Oct 10, 2018

Supporting LGBTQ services in Uganda

Dear Donors, Thank you very much for your continued support.

From the very beginning of Mbarara Rise Foundation exactly two years and four months ago, we had four pragmatic and concrete priorities:

  • Economic empowerment
  • Offer better health care services with the help of partners and donors.
  • An LGBTQ community monthly peer program platform sharing and
  • Raising awareness campaigns on equal human rights for all.

All our programs have been accomplished in a relatively short period of time and we've done it all from cafes, couches, and one shared computer. As we aim to strengthen and increase the services we provide, we must acquire the proper tools.

We are very proud to report that we are on track with executing our priorities.

We will be training rural LGBTQ with safety and security measures to boost their skills as well as working with the whole community to improve and develop sustainable strategies, tactics and individual safety management approaches. In Uganda, LGBTQ people consistently face threats to their safety and security. Our goal is to equip over 120 LGBTQ individuals in rural Uganda with the skills and tools necessary to protect themselves.

We are looking forward to work on the rollout of a PrEP program, so as to reduce new HIV/AIDS infections among the LGBTQ people and regionally work on rural LGBTQ coordination. 

We processed an actively safe two roomed furnish office space for the staff, volunteers and LGBTI Community and its now operational. With your continued support, our office space will be equipped with the proper tools to advance our efforts to bring equal rights to our local LGBTQ community, a safe place for the LGBTQ to meet and share experiences.

Opening of the furnish space is our top priority for 2018. We hope to achieve more great things, since we have a safe space to carry out our work from.

“In this time of gratitude, we give thanks for you. We value your patronage and appreciate your confidence in us. Counting you among our donors is something for which we are especially grateful, you help us provide award-winning services to our clients, without your commitment, creativity, and high standards, we would not be the thriving nonprofit we are”. Our Executive Director. 

There are still many goals to meet, we hope that you will continue to partner with us in our commitment to achieve them:

  • The addition of the cake baking project to continue providing skills to the LGBTQ community.
  • Advocating for eqaul human rights for all. 
  • Staff trainings in capacity building programs.
  • Constant health care servies deliverly.
  • Creating safe spaces. 

In conclusion, we rely on the generosity of people like you to ensure the financial viability of MRF.  Any donation of any size will be extremely appreciated and will enable us continue operating.

Janet Mutesi  

Condom Dispensers for condoms distribution
Condom Dispensers for condoms distribution
Oct 10, 2018

Restoring safety and security in Uganda

Special Regards from MBARARA RISE FOUNDATION – UGANDA (MRF)

20 LGBTQ community members in Bushenyi District have been equipped with skills and knowledge on their safety and security.

Introduction and Background

Mbarara Rise Foundation (MRF) is a grassroots, community-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) organization based in Mbarara,western Uganda.Incorporated in Uganda in 2016, MRF isa registerednot-for-profit company limited by guarantee, bearing the registration number 80020000015131, MRF was formed in 2016 by a group of social activists and educators led by Raymond Twinamatsiko, who serves as MRF’s Executive Director. Experienced in the fields of development and social education, we have come together as MRF to give our services voluntarily, with the vision of a society that understands, appreciates and accepts diversity. MRF's mission is to foster a united voice for the rural, grassroots LGBTQ community in western Uganda, empowering and raising awareness on equal rights for all.

Through MRF lobbying and constant dialogues with health service providers, MRF has managed to bring on board The AIDS support oeganisation (TASO) to provide HIV health services to the LGBTQ in Mbarara district without discrimination and stigmatization. This Cleary shows MRF is on the right track towards the realization of human rights for all especially the right to health that has been nonexistent among LGBTI in western Uganda.

MRF has been able to train 149 LGBTQ youth in Cake baking and income generating activities. The training has resulted into formation of members gaining skills in bakery This project is supporting MRF members to experience real life experiences in starting businesses and also earning income for them and their family members. Under this project the organization is supporting and building the social economic capacity of the LGBTQ to become financially independent and overcome challenges of poverty and unemployment.

Thank you for your donations made on Global Giving, to fund a program that would train 120 LGBTQ people with safety and security skills and tools necessary to protect themselves in western Uganda that have consistently faced threats due to their perceived or real sexual orientation and gender identity.

Activity

120 LGBTQ will participant in this program, 20 LGBTQ will be selected in each of the six western districts. As the first of six trainings.

From 4th-5th October 2018 MRF carried out a two-day safety and security training in Bushenyi District for 20 LGBTQ participants, including 8 transgender men and 3 transgender women, 5 gay men and 4 lesbians. MRF Executive Director Raymond Twinamatsiko and Programs Director Janet Mutesi organized the training and were held at Busiime Gardens, a local meetings and conference center.

Topics and activities carried out during the training included an introduction to digital and physical safety, understanding rural working/living environment, Analyzing security incidents and threats, group work exercise on risk assessment and at the end of the second day, participants were able to develop sustainable strategies and tactics and individual safety management approaches. MRF staff engaged in an open discussion where lived life insecurities and threats were shared.

Mbarara Rise Foundation’s Programs Director Janet Mutesi carried out an ice breaker – getting to know each other and welcomed participants. MRF Executive Director Raymond Twinamatsiko gave his opening remarks and key note address

Objectives of the training included:

  • To equip community members with knowledge and skills necessary to enhance their personal and digital safety and security.
  • To enhance the LGBTQ knowledge and understanding of the concepts of security and their safety and security strategies.
  • To create safe working environment/space.
  • To discuss and lay practical strategies for better cooperation to further protect and promote safety and security for the rural LGBTQ in Uganda.

An initial challenge in implementing the training was the fact there was delay of donations to make this happen. We had planned to carry out both our first and second activities in early August. 

At the end of the first day, participants had acquired information, knowledge and skills on their safety and security.

The participants appreciated the training methodologies, particularly the structured learning experiences. These included the use of participants’ own examples and the sharing of their own experiences,

The safety and security training was most successful as at the end of a two day training, participants came up with a risk assessment tool, developed sustainable strategies and tactics and individual safety management approaches which will guide them in their daily to daily life.  

“If I have had a chance to be equipped with safety and security skills earlier, I couldn’t have been arrested by the police in February 2018”

Reuben, I renown pastor in bushenyi district explains his brutal arrest by the police which was a result of lacking knowledge about his personal safety as a gay man….. “It was evening hours around 17:45hrs when I and my best friend decided to take a nap in one of the lodges around mbarara town before heading to bushenyi, my home town. After 30 minutes when we had entered in the room, police came banged the door and entered forcefully. They brutally started beating me and my friend claiming to have been practicing homosexuality. We were later taken to the police station and spent their one week and later set free with no charges.    

Next Steps

20 trained participants will be given security tips on a monthly basis to continue guiding them on their daily to daily life and activities. MRF is hopeful that there will be reduction on insecurities and threats often results in feelings of depression or desperation, leading to members of our community developing suicidal thoughts.

As per our project, 5 additional safety and security training for 100 people are already planned and ready to be implemented provided enough support. That is, one training for 20 people in each of the districts of Mbarara, Ibanda, Ntungamo, Rukungiri and Kabale.

MRF continue working to save LGBTQ communities from causes like insecurities, poor education, poverty, unemployment, gender-based violence, human rights violations and lack of access to quality health care services. And all the credit goes to all of you. Thank you for supporting and empowering members of the LGBTQ community in rural Uganda! Your support and donations allow MRF to have a positive impact on the activities performed for the LGBTQ Community.

We thank you for your generosity in order to ensure the financial viability of MRF.  Any donation of any size will be extremely appreciated!

Thank you very much for your continued support!

Janet Mutesi

Aug 20, 2018

Empowering the LGBTQ people in Uganda

Our Ed receiving instructions from a trainee
Our Ed receiving instructions from a trainee

Dear Valued Donors,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer!

Mbarara Rise Foundation is excited to share its third report on Cake Baking Empowerment for the LGBTQ in Uganda. This program has been made possible thanks to your generous support.

Since launching the cake baking fundraising in November 2017, a total of 102 LGBTQ have been equipped with cake baking skills and management,

Topics and Activities

In May of 2018, our finance manager, Mr. Flavour Kamugasha visited five bakeries in Mbarara, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Ibanda and bushenyi districts to see participants interning at each of the local bakeries were doing. Flavour wanted document what challenges may have arose during their internships, and to get a sense of how many have found employment and started earning a living as a result of the cake baking project. Mr. Flavour kamugasha had a chance to engage in an open discussion with both the trainers and the participants where they shared ideas like startup of joint small-scale business.

During his follow-up visits, Mr. Flavour found that 100% of the program participants who were placed at local bakeries are on track to complete their internships by September. 

"Our Executive Director in mbarara at a local bakery were internsip is taking place, participanting in daily activities for the trainees https://youtu.be/ETkTiwgngUY " 

Achievements

Cake Baking Empowerment for the LGBTQ in  Uganda is making substantial progress towards its project objectives. Since launching this project we have trained 102 members of our target community in cake baking and bakery management skills. Participants have been able to increase their knowledge base and skill set in cake baking and bakery management, acquiring the skill necessary to overcome challenges of poverty and unemployment.

Out of the 102 program participants, 20 have found fulltime employment, that is Four have are working in bakeries in Bushenyi, three in Ibanda, five in Ntungamo, four in Mbarara, and four in Rukungiri.

Additionally, three participants in bushenyi have come up together with a joint scale cake baking business, one participant in Mbarara, Bushenyi and Ntungamo have also been able to start small-scale businesses. 

Next steps

Mr. Flavour, and others at Mbarara Rise Foundation will continue to track the progress of Cake Baking Empowerment for the LGBTQ in Uganda participants. We are excited to see trainees complete their internships in September, and we will work hard to secure fulltime employment opportunities for them.

Thank you so much for your support!

At Mbarara Rise Foundation we now provide economic empowerment and health care services to over 300 LGBTQI individuals. More than 40% of these youth who are LGBTQ are experiencing a lot of challenges due to family rejection, At least 9% have been involved in the cake baking empowerment project.

We are doing important work to support members of the LGBTQ community in Uganda, where small donations go along way! We have launched two new projects and we’d appreciate your continued support!

Safety and security for LGBTQ in Uganda: http://goto.gg/34114

Foster Change Agents in Uganda: http://goto.gg/34268

Thank you for honoring MRF’s work with your donation! We’re so glad to have you as part of Mbarara Rise Foundation community.

 

Warmly,

Janet Mutesi.
A trainee controlling a mixing machine
A trainee controlling a mixing machine
Already baked product - Daddies
Already baked product - Daddies
Designing a wedding Cake
Designing a wedding Cake

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