Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda

by Act4Africa
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda
Support 225 adolescent mothers to thrive in Uganda

At the initiation of the health and well-being project in April 2021, most Adolescent Mothers had given up on life, knowing nothing good could ever come out of them. Society termed them as useless, good for nothing, and misfits. For the first months of our engagement with the Adolescent Mothers, there was always a sense of sadness, and hopelessness that was visible on their faces, but also more worrying were the confessions of suicidal thoughts that for a long time had been hanging on their minds. As a result of their past experiences, interaction with one another was difficult, they had no love for their children and always turned their frustration to them. Some of their marriages were on the verge of failing because they did not acknowledge or value the essence of marriage as it seemed not to make any meaning to them anymore.

Lives are transformed

By phase-out of the first cohort of Adolescent Mothers, the stories of the vast majority had changed. They started to value and positively look at themselves. This positive outlook and value for themselves brought a gradual change which led to starting to witness and the same time leading one thing into another, for example; 1) Self-drive in setting up goals for themselves 2) Positive interaction amongst themselves 3) Reduction in Gender-based violence in their homes 4) Reconciliation in their families. 5) Value and respect for their marriages and love for their children. 6) Taking up leadership roles in the community. We further witnessed that this gradual change in the lives of adolescent mothers not only led to the above-mentioned but also led to a sharp increase in the change of their mindsets and perception of life thus leading to the birth of small businesses that are currently led and owned by the adolescent mothers themselves.  Many were delivered from emotional agony that they had for long been experiencing, and hope was restored to a majority of the adolescent mothers. The stories as told by parents and spouses of adolescent mothers were testament to the transformation they had undergone. Below are just some of the many testimonies shared by parents during the phase-out ceremony.

"Before coming to Act 4 Africa, my daughter had been emotionally tortured having conceived at the age of 12. She was too reserved and unable to strike up a conversation with anyone. She can now not just smile, but also communicate with others, thanks to the discussions she has had with her teachers. I owe Act 4 Africa a debt of gratitude for the near-impossible work they did in my daughter." One parent stated.

"My daughter was always bitter and enraged, which led her to constantly beat up her child." She learned to control her anger after joining Act 4 Africa, and she even began educating me about being a good mother and other teachings from her trainers. My daughter even went back to school after such a lengthy period of hopelessness. May God bless Act 4 Africa for making such a significant contribution to our lives." Narrated a mother to one of our Adolescent mothers.

More to that, we are getting ambassadors of change. One example is Zahara, an adolescent mother who after returning to school, started a reproductive health club to convey a message to fellow adolescents to remain in school, abstain and avoid teenage pregnancy among others. In addition, through the network of self-help groups created, there is peer-to-peer support where adolescent mothers share their mental health challenges and together find solutions to address them. These adolescent mothers have become role models to other adolescents in the communities who have seen the transformation they have undergone.

Welcoming the second cohort of adolescent mothers.

On 12th April 2021, Act 4 Africa welcomed the second cohort of 120 Adolescent Mothers who just like the first cohort are struggling with complex mental health-related challenges that include rejection, ridicule, stigma, torture, physical and emotional abuse, yet they have no voice.

In addressing some of the complex challenges that are associated with the current cohort of Adolescent Mothers, we designed a tool that captures their personal stories to get to the depth of things that have over time made them lead miserable lives so that they can be helped depending on their individual needs. We have cases of rape and defilement, two mothers with disabilities, and two mothers whose babies are not only severely malnourished but also have other disabilities. Working in partnership with a child health specialist, these babies have been linked to health facilities for nutritional support and regular physiotherapy. The team is also working to build the self-esteem of these adolescent mothers and encouraging them to love, accept and support their children and follow the instructions of the medical personnel attending to them, as this will help them get better.

Our sexual reproductive health and mental well-being sessions with this new cohort started in April and are currently running. The sessions covered so far are;1) Introduction to take the new entrants through what is to be covered, be covered 2) Identifying emotions 3) Risk of sexual relationships, and 4) Your story among others. Through these sessions, adolescent mothers are given a platform to share their individual stories, dreams and lessons learnt. Through narrating their experiences and fears, some of them feel a little lifted off the pain they have been carrying and hope to be completely released as the journey continues. Their confidence is steadily improving, and some who were very reserved have started to associate with others. We are looking forward to seeing the best come out of this new cohort through the psychosocial support offered by Act 4 Africa.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey of making a difference in the lives of these young mothers.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Young Mothers Enjoying Self-Esteem Session
Young Mothers Enjoying Self-Esteem Session

At Act4Africa, our dedicated local team in Mayuge, Uganda continue to support Adolescent Mothers facing multiple life challenges to overcome barriers and build better lives for themselves and their families. Young mothers join the programme often feeling isolated, dejected, and have a very negative view of themselves. Most of them have suffered abuse and all of them live in poverty. At Act4Africa, they are met with warm and acceptance. They become part of a community, a valued member of the group. They take part in mental health support sessions, sharing their struggles and hearing compassion in response. They receive sexual and reproductive health training to help them gain control over their reproduction. They are coached in healthy relationship building, and they are provdied with parenting advice. 

The results of this programme are staggering! We have seen broken families reunited. We have seen abusive husbands stop breating their wives, and instead speak of them with pride at community events. We have seen young mothers stop abusing their children, and instead treat them with love and kidness. We have seen yoiung women return to school, having saved up funds from their own microbusinesses to pay their own school fees. We have seen young mothers start their own businesses during the most challenging of times - even during the Covid19 lockdown. These young mothers are now earning a living, feeding their children, and they are beaming with pride. 

How has this been achieved? Through genuine love and support, and most importantly through helping the young mothers to believe in themselves. They are not victims of their circumstances, they are the ceators of their own destinies, they are the heros in their own story. 

Very soon we will be launching The Strong Mother's Club, a new opportunity for you to be a part of this story. Through a monthly donation, you can change the life of more young mothers in Uganda. You can be a hero too. 

Thank you so much for all of you who already contribute to this vital work - we couldn't do it without you!

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
20th Anniversary
20th Anniversary

Act4Africa is celebrating our 20th Year in November, and you are invited to celebrate with us! 

We would like to personally invite you to our virtual celebration on Saturday 20th November at 12pm GMT via Zoom. Our 20th celebration with a virtual tour of Uganda, will bring our community from across the world together to reflect and celebrate all we have achieved. We are excited to bring you something a little different this year, and we hope that you can join us. 

Through your generous giving you are helping to give young women and children access to a brighter future. Over the last 20 years Act4Africa has changed attitudes, transformed communities, and saved lives across East Africa. Over the last 20 years, we have:

  • Provided holistic health and vocational training to hundreds of vulnerable adolescent mothers (see case study below)
  • Provided quality early-years’ education to over 100 children at Kathy’s Kindergarten
  • Trained over 600 healthcare workers and young people to teach others about gender equality and sexual health
  • Provided life skills, financial literacy and business enterprise skills to over 9000 disadvantaged women and girls
  • Supported 13 girls since 2018 to progress through higher education as part of our Grow A Girl programme
  • Provided almost two million people with HIV/AIDS and sexual health awareness training
  • Through Grains for Growth, we provided agriculture training for 35 small-holder farmers, increasing their ability to feed their families and earn an income

We could not have delivered our projects without your support, which has given the greatest gift of all to the people of Uganda, the gift of a better life. We would love to celebrate with you on Saturday 20th November 12 at 12:00 GMT, if you can join us please RSVP by Monday 1st November via emailing admin@act4africa.org.uk

Case Study: Amina

Amina is currently taking part in the Act4Africa programme for Adolescent Mothers which provides mental health support, sexual and reproductive education, and vocational training. Her life has been transformed through her interactions with her peers and the caring Act4Africa staff. 

Amina, 20 years old, is a married mother of 4 children

Amina was married at the age of 15 to a man who used drugs. Amina’s husband was violent and abused her. The couple lived with the husband’s parents and they did not intervene in the abuse – they said it was due to Amina’s behaviour and they didn’t recognise or admit that the husband was using drugs. Amina felt a lot of stress, and had no support. Looking back on it, she says she was traumatised. She had been suffering from debilitating head-aches and taking painkillers everyday. She even sought medical care from the hospital as the headaches were so severe. These headaches may have been a physical manifestation of the stress Amina was experiencing.

During the Act4Africa session on Stress Management, Amina said her heart was touched and she realised she wanted to come out of the abusive situation she was in. After learning about stress management and self-care, Amina made some changes in her life. She began to take care of herself and value herself, internalising the positive affirmations provided by Act4Africa staff and peers in the programme. As a result she says she is a better mother and wife now, and amazingly her husband also changed his ways. After discussing their life situation with the Act4Africa team, he decided to stop using drugs, and he stopped beating Amina. He has spoken with pride at community meetings about how his life, and the life of his family, has improved as a result of the programme. Amina has also stopped beating her children and has learned better ways to express herself and manage feelings of stress. Amazingly, her headaches, which were once nearly constant, have completely disappeared. 

Through the Act4Africa programme, Amina has become a leader and an influential member of her community. She has started her own business selling food items and is so proud to be able to provide for her family. In sessions at Kathy’s Centre, Amina really enjoys tailoring skills training and she helps her peers – organising the other young mothers to keep their work environment clean, and she helps others with tailoring skills when they need a hand. Amina’s life has been fundamentally transformed, and now her talents can shine through. We can see that she will be a great change agent in her community.

Thank you for supporting this life changing work!

 

 

 

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
A young mother& her baby at Act4Africa's Centre
A young mother& her baby at Act4Africa's Centre

Thanks to the generous donations from our GlobalGiving supporters and others, over the past four months Act4Africa's dedicated local team has provided holistic support to 100 vulnerable young mothers, and reached out to their families and wider community in Mayuge District, Uganda, even during the most difficult of times. Covid19 is once again hitting Uganda hard, causing hospitals to overflow, oxygen supplies to run out, and normal life to grind to a halt.

Starting in April, our team took every precaution to ensure that the young mothers in our program could attend sessions at our center in a Covid-safe way. In total, 100 young mothers met outdoors with their babies in the grounds Kathy's Centre (Act4Africa's base) in groups of 20 per day, taking part in uplifting mental health and wellbeing sessions, as well as empowering sexual and reproductive health lessons. Many of these young mothers are survivors of sexual abuse and trauma, and we are blessed to be in a position to speak life-affirming messages of love and hope into their lives. For these young women who have been isolated and sidelined due to the stigma of unintended pregnancy, finding a new group of friends has been deeply healing. True and lasting friendships between the young women are forming as they encourage one another to reach the goals they have set in their own lives, and support one another to heal from past wounds.

At Act4Africa we understand that community is everything, so in addition to empowering the young mothers themselves, our team also reached out to each of their families. In May, through honest and at times emotionally charged conversations, our team gently began a process of reconciliation between young mothers and their parents and partners, mending broken relationships and ensuring everyone in their family group understood how and why we were intervening in their lives.

Relationships of mutual respect are being formed and reinforced between the Act4Africa team and the community in Mayuge. In June, growing speculation of a new national lock-down spurred our team to act quickly to inform the community of the particular dangers girls and women face during lock-down conditions, hoping to prevent the compound tragedy of crisis pregnancy during a time of societal upheaval. On 10th June, the Act4Africa team held a one-hour radio program on Mayuge FM, the most popular local station, reaching 5,000 listeners, compelling parents to look out for their adolescent daughters to prevent another spike in unintended pregnancy as was seen during the first lock-down in 2020. During the final 15 minutes of the program, 15 eager listeners called into the show, thanking our team for the care and support we are providing for vulnerable young mothers, and imploring us to expand our work to neighboring districts.

The very next day, a second national lock-down was announced. The strict stay-at-home order began on Friday 11th June, scheduled to last for 42 days. During these 6 long weeks families who were already living hand to mouth at the edge of extreme poverty were plunged into destitution, unable to earn and income or access food. Families who grow crops on small plots outside of their own communities were not able to travel to harvest their crops - so they stayed at home starving while the food rotted in their fields. Starvation and malnutrition is widespread as a result. Now that the travel restrictions have finally eased, our team are busy preparing emergency food and hygiene supply parcels for each of the 100 young mothers and their families - helping to rebuild their physical strength after a terrible period of hunger.

Our team are eagerly awaiting the day in mid-August when the young mothers once again return to our center to start building their future plans with our love and support. Thank you for helping us to changes the lives of these precious young women and their families. We couldn't do it without you!

Quotes from 3 of the young mothers in our program:

Maureen says "This program defines a new beginning in my life with my two children."
Nubuwati's dreams had been shattered by the cruel actions of others but she said after attending Act4Africa empowering sessions "I must become the woman I desire to be and nothing can stop me".
Mariam rejoices and celebrates by saying "I have found the people that have been missing in my life, my pieces are being gathered and my future is assured."

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Over the nine years that we have crowdfunded through GlobalGiving for our Ugandan Girls Thrive project, the needs of one particularly vulnerable group of out-of-school girls have been regularly highlighted. Child mothers.

Child Marriage (marriage below the age of 18 years) remains a widespread practice across many cultures in Uganda.  In 2012, 49% of girls were married by the age of 18 (UBOS and ICF International Inc.). These problems of high rates of early pregnancy are significantly amplified in rural districts such as Mayuge, Eastern Uganda, especially since the COVID-19 lockdown.  In Mayuge, child mothers as young as 12 are particularly marginalised. They suffer from significant stigmatisation, social isolation & poor mental wellbeing, often resulting in suicidal tendencies.

Child mothers in Mayuge often have little to no education & no access to basic services or support mechanisms. Social isolation, economic vulnerability, and lack of access to healthcare prevent healthy transitions from girlhood to womanhood in this low-resource community. In Mayuge, vulnerable adolescent mothers are hard hit by all aspects of poverty & are at high risk of gender-based violence, further unintended pregnancies & HIV. They are forced to drop out of school, are unable to find employment, they lack the ability to make independent decisions, & are not being reached by existing programs.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce that Act4Africa have been awarded a Small Charities Challenge Fund grant from UK Aid Direct to work with this community.  The aim of the two-year project is to improve the well-being & health of 225 adolescent mothers in Mayuge District, Eastern Uganda. Working with them, local health workers and the wider community, we aim to facilitate an improvement in the girls’ mental well-being and provide them with increased control over their sexual and reproductive health.  They will be formed into small self-help groups to promote peer support, emotional wellbeing, access to local government health and social services & develop a collective voice to advocate for their needs.

Our initial consultations with this community of young mothers have led to an identification of a further need, beyond their mental and physical well-being.  As we discuss and design the programme with the girls, the type of economic and enterprise training we have delivered to many out-of-school girls through your donations to our GlobalGiving project, has been identified as a valuable addition.

When our field officers spoke to Cissy (18), she had given birth 5 days before.

’We are a very young couple that was only driven by the pressures of teenage hood and little did we ever know that we would find ourselves in the circumstances that we find ourselves in today: two children now, no money to take care of ourselves, no place to stay or call home other than here where we are being looked after and taken care of by the mother to my husband. There are a lot more of other challenges, but on the other hand we are hoping that Act4Africa’s new program will help girls like me to acquire vocational skills like which help me find employment and be able to take care of my family’’.

We are very grateful for your ongoing support and hope that over the next two years your donations will help us co-produce a vocational programme with these adolescent mothers, to run alongside our exciting new mental well-being initiative.

We look forward to bringing your more news on this soon.

Cissy (18) a young mother with 2 children
Cissy (18) a young mother with 2 children

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Act4Africa

Location: Teddington, Middlesex - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ACT4AFRICA
Project Leader:
patrick kigongo
Mayuge Town Council, Busoga Uganda
$25,455 raised of $50,000 goal
 
592 donations
$24,545 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Act4Africa has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.