Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls

by The River Fund
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
Feed, Educate, Empower Acholi Women and Girls
In the bean garden!
In the bean garden!

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT WOMEN ASSOCIATION is a Community Based organization established in 2006. Its office is situated at Christ the King parish, Kitgum Town Council, Kitgum district, Uganda. It has a total membership of 30 women who have volunteered to help sensitize and restore hope to the traumatized community (orphans, child headed families, people affected with HIV/Aids) as well as improve the nutrition of malnourished children.

Key focus areas of intervention include; Training People Living With Aids (PLWAs) on long term Survival skills, Care of malnourished children through providing food stuff, Counseling of married couples on coping with the Aids pandemic situation in their families, Home visits of PLWA, Educating mothers on providing proper and balanced nutrition using locally available resources and Initiating livelihood and economic strengthening schemes for PLWA that do not demand too much energy.

Activities this quarter

1. Gender community education.

We acknowledge that to combat HIV/Aids, the social relations within the community is very important for the intervention to succeed. Being an organization with the value of justice and equal enjoyment of rights, we embarked on gender sensitization and education of the community through drama and discussion. The group moved to chapels which is an organized Catholic Church structure in the community. The group moved out to 4 chapels of Dure, Oryang Ojuma, Okidi and Akworo all in Amida Sub-county, Kitgum District and conducted 4 community ensitization/education. The exercise had an average attendance of 100 people per session, an equivalent of 400 people were reached.

2. Food Security Intervention.

At River Fund Kitgum, we integrate food security activities into our HIV/Aids work.HIV accounts for the low life expectancy in Uganda and reduced labour supply to the agricultural sector as reported by FAO in its state of food security in the world report. Northern Uganda faces a bigger problem of acute food insecurity being a post conflict region. In our intervention, 6 beneficiaries’ groups with an average number of 15 members per group which is an equivalent of 90people as direct beneficiaries and a trickle down benefit to 8 people per household reaching to720 indirect beneficiaries received beans seeds which are an effort to contribute to a reduction of the food insecurity at the household level.

All these were made possible with the continuous support from the Global Giving and the River Fund. It is our sincere appreciation for your endless love and service to the poor and those in need.

Our plan is to reach out to as many people in the community as possible but all is dependent on funding possibilities and as such he River Fund Kitgum is sending out proposals to other prospective funding agencies.

A drama session in the rural community
A drama session in the rural community
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Pandwong Primary School kids with new supplies
Pandwong Primary School kids with new supplies

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT WOMEN ASSOCIATION is a Community Based organization established in 2006. Its office is situated at Christ the King parish, Kitgum Town Council, Kitgum district, Uganda. It has a total membership of 30 women who have volunteered to help sensitize and restore hope to the traumatized community (orphans, child headed families, people affected with HIV/Aids) as well as improve the nutrition of malnourished children.

Key focus areas of intervention include; Training Women Living With Aids (PLWAs) on long term Survival skills, Care of malnourished children through providing food stuff, Counseling of married couples on coping with the Aids pandemic situation in their families, Home visits of PLWA, Educating mothers on providing proper and balanced nutrition using locally available resources and Initiating livelihood and economic strengthening schemes for PLWA that do not demand too much energy. 

This report is on activities carried out in the month of April to May 2014.

ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT.

  1. Support to children in school.

25 HIV+ school going children were supported in fees, school uniforms and scholastic materials this second school term. The support is made for the entire school calendar. The children will be visited and talked to find out other challenges that might be affecting their performance in class. This will inform other intervention for supporting the children to perform better.

  1. Support to 25 extremely poor households with HIV+ Children with food items like sugar, posho, beans, and other items to boost their food stock in the house. This activity is one of the key aims of the Association which is to care for malnourished children through providing food stuff. Each household received 10 kgs of posho, 05kg of sugar and beans, and 2litres cooking oil. Many more children shall be identified for support to combat malnutrition and other opportunistic diseases which may result from malnutrition.

Lessons learnt.

Many children are incapacitated to access basic education due to poverty and health related problems. Most of them are orphaned and being taken care of by grandparents who cannot also provide for themselves due to economic hardships.

Provision of scholastic materials is essential but many caregivers prefer to receive support in fees other than books or uniforms saying they are not able to earn anything to pay fees which is considered too high for their level of income.

Households of elderly persons are more prone to diseases like malnutrition for the children due to their lack of energy to engage in activities that require much energy to earn income for food provision. This leaves the family to depend on a meal a day which is not adequate for proper growth for the children.

Plan for coming quarters.

  1. Conduct data collection on malnutrition and early childhood development. This will inform the project intervention strategies for effective service delivery to the beneficiaries. Instead of focusing solely on children, the program shall consider the entire family or household as the programming unit. Though services offered by implementing agencies varied, the focus here shall generally covered health and nutrition; education, vocational skills training, and life skills; household economic strengthening and psychosocial support;
  2. Train caregivers on cereal production and nutritional food provision. This is aimed at strengthening the capacity of families to protect and care for orphans and vulnerable children.
  3. Identify OVC (girls) for support in secondary education. Data collection done in three schools in the district indicates that many secondary school going girls are forced out of school due to challenges that they cannot overcome. Many cannot afford fees as most of them are orphaned to HIV/AIDs and the LRA conflict.
New school supplies
New school supplies
Children enjoying sunflower seeds
Children enjoying sunflower seeds
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Participants at a session on children's rights
Participants at a session on children's rights

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT WOMEN ASSOCIATION is a Community Based organization established in 2006. Its office is situated at Christ the King parish, Kitgum Town Council, Kitgum district, Uganda. It has a total membership of 30 women who have volunteered to help sensitize and restore hope to the traumatized community (orphans, child headed families, people affected with HIV/Aids) as well as improve the nutrition of malnourished children.

Key focus areas of intervention include; Training Women Living With Aids (PLWAs) on long term Survival skills, Care of malnourished children through providing food stuff, Counseling of married couples on coping with the Aids pandemic situation in their families, Home visits of PLWA, Educating mothers on providing proper and balanced nutrition using locally available resources and Initiating livelihood and economic strengthening schemes for PLWA that do not demand too much energy.

This report is on activities carried out 1st quarter, 2014 in the month of January to March.

  1. Support to children in School.

This quarter with the beginning of the new school calendar, the project supported 30 (thirty) disadvantaged children with scholastic materials, and uniforms to contribute to their stay in School. The children most of whom are in their lower primary of education will receive these kinds of support through to term III of the 2014 school calendar.

      2. Training of care givers on Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Long Term Survival Skills.

To empower the women and girls, the project conducted training in Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Long Term Survival Skills (LTSS) to 150 care givers. The training highlighted the key areas of child’s survival amidst HIV/AIDS and poor nutrition. Other important component covered topics of children’s rights and the various roles and responsibilities of parents, care givers and the children.

Lessons learnt.

There are many cases of child abuse and neglect especially of Children with health related problems like HIV/AIDs. Many Parents look at them as children who can never achieve in life. This has also led to some children running away from home to live with other relatives or move from friend and to friends.

With the support for education, many children are keeping out of school due to lack of fees or scholastic materials as most parents are taking to alcohol consumption other than meet the children’s needs.

What did not work well?

There project was not able to support the children in terms of fees payment. With more than three pending activities yet to be carried out the available fund was not enough to cater for fees. The children will be supported in Scholastic materials this school calendar.

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Newly formed "children living positively" group
Newly formed "children living positively" group

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT ASSOCIATION, KITGUM.

Project Name:  LIVELIHOOD SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS (PLWAs).

Project Area: KITGUM DISTRICT, KITGUM TOWN COUNCIL, AMIDA, LATANYA SUB-COUNTIES.

Project Period:  SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER, 2013

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT WOMEN ASSOCIATION is a Community Based organization established in 2006. Its office is situated at Christ the King parish, Kitgum Town Council, Kitgum district, Uganda. It has a total membership of 30 women who have volunteered to help sensitize and restore hope to the traumatized community (orphans, child headed families, people affected with HIV/Aids) as well as improve the nutrition of malnourished children.

Key focus areas of intervention include; Training People Living With Aids (PLWAs) on long term Survival skills, Care of malnourished children through providing food stuff, Counseling of married couples on coping with the AIDS pandemic situation in their families, Home visits of PLWA, Educating mothers on providing proper and balanced nutrition using locally available resources and Initiating livelihood and economic strengthening schemes for PLWA that do not demand too much energy.

This report is on activities carried out this 4th quarter, 2013.

ACTIVITIES.

1. Training on Village Saving Loan Association and Record keeping.

A two day training of seven groups of the beneficiaries supported by the Association was conducted from 9th-10th December 2013.The participants were drawn from all the project areas. A total of 77 people attended with the ratio of women 71:06 men.

The methodology used varied from lectures; group work and plenary, pictorial and discussions for extensive learning which participatory approach was.

The training objectives were:

To empower the beneficiaries on saving and loaning activities through the practice and involvement in VSLA which is group managed.

To introduce and explain the basics of record keeping and skills for proper management of their income generating activities.

The participants were taken through the objective of VSLA which is to create financial services for the rural marginalized and vulnerable communities through groups, its benefits and limitations. The aspect of leadership and conflict management are among other important VSLA principles.

In record keeping, the beneficiaries were introduced to the basic record keeping practices and its importance in their daily lives and in managing their small scale businesses. They were taken through the daily sales record book, expenditure record, and weekly profit calculations among other simple books of record.

2. Identification and selection of more beneficiaries.

Three more groups of young positives (children living positively) have been identified for support. The children will be supported with scholastic materials, and other requirements to see them through in school this school calendar. A total of 30 children have been identified from Pandwong Parish in Kitgum town council, Oryang Ojuma in Amida sub-county and Lamola Parish in Amida sub-county with 10 children per parish.

The identified beneficiaries are bundled into groups of 10 members each making a total of four groups. Home visits were made to ascertain their level of need and to verify their treatment numbers. As such, all identified beneficiaries are enrolled in ART. Some are still on septrine while others are now on full complete ART. The children will be mentored and their parents enrolled in home base care services for close monitoring of the children’s progress in school and in their health conditions.

The households will further be supported with livestock (goats) for the household income security and for sustainability plan in case the project ends after one year.

All the formed groups have files opened for them at the River Fund Association office in which each group’s members list, report and activities are filed for record purposes.

3. Monitoring of the group activities.

The groups that received 5 goats have now shared the goats among themselves after the goats’ multiplied. They are continuing to monitor each other to ensure that the goats are not sold yet but reared to multiply for the benefit of the household.

Some of the groups have initiated their own farming activities like Walegu lacwec group in Lamola who planted beans had two sacks from the harvest and Dicwinyi women group from Parabongo Parish, Kitgum town council who have begun on sale of beans as their income generating activity.

Some groups would like to expand on the goat rearing activities as their own business by buying more goats for rearing e.g Kati Woko Con Ber group in Dure Pader district. The initiative will be funded by the group’s interest realized from their VSLA activity after end of saving cycle.

Lessons learnt:  Any activity with the involvement of the community and beneficiaries are bound to achieve beyond expected outcome as evidenced by the groups initiating their own IGAs after realizing that they may not access support from the Association for ever.

Way forward:  Organize more training in cross cutting issues like gender, gender based Violence, Human Rights and health rights of PLWA.

More support will be given in farm inputs like seeds, trainings on farming practices and post harvest management to ensure food security in their households.

Group work in progress
Group work in progress
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Welcoming our visit
Welcoming our visit

Dear Global Giving Friends and Donors,

I am so sorry for the late report, but I just returned from a fantastic site visit to our projects in Uganda. Along with two other volunteers, we visited all of our rural projects and all of the small groups associated with the projects including a very grueling trip to Kitgum. Everyone is doing amazing work with very little. We continue to support childrem, mostly orphaned or other vulnerable children, including child headed households, widows, disabled people and the old and alone.

The Acholi River Fund Women's Association group is facing very difficult situation daily. Thankfully, the war is over and people have returned to what was left of their homes. There are many land ownership issues currently left over from nearly 20 years of people not being at home. During the war, Kitgum and the whole Acholi region had many many international NGO's living and working in the area with support for all facets of life ... from World Food Program rations and food to help with PTSD for returning child soldiers. There were programs for women and girls, more medical care etc. At the present time almost every NGO has left Kitgum which has had a profound effect on the people. First, many people were employed directly or indirectly as hotel and restaurant workers, drivers, aids etc. The hotels are now empty as are the restaurants.

In spite of this, the group has continued to support woman headed groups in and around very rural Kitgum. Please note that the drive just to get to Kitgum takes 3.5 - 4 hours to travel about 70 miles depending on whether in the rainy or dry season. Many of the groups gardens are a mile or two from the road as in the days when people (mostly women) tended their gardens during the war to avoid rebel fighters. Often, there is no electricity in town.

The River Fund women help to support six groups of 10 or more women in the region.

  •  provide goats to the most vulnerable families as an incentive for raising funds and to provide milk and meat
  •  taught about and provided seeds for kitchen gardens for improved nutrition
  •  micro-finance managed by each group so that a woman can "borrow" small funds
  • counseling for those with HIV/AIDS including home visits
  • provided training in:  agriculture, animal husbandry, long term survival skills for HIV/AIDS
  • taught mothers and group leaders how to prepare the most highly nutritious food for malnourished babies and children including how to measure and assess nourishment and good health

They are so grateful for the help of all of our faithful donors, as am I.

Thank you!

Long walk to the garden
Long walk to the garden
Visiting a garden
Visiting a garden
Project goats
Project goats
On the road to Kitgum
On the road to Kitgum
Really cute baby part of the welcoming team!
Really cute baby part of the welcoming team!
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Organization Information

The River Fund

Location: Sebastian, Florida - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Jaya Canterbury-Counts
Executive Director
Sebastian, Florida Uganda
$8,650 raised of $10,000 goal
 
225 donations
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