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
Kono Group after receiving support
Kono Group after receiving support

Key focused areas of intervention include; Training People Living With Aids (PLWA) 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.

In 2011, the Association identified the most vulnerable household of women living with HIV/AIDs and supported them with 10 goats (5 goats) per group to boost the economic wellbeing and household nutrition. Two women groups were supported with a total of 20 members, 10 per group.
This year 2012, 7 more groups have been enrolled for support. 1 for children living positively and 6 groups for women. This report is on activities carried out this quarter (September-December, 2012) in the 6 parishes of Amida, Kitgum Town Council Sub-counties and Dure in Pader district. Activities carried out include:

1. Assessment
The identified beneficiaries are bundled into groups of 10 members each making a total of four (4) 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.
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. To differentiate them, each group has identified their group’s name. Here are some names of the groups. Kati Woko Con Ber group from Dure, Nge Yot Komi group from Oryang Ojuma, Walegu Lacwec group from Lamola, and In kono group from Koch.

2. Support to the beneficiaries.
All the 40 beneficiaries, formed into groups were given goats for them to rear and share among themselves when the number increases from the 5 that they have received. This is aimed at building the asset base of the households to boost their household income. The idea behind group formation is also to enable the beneficiaries to support each other in times of difficulties and emotional breakdown. Below are the pictures of the groups that have already received the goats from the Association.

3. Village savings and Loan Association component.
To enable them stay in close contacts with one another, the groups are also being supported in Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) activity. The group members sit every week to make their saving contributions in their specific groups and locations. The group leaders manage their activities and report to the office at end of every month. This will enable them to save for any eventualities and support one another not only emotionally but also materially.
No startup capital is given to the group to boost their saving. River Fund HIV/AIDs Family support Association however provides guidance and the equipments required for the activity. As such, all the groups will be given cash boxes and all its tools for record keeping and management of the group finances.
As they conduct their weekly meetings they also have the time to share with one another their challenges and other concerns that other members would be able to help them out of it.

Challenges.
The number of HIV positive client is over whelming the little support that the Association is able to give. This therefore leaves out many who are equally vulnerable and in need of support.

Lack of transport means. The distance to be covered by the association’s staff is wide and far apart leading to a delay in reaching out or monitoring of the groups. The Association is also hiring a motorcycle on a daily basis to facilitate the movements. This however is costly given the little available resources.

Way Forward.

1. Realizing the danger and the alarming increase in number of young positives (children and youth HIV+)  the Association is in the process of registering young positive groups to enable them to open up and start living hopeful lives. They will also be receiving counseling services among other supports.
2. The Association is purchasing cash boxes for the women groups already supported with goats as a way of encouraging a culture of saving among the women and to strengthen the economic wellbeing.

Kati Woko Con Ber group, Dure- Pader district
Kati Woko Con Ber group, Dure- Pader district
Nge Yot Komi group, Oryang Ojuma, Kitgum District.
Nge Yot Komi group, Oryang Ojuma, Kitgum District.
More beneficiaries.
More beneficiaries.
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HIV+ Mother and child from Oyuru Village
HIV+ Mother and child from Oyuru Village

RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT ASSOCIATION, KITGUM. ACTIVITIES REPORT.

Project Name:  FEED THE CHILDREN (HIV+ AND MALNOURISHED CHILDREN)

Project Area:  KITGUM DISTRICT, AMIDA SUB-COUNTY.

Project Period:  JULY-SEPTEMBER, 2012

Contacts:

MRS. ROSEMARY OPOKA (MRS)             ALOYO INNOCENT JESSIE
+256(0)772-875216                                       +256(0)774-002070
Email: romopoka@yahoo.co.uk                Email: jescaopoka@yahoo.co.uk

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.

ACTIVITIES
1. Assessment and Identification of HIV+ and Malnourished children.
Assessment and identification of HIV+ children for enrolment in the feed the children project. 10 children were identified from Amida sub-county from the villages of Akworo, Oyuru and Ganglela.
The children ranged from ages 2+ to 13 years. All children identified are on ART treatment and they are receiving the treatment from either Kitgum Government hospital or St, Joseph’s hospital. They all have their ART No. and treatment No.
 Findings of the Assessment of HIV and children
There are a lot of children on drugs that are not followed up by the counselors. As a result some are not taking the treatment seriously. A case of a 13 year old boy in Amida sub-county, Kitgum District who has abandoned taking his treatment 10 month ago citing verbal abuse from fellow children in school and stigma.
Action point; Have home base care service to follow up these children.
The households of these children are in economic hardships since most of them are being taken care of by grandparents and are overwhelmed by the so many dependants they have to fend for.
Action point; Enroll their households in to a livelihood project to enable them work together to support their households
Some of the children assessed suffer from malnutrition and poor health. Some have swollen faces/body due to the reaction to the treatment.
Action point; organize training for the caretakers on long term survivals skills and nutritional sessions to enable provide balanced nutrients for these children.

2. Support to the households;
 All the 10 household, were formed into a group and given goats for them to rear and share among themselves when the number increases from the 4 that they have received. This is aimed at building the asset base of the households to boost their household income. The idea behind group formation is also to enable the beneficiaries to support each other in times of difficulties and emotionally.


3. Training of caretakers on Long Term Survival Skills (LTSS) and feeding of HIV+ Children.
Training of the caretakers on LTSS and feeding of the children. The caretakers have been trained on LTSS (Long Term Survival Skills) by members of the River Fund HIV/AIDs family Support Association who have were trained as TOT (Trainers of Trainers) and have rendered such trainings to other women and caretakers before.
In Attendance were caretakers of the children identified for support (10 in total). The training was held at the River Fund offices at Christ the King Parish, Kitgum from 21-22 September 2012. The two days training objective was to empower the caretakers with different skills in providing for the children with the use of the local available foods in the home.
They were trained on how to provide a balanced meal for the children without necessarily looking for help from outside the home or food supplement support.
 
4. Monitoring of the beneficiaries in Alango and Pondwongo Parishes.
The beneficiaries in Pondwongo are carrying on with the VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association) activities. They are supporting one another emotionally. The challenges they are faced with are the death of the goats. To date, the total number of goats alive are 11; 05 given by the Association and 06 produced kid goats. The total number of death is 06 since receipt of the goats.
In Alango Parish, there are 08 goats; 05 given by the Association and 03 produced kid goats. The group members are not cooperative and this is making the management of the goats difficult. Some members have as a result suggested that the remaining goats be shared out to enable each person to look after her own.
The vegetable seeds distributed were grown in their nursery beds and later transplanted. Most have need eaten by the women and some sold for cash to complement household income. The women are further keeping some for seeds production for further planting. The leaves however are continued to be eaten.

Families and children receiving goats
Families and children receiving goats
Greens for seed production
Greens for seed production
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Training in session. Facilitator
Training in session. Facilitator

PROGRESS REPORT.
Name of Organization:  RIVER FUND HIV/AIDS FAMILY SUPPORT WOMEN ASSOCIATION
Project Name:  LIVELIHOOD SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS (PLWAs).
Project Area:  KITGUM DISTRICT, KITGUM TOWN COUNCIL SUB-COUNTY.

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 quarter (April-June, 2012) in the parishes of Pondwongo and Alango in Kitgum Town council sub-county.

ACTIVITIES.
1. Training on Management and best practices of rearing goats.
The River Fund this quarter has been able to train 20 people in livelihood (goat rearing) on management of goats to curb down on the previously reported death of goats. The women were taken through the feeding, disease identification and control. They were further taken through the different ways of rearing goats from which the women anxiously supported the semi intensive system of rearing goats. In this system, the goats are tied out during day to graze and later in the day they are brought back inside their shed for the night. The group can also source for the feeds and feed the goats from their pen without letting them out of the house.
 
The second component of the training was on vegetable growing. The groups were trained on how to prepare nursery beds for their vegetable seeds before planting in the mother garden. The facilitator took the participants through pest and disease control they were trained on variety of seeds; cabbages, carrots, sikumaweeki, amarranthus, okra, egg plants, tomatoes onions, garlic. The groups are encouraged to practice kitchen gardening (grow vegetables) to improve their nutritional supplement and to complement their household income from the sale of the vegetables. 

2. Distribution of Vegetable seeds and Goats.
The groups trained received varieties of vegetable seeds. Each group received seeds worth one hundred thousand (100,000=) Ug.shs from the River fund HIV/AIDS family Support Association.

Each of the groups also received a male goat. This will increase the number of goats received to 5 per group from last year.

3. Construction of goats’ house.
The groups that received goats last year were constructed goats houses. The houses are to accommodate 10-15 goats each when the goats multiply from the 5 that the groups received in total. 4 given last year and 1 male-goat this year per group. The idea behind the house construction is to enable the goats to multiply faster and to avoid attacks from stray dogs as was the case in the previous report. The houses are made from local materials which are relatively cheaper and easy to get. This can also be acquired by the groups in case of the need for repair in future. 
       
The hut was erected by the group as shelter for their goat before the construction of the new goats’ shed pictured below.

The land was given by a member of the group as their contribution towards the success of the project.

ACHIEVEMENTS.
1. Vocational Skills training
This is a new project that has just been introduced this year. The group has been able to start bead making. The bead making is yet to begin fully pending procurement of materials for the project work.

2. An office space has been established.
With the help of the new Parish Priest, Fr. Anthony Nyeko, we have been able to open up an office at Christ the King parish in the former Guilio Pastore primary School. The office is currently being run by 2 staff; a Programme Coordinator and an office Assistant.

3. Contact with the District.
We have also opened up a file with the district at the District Community Department. This is to help in coordination and publicity of the Association.

The groups' leaders with some seeds.
The groups' leaders with some seeds.
Members of the two groups after receiving goats
Members of the two groups after receiving goats
Newly constructed goats' house with local material
Newly constructed goats' house with local material
Before (hut erected by group members)
Before (hut erected by group members)
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Group member with baby goat
Group member with baby goat

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 focused areas of intervention include; Training People Living With Aids (PLWA) 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.

In 2011, the Association identified the most vulnerable household of women living with HIV/Aids and supported them with goats to boost the economic wellbeing and household nutrition.

This report is of the monitoring visit done and a follow up of the goats distributed. Visits were made to the two groups and this is a success story from Dicwinyi Women group, one of the groups that received the support in Kitgum district. The group has a total of 30 women. The initial number of members who received support from River Fund Women Association Kitgum was 10. The 10 members who are all living positively received training in Life skills and were later given 4 she goats. Now the number of members rose to 30 women who not only have the goats to boast about but also their Village saving and loan Association activity that has enabled them provide for their families and have time to share with one another, their social capital.

Benefits from the goats received.

Having these goats has given us a number of positive impacts. Acen Margaret, the group secretary tells us their story.

The goats have helped us learn how to exercise team work. We have been looking after our goats since we received them in June ourselves without necessarily employing any man to look after them for us. We have made a Roster for looking after the goats in which one person looks after them for a whole one week then another member takes over. This is on a rotational basis and it has helped us learn team work and the sense of responsibility.

We were never trained on rearing goats and as such have been looking after them the local way. We usually give them salty water to enable them become addictive and want to come and drink from the same source. This is to prevent them from running far and getting lost since we do not tie them being a dry season. We have and are still learning how to rear and manage goats.

The goats have helped us to become innovative. Before receiving the goats, we already had this group but were majorly for counseling and sharing ideas on how to overcome the challenges of HIV/Aids. However, when we received the goats, we decided to start saving some money as members to help in some expenses like veterinary services since we had no money as a group and had no idea that we would receive goats in the future. We therefore started a Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA) and this has attracted other women who were not part of us who received the goats to join our group. We are now 30 in total in the saving activity.

With the formation of the VSLA, we are able to loan money to members and this has helped them to cater for our household needs as well as pay our children in school. We have also learned how to manage finances at the household and group level though not in big amounts. Our single saving value per sitting is 1000 shs. And a maximum of 5000 shs and a welfare fund of 200 shs. Per sitting.

The goats have enabled us to carry on with our initial objective of counseling and sharing with one another as we face challenges in our day to day lives as people living with HIV/Aids. Some of our members have been falling sick quite often and sometimes we thought they would give up with life and die but being in this group has given us the hope and courage to nurture what we have and as such encourage other members to live on to enable us see our children grow and finish school.

We have also learned how to manage groups and settle problems that arise between members of our group without the involvement of local leaders. We now feel for the wellbeing of every one and when one is down with sickness, we as members check on her family to ensure that the children are going to school and are eating. We have developed a sense of solidarity and love for one another.

We have also been blessed and one of our goats has produced twins. If we are lucky we shall have three more goats produced in May because three of the goats we received are expecting now and are due to deliver.

Challenges.

We have not been able to share the goats among ourselves. We received four (4) goats but we were ten
(10) in the group. As such we have decided to rear them together as a group. One member gave land on which we put up a shed for the goats.

In addition, when we received the goats in June, two delivered twins each and the other two one kid
goat each making a total of six kid goats. However, they all died after delivery leaving us with the four we had been given. We would be having eight (8) delivered goats but we have only two now since the other 6 died.

The recurrent ill health of the goats makes them unable to deliver healthy kid goats. This means we have to
spend on veterinary services and vaccines for the goats to be treated. We have been able to de-worm the goats, treat them of diarrhea and a dog bite. One of the goats was bitten by a dog at night and was treated now it is well. Although we have been able to treat the goats, the services are expensive and our little saving sometimes is not enough to meet the costs.

The goats’ shed is more of a makeshift and thus cannot protect the goats from dogs and thieves although we
have not yet had any incidence of thieves breaking in to steal them. We managed to put up a grass thatched shed for the goats to stay in but this is getting destroyed as some poles are now broken and the grass need to be replaced.

Some of the group members have been sick for long periods. Two members were hospitalized for 2 months and
this made us the members worried that they could die since they were and are still very weak. The sickness has impacted negatively on us due to the schedule for looking after the goats and the saving exercise. We had to come in for the sick and tender the goats for them meaning the work load increased and the period for rest reduced as we were left only eight (8) of us to care for the goats.

The VSLA activity that we are also carrying out has to some extent helped solved our domestic financial needs. But this is overweighed by the too many needs to be solved by money. For example, many times when we go for our routine treatment at the ART clinic, we are often given the ARVs but as for other drugs for opportunistic diseases, we have
to pay for at the pharmacy of the hospital since they are not given at the ART clinic. This means if one has no money, then one has to go without and then fall sick. Sometimes because of our condition, we need to eat good nutritional food but we do not have the money. This means, our diet continue to be poor since we cannot afford the expensive foods with high nutritional values.

Recommendation.

We request that if possible, the group is supported technically on how to rear and manage goats to help us  monitor and report cases of ill health early enough to avoid death as has been the case in the last year.

We also lack the basic skills in VSLA component especially in the record keeping. We therefore request
that we are rendered training in the principle to help us carry on well.

The goats that we have now are not enough. If any, more goats should be added on what we already have to
enable every member to have at least a goat.  

We also request for support in vegetable growing. We lack the seeds for the different variety of vegetables. If given, this will support the members’ household both for consumption and commercial purposes.

We request that if possible, some support is given to us to construct a permanent goats’ shed since a member
has given land on which the temporary shed is erected for protection from dogs, breaking in by thieves and also from the bad weather.

Conclusion.

The livelihood project has been of help to some groups while others have not been able to tell their story
as a result of failure to keep their goats as a group or due to the death of some of the goats they received.

The project has had a number of challenges as told by the different groups during monitoring exercise. Some
members have shared the goats amongst themselves with the hope of easy management of the goats but have failed to have anything to show.

Some groups like Dicwinyi Women group have benefited and if given more technical support, will reap big
from the project.

Goat shed
Goat shed
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Acholi Women helping and training their community
Acholi Women helping and training their community

From:  River Fund Women Association – Kitgum

Subject:  ACTIVITY REPORT

Introduction

This report covers the second phase of implementation of the Long Term Survival Skills for rural women on HIV/AIDS.  While the first phase covered the sub-county of Labongo Amida, the second was based within Town Council in 3 Parishes of Guu, Alango and Pandwong.

Activities Implemented

1.  Participation in World Aids Day
The River Fund women were invited and participated in World Aids Day at Orom sub-county with the help of AVSI.  They carried out demonstration on the Table of Health and a Healthy Plate.  This very much excited the district officials and the crown watching.  The Association was hence encouraged by the RDC and LCV to register with the district.

2.  Registration
Following the encouragement of the LCV and RDC, River Fund Women is now registered with Kitgum District Local Government (a mandatory requirement) and Kitgum NGO Forum (Kingfo) which is a net working body for NGOs/CBO in Kitgum.

3.  Training on Food Demonstration
Three representatives of the River Fund Women Association attended a three days training on food demonstration and preparation organized by St. Joseph’s Hospital.  After which the 3 again conducted a similar training for the rest of the group members to build on their skills.

4.  Identification of Malnourished Children and HIV+ Mothers
As a follow up to the community mobilization and meetings in Amida sub-county which ended in 2009, the River Fund Women decided to move their operation to Kitgum Town Council in view of the fact that the camps were being dismantled.  Consequently, HIV+ mothers and malnourished children in 7 villages from the Parishes of Guu, Alango and Pandwong were identified for nutrition education and community HIV/AIDS education.

5.  Outreach Education
Following the identification of malnourished children and their mothers and mothers who are HIV+, the women group carried out the following outreach activities.

(a)          Food demonstration to mothers of malnourished children
At each village in the 3 Parishes above, mothers were first taught the (3) three food grouping (energy giving, body building and Vitamins).  They were later taught on how to mix some essential food items and how to cook them and give to malnourished children and HIV + persons using locally available food items.  Each mother was provided with ¼ bar of soap to help them wash their hands and cooking utensils before they begin to cook the food.

(b)          Survival skills training for HIV+ mothers
HIV+ mothers were given survival skills training on how they can improve their health through proper nutrition, stress management and counseling.

To help in its work, the group was assisted with saucepans, plates, jerry cans, cups, and hoes by St. Joseph Hospital.  These were supplemented by group contributions as well as money withdrawn from the River Fund Account.

Items donated by St. Joseph Hospital
3 small saucepans, 20 plastic plates, 2 jerry cans, 4 plastic cups and 4 hoes.

Items donated by the Group
Potatoes, Cassava, Tomatoes, pumpkins, assorted vegetables, garlic, green papers, sardine fish and fruits like: pawpaw, oranges, banana, water melon, guava, avocado, pineapples and carrots.

Items bought
9 boxes of washing soap, 4 smoked fish, ½ bag of maize corn, ½ bag of fine posho, 16 kgm millet, ¼ bag of sugar, ½ cartoon of salt, 4 kgm of meat, ¼ bag of beans, 1 bag of unshelled ground nut, 1 tray of eggs, 1 kgm of onions, 3 ltrs of cooking oil totaling to shs.500,000/=.

Achievements

  •  
    • Registration with the District
    • Registration with the Kitgum NGO Forum
    • 812 mothers were trained
    • 136 children identified (see attached copy)
    • Recognition by the district authorities and other partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS
    • Follow up of the growth of the malnourished children using mauc tape.

Challenges

-              Late start of the training session as the community has to attend to their gardens first.

-              Unfavorable weather to planted food items

-              Expensive hiring of cameras for coverage and this made most of the activities not to be covered.

-              Some mothers still fear disclosing their HIV status

-              Lack of office accommodation

-              Inadequate assistance to children whose parents have died with HIV/AIDS

Recommendation

                Regular follow up of the mothers sensitized

                Regular weighing of the malnourished children

                Sensitization to cover all the Parishes within Town Council

                Community be encouraged to go for VCT

                Continuous community meetings

                Construction of office accommodation for the group

Future Plan

                Provision of food supplement to malnourished children

                Follow up and home base care for HIV+ and malnourished children whose parents have died or affected with HIV/AIDS.

                Training of community Volunteers

Conclusion

a.            The Group appreciates the help of those well-wishers who contributed to help the group move forward with their activities.  However there is still much work to be done on the ground.  We appeal to other well-wishers to join hands so that together we can combat malnutrition from our community and support/care for those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.

b.            We appreciate the LCs and the VHTs who helped the group in their mobilization in the villages and we encourage such team work to continue.

c.             We also thanked St. Joseph Hospital who took interest in our activity and provided us with training on food mixing and to monitor the growth of the malnourished children.

d.            Last but not least, the continuous support and guidance of Msgr. Matthew Ojara.                                     

We wish to conclude by extending our appreciation to all those who helped us in one way or another.

May God bless you.

Karmela Lam
Chairperson River Fund Women Association

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The River Fund

Location: Sebastian, Florida - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Jaya Canterbury-Counts
Executive Director
Sebastian, Florida Uganda
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