Brighter Futures for 65,000 Ugandan Girls

by Act4Africa
Rebecca
Rebecca

Its always humbling to learn of the impact that our project work can have. For young women like Rebecca  from Mayuge in Uganda it may be the first time they are able to discuss and share life skills.

Rebecca is 21 and recently attended a group training session conducted by Act4Africa:

“I don’t remember at any one time when my parents consulted me about any decisions related to either our family or myself. I have grown up used to the notion of my parents and relatives making decisions for me. Thus I have been in a position with no confidence to make certain decisions about my life.

However, Act4Africas training has empowered me to make informed and independent decisions on my own without letting anyone decide for me. Besides, I have been assisted to develop my personal goals that I should aim to work towards achieving them.

From today, I have now started to value my own self and am going to reach out to my fellow girls who have not be part of this training. It’s high time we girls took full and complete control of lives. This would be one way to prove to the world that we have what it takes to participate in all decisions and activities that make our lives better off, even more as compared to boys”.

The Act4Africa project team in Eastern Uganda had a brief break over the Christmas period but are now back in the field again and looking forward to a very productive 2016 .

Juliet training other young women in the community
Juliet training other young women in the community

Juliet is one of the "change agents" community mentors who Act4Africa have trained to reach other young women.

Juliet says: 

“I feel blessed to have been part of the training conducted by Act4africa. I   come from a family where it is sort of a taboo, for parents to speak to us about certain things especially things to do with sexuality.

As a girl, no one, not even my mother had ever opened up to me about facts to do with sex and life. So many other girls out there are the same. Because of that, it has always been hard for me to think about myself in terms of making informed decisions. This lack of information always makes us as girls, naive, innocent and eventually manipulated by men.

I have learned as a girl that I should have a goal to focus on and resist unhealthy exploits by men. My self-esteem and self-confidence have been built and I feel empowered to face certain challenges of the world especially girl related challenges like early/child pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, Manipulation by men, Inequality between boys and girls including access to information and rights  ”.

The things I have learned are worthy of sharing with others girls and I want to be an agent of change and speak with other girls. I also want to acknowledge the great change being done amongst us.

Brenda sharing a moment with other young mothers
Brenda sharing a moment with other young mothers

I love to hear how the work we do makes a difference to young lives so it was really great to get this recent feedback from our Ugandan girls and young womens project. Brenda is one of our Community Mentors and is active in her area as an "agent for change".This is her story:

“I am proud to have been part of the training organised by Act4africa. Impregnated at an early age, I thought all my dreams had been shattered and I would never be able to pursue my career again”.

Every one judged me for having got pregnant at such an early age when I was still at school. But through Act4Africa training, I was encouraged and consequently I was able to enroll back at school.I have been able to set my goals straight again and this time am more committed to working towards them without being deceived by any person whether men or my peers.

And as a teenage mother, I want to be an agent of change for other young girls and mothers in my community through training them about realities of their lives and encourage girls who have gone through similar situations as mine to forget their past mistakes rather use them as lessons for their future

“You realize majority of us make mistakes because we are innocent about our sexual lives or we have never been told about certain things concerning our lives by our parents or people around us. I want to give a better chance to young girls and mothers to be told the realities of their lives and I want to create more people like me in my community”

Over the next 6 months we will be training another 90 young women like Brenda as Community Mentors. We hope to bring you news of their progress in future reports.Thank you so much for your support. It makes a huge difference.

Rebecca sharing her skills with other girls
Rebecca sharing her skills with other girls

This update is about Rebecca one of the young women who are benefitting from your support:

Rebecca is aged 21 year, formerly student of Kakira High School and a beneficiary of Global Giving  implemented by Act4Africa Uganda

ActAfrica Uganda's team leader says: “Young Girls in rural Uganda have limited access to basic education and struggle to develop marketable personal and vocational skills. The education system is weak and combined with a lack of employment opportunities. This leaves young girls without skills or resources to fulfil their potential and increasingly vulnerable to exploitative and risky relationships.

Lack of hope and opportunity leads to high levels of school drop-out, teenage pregnancy, early marriage, exchange of sex for money and consequently HIV. As young girls struggle to navigate the years between adolescence and adulthood, little guidance is available to us and we have difficulty generating enough income to take control of our lives and remain above the poverty line. ”

Rebecca says: I want to thank Act4Africa for it has given us women a chance to learn basic life skills needed to sustain a successful and healthier life. Personally, I have been empowered to make informed decisions about my sexuality through learning basic facts of HIV/AIDS. I have also learnt to have personal goals and work hard towards them. Being part of the Act4Africa Program has also built my self esteem and confidence. And Consequently, I want to lead and inspire other young girls to pursue their goals and work towards them while avoiding the risks of getting HIV/AIDS through taking full control of their lives.

Through the training Rebecca has received she is now able to share the difference this has made to her with other girls and women in her community.

Rebecca teaching other girls
Rebecca teaching other girls
Rebecca
Rebecca
Namukose
Namukose

Delivering "brighter futures for girls" is an easy statement to make but not always as easy to achieve in practice. Thats why its good to hear the story of the difference Act4Africa is making to the lives of young women like Namukose, a 23 year old, former student of Tubalera Vocational Institute, who lives in Mpumude, Jinja District. She is one of the women we have trained to be a Community Mentor to help other girls in her village.

‘’Life isn’t easy when it comes to being a girl child in Uganda. And my also becoming a mother at such a tender age has also had its consequences as well. However, I thank Act4africa for training me in the skills which can enable us to sustain a good and healthier life. Most girls I know have been manipulated by men. This is due to the fact that we have poor life skills with no confidence and ability to resist. We lack information and are innocent about certain things that affect our lives. Personally I would like to take this opportunity to thank act4africa for this training. I feel am different person now with ability to inspire, lead and educate my fellow young girls. This experience has changed my mind towards life and sex. I have learnt that we as girls are just as capable and possess abilities to do whatever any boy child would do in all spheres of life. For example negotiating for safer sex. I want to inspire and empower my fellow young girls/mothers to be able to make better decisions and pursue their goals and dreams as well whether in school or out of school".

Namkose is in the photo passing on the life skills from her training to other young women and girls. Its training of trainers in action and it is bearing results in her community.

Thanks to your help and support this another life with a brighter future!

Namukose teaching young women in her community
Namukose teaching young women in her community

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Organization Information

Act4Africa

Location: Cheshire - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.act4africa.org/​
Project Leader:
Martin Smedley
Manchester, United Kingdom