impact to date, the project has trained 100 beneficiaries in Cake bakery and management.
We identified 2 skilled trainers in each of the five different districts from different cake bakeries who trained participants the basics and preparations to a successful cake baking and management, 100 LGBTQ identified and selected from five districts have been equipped with Knowledge and skills in cake bakery and management, We have improved house hold income for some participants. Only one of 100 participants who are so far interning at their respected local bakeries has so far been employed at a local bakery in bushenyi district to bake bridal cakes.
“I have been unemployed for the last two years, had it not been acquiring cake baking skills from the cake empowerment project of MRF, I would still be unemployed” says Benjamin
The organization faced some challenges in the course of the three months of implementing the project.
Finances: Our initial budget was to cater for 100 LGBTQ community members but we noticed that there is need for training of new members.
Language: Most of our participants are illiterate or semi illiterate and they preferred or understood the local or mother tongue better – Runyakole /Rukiga. The facilitators had difficulty explaining certain baking vocabulary into the local language and some facilitators were not able to conduct the training in the local language.
Because of this some, the facilitators rose in costs as we had to identify or transport a bilingual facilitator.
Demand: There is still high demand from members to get trained and yet the organization had only budgeted for 100 participants, we preferred the small number because it’s easy to train and also monitor progress so as to evaluate the effectiveness of the training and that’s why we selected 20 participants from each of the five districts.
Literacy: With evidenced data about the rural LGBTQ people, some of the participants never knew how to read and write which nearly slowed down participations during the cake baking facilitation but later identified local Trainers who speak and used to our Ruynakole language.
As an LGBTQ community we go through a lot of struggle in a country that criminalizes same sex relations and actions. Punishes us and denies us our rights to live freely express ourselves freely and love those who we chose to. We are faced with challenges of being disowned by families , ending our education , losing jobs and we only have hope in empowering ourselves to become employers or self employed.
During a group work facilitation