I would like to thank the entire team of Community Concerns Uganda Initiative for the great work delivered during this third quarter of the year. We thank our partners and donors who have provided funding for the projects to be implemented. Your continuing support makes all of our work possible, and on behalf of the CCUg staff and the women and children we serve, we thank you very much for your generosity and pray that you will keep up with the spirit of giving. I thank the Executive Board of Trustees for the advice and follow up on our work; we are indeed grateful. Not forgetting the members that we are serving, thank you for being available and allowing us to serve you.
OVC School Sponsorship Project
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, schools were not operating therefore, all our sponsored children are being kept at home and are learning from there.
We monitored the children through phone calls and verified that the children are reading their books and helping their parents while at home. The majority were in good health.
We identified several sponsored children whose families were experiencing food insecurity and we provided them with emergency food.
Again this quarter, the biggest challenge we faced was school closure due to COVID-19.
Two of the children became ill with malaria; we took them to the hospital and facilitated their treatment. Both have since recovered.
Adult Literacy and Vocational Skilling
We have six students enrolled in our Community Resource Center tailoring class and nine students enrolled in hair dressing.
During the quarter, the tailoring class learnt how to make four different types of dresses: the round dress, letter ‘A’ dress, gathered dress and pull neck dress.
The tailoring class has also learnt how to make two types of trousers: the elastic full short and double pocket short.
The tailoring class also learnt how to take the measurements required to make a shirt, identified the nine parts of a shirt and how to make and assemble them.
Out of the nine students studying hair dressing, five now know how to plait, retouch and treat hair, three are still learning and are showing moderate skill in performance; only 1 is still underperforming, but she is trying and promising to work harder.
Eight out of the 15 students consistently attended the parenting skills lessons and successfully completed them. They gained skills of anger management, conflict resolution, and menstrual hygiene management
Due to Covid-19, the students were unable to meet for a while and this caused them to forget some of the theory they had learnt.
One student missed both practical and theory testing due to personal illness.
Menstrual Hygiene Management
We had an on-going Menstrual Hygiene Management project funded by Amplify Change. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we requested permission from our donors to change some of the planned activities in light of the fact that the schools included in the project were under lockdown. Amplify Change gave us a no-additional-cost extension of 3 months to complete agreed-upon project work, some of which involved new activities to replace others that we were unable to implement during the lockdown. The new activities included research on the impact of COVID-19 on SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) among adolescents and women, Interpersonal Group Therapy to identify and address the needs of depressed women, distributing Maama Kits and Baby Receivers, and supporting expectant mothers with transport money to enable them to go to the hospital to deliver, and providing them with emergency food.
Twenty four women from one of the villages where we work were screened to assess their depression status using the PHQ-9. After assessment, 16 were identified as depressed and were invited to join a small group to receive interpersonal therapy (IPT-G) as a treatment measure. Two of the women were found to suffer with severe depression with active suicide ideation. Both received immediate individual counseling.
Ten men from another village were screened to assess their depression level using the PHQ -9 depression assessment form. Of the ten, six were found to be depressed and were invited to join a group in order to receive interpersonal Group Therapy as a treatment measure.
Twenty nine women from another village were screened for depression and 26 were enrolled in group therapy.
Thirteen women from another village were also provided with group therapy for depression. These women also received training in financial literacy after they completed their group therapy.
A total of 63 women and 7 men were trained to make reusable sanitary pads from the following communities:
A total of twenty-three women from two villages received materials for making reusable pads so they could put into practice the skills gained of making reusable pads.
We distributed 47 Maama Kits and emergency food supplies of powdered milk, posho (5kgs), beans (3kgs) and Millet flour for porridge (2kgs) to expectant mothers from six villages.
Some depressed individuals one of the villages did not know Lusoga, which was the language of instruction. We found it quite hard to share views with them and unfortunately, no one in the group could translate for these group members.
During the initial stage of IPT-G for the women of one of the villages, we did not allocate enough time for all members of the group to share their experiences and those who did have an opportunity to share did not exhaust their experiences. More time was allocated for subsequent sessions.
We also found poor time management skills among the people who came for the therapy.
Heavy rainfall during some group therapy sessions meant participants couldn’t hear each other speak and also caused some members miss some sessions.
Lack of communication among the clients in one of the villages caused to arrive for some meetings only to find that the members were not going to attend due to an unforeseen situation, such as the loss of a loved one.
We had an on-going Menstrual Hygiene Management project funded by Amplify Change. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we requested permission from our donors to change some of the planned activities in light of the fact that the schools were under lockdown. Amplify Change gave us a no-additional-cost extension of 3 months to complete agreed-upon project work, some of which involved new activities to replace others that we were unable to implement during the lockdown. The new activities included research on the impact of COVID-19 on SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) among adolescents and women, Interpersonal Group Therapy to identify and address the needs of depressed women, distributing Maama Kits and Baby Receivers, and supporting expectant mothers with transport money to enable them to go to the hospital to deliver, and providing them with emergency food.
Data on the impact of COVID-19 on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and adolescents was conducted among 141 individuals in the local communities selected to participate in the Menstrual Health and Hygiene project. The participant demographics are shown in the following table
We were able to start data analysis of the audio files obtained during interviews, including translation and transcription of 141 recordings, all of which were coded for further analysis.
Twenty-one women were identified with depression. Of these, 7 were postnatal mothers, 10 were pregnant mothers and 4 were out-of-school adolescents. Five women were experiencing active suicide ideation and we provided suicide prevention counseling to them. Afterward, all of these women were organized in groups and provided with group therapy for depression.
We were able to donate 125 Emergency Kits and Baby Receivers to vulnerable expectant mothers from Mauta, Mutai, Nsozibiri, Namulesa, and Wansimba. Most of the beneficiaries were young mothers (78) and all had issues of their spouses / partners not supporting them. Some of their partners had run away due to Covid-19-related concerns.
CCUg staff gained skills in bar soap making. This skill is to be passed on to other community members that will be identified in subsequent research.
CCUg staff completed training in Interpersonal Group Therapy and gained skills and knowledge in conducting this type of intervention with adolescents, youths and mothers who are suffering with depression and anxiety.
Twenty-three individuals were trained in making reusable pads in the Bugodi community.
We were able to purchase emergency food through money available under the Amplify Change grant. Purchases included maize flour to make posho (250kg), millet flour for making porridge (100kgs) and milk sachets each for 15 grams (1200). This intervention was aimed at addressing food insecurity arising from the effects of COVID-19 among vulnerable groups of women who participated in the survey. These participants come from 20 villages in 11 sub-counties in and around Mayuge and Jinja, including Baitambogwe, Magamaga, Mafubira, Kagoma, Mayuge, Bukatube, Buwenge, Wairasa, Imanyiro, Kakira, and Butagaya.
We also donated emergency food to 50 vulnerable households, particularly those with pregnant and postnatal women and young mothers.
We experienced some difficulty in reaching some women leaders (Nabakyalas) during the delivery of Maama Kits. These women leaders were involved in helping us to identify the vulnerable women in their communities who couldn’t afford to purchase these kits themselves.
The number of pregnant mothers usually exceeded the number the number of Maama Kits and Baby Receivers available for distribution. This made the selection of those to be supported extremely difficult for our staff.
Covid-19 pandemic restrictions led to the closure of our offices, temporarily putting all our activities on hold. One of the projects concerning menstruation was stopped altogether due to the closure of schools.
Some of the women and girls who were trained in pad making had challenges with hand sewing which slowed down the training process.
Acknowledgement I would like to thank the entire team of Community Concerns Uganda for the great work delivered during this first quarter of the year. We thank our partners and donors who have made it possible for the projects to be implemented. Without the money that you contributed, nothing much would have been achieved, so thank you very much for your generosity and keep up with the spirit of giving. I thank the Executive Board of Trustees for the advice and follow up on our work; we are indeed grateful. Not forgetting the members that we are serving, thank you for being available and allowing us to serve you. Nakirya Brenda Doreen Managing Director
Achievements A draft 5 years’ strategic plan for Community Concerns Uganda Initiative was successfully formulated with participation of all staff members. A draft copy was made with guidance from a consultant from Stephold Consultancy E.A Ltd. A final copy is yet to be produced, awaiting review from board members. Upgraded Registration of Community Concerns Uganda Initiative as a Non-Government Organization was initiated and is remaining with getting the certificate from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We held a board meeting to discuss the Budget, annual work plan and passing their approvals. We also discussed the upgrading of Community Concerns Uganda Initiative to an NGO which expands our scope of operation to other Districts. We had written and sent out three proposals to three potential funders and we are waiting for a reply from them.
Project Activities At CCUg, we have three major themes which are Education, Health and Livelihood. Out of these themes we currently have 5 projects which are Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Sponsorship project, Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV), Group Saving and Adult Literacy. Below are achievements, challenges and recommendations of the different projects.
OVC Sponsorship Project We have a total of 33 children we are sponsoring this year. We previously had a total of 60 children but we had to reduce them our two year grant with The Waterloo Foundation ended in early January 2020. Therefore we selected 33 students according to best performance. Among these, 15 are in secondary schools and 18 are in Primary schools. These children are being sponsored by CCUg and a few individual donors. Achievements All children received scholastic materials All children’s school fees were paid. All children reported back to school for their first term. All children’s school progress was monitored We had an emergence which required medical and nutritional support of 2 children. The Community Development officer reported to us a case of two malnourished children, one at 3 years and the other 1.5 years. The child who was at 3 years was also reported as raped by the father and she was also malnourished and her brother too. We were able to take these children to the hospital for about two months. They got treatment and fully recovered. Challenges The biggest challenge was the term closed abruptly due to COVID -19 We had two children getting sick of malaria and these were treated and recovered.
Menstrual Hygiene Management Achievements Carried out 15 community dialogues on MHM in 15 villages in Mayuge and Jinja districts. These villages are surrounding Wabulungu, Waitambogwe, Buyengo, Ikulwe, Mutai, Nakabango, Ntikalu, Mauta, Butiki, Mugeya, Bukooli, Makembo, Bute, Nsozibiri and Lubu. We reached 263 male and female parents and female local leaders. The dialogues discussed restrictions associated with menstruation, role of parents in supporting girls access MHM supplies and facilities, irregular cycles and abnormal menstruation. Conducted Sexuality Education sessions with emphasis on Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) in 14 schools. This included 10 primary schools (Mutai , , Luubu, , Butiki, St. Stephen Kakira, Nsozibiri, , Wakitaka, Mugeya, Ntinkalu, , St. Patrick Magamaga, Wansimba and Ikulwe, and 4 Secondary schools; Buyengo, Waitambogwe, Luubu, and Mutai). We also distributed Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials regarding MHHM to over 5,000 students/pupils in 19 schools. In addition, we engaged school administrators of the 19 schools to provide an enabling environment for girls during menstruation. We managed to assess the performance of health clubs we set up in both primary and secondary schools. We managed to visit 9 primary schools which included; Wakitaka, Nsozibiri, Baitambogwe, Luubu, Wansimba, Butiki, Mugeya, Mutai, and 1 secondary school that is; Luubu. During this monitoring exercise, we managed to identify the challenges faced by these health clubs including inadequate materials for making reusable pads among others and the benefits so far gained from these clubs which included skills to make reusable pads among others. We reached out to over 350 pupils/students and 9 Senior Women Teachers whose views shall guide us in coming up with project proposals for rectification of the issues mentioned. Challenges Difficulties in keeping time by most participants in all the community dialogues we conducted for instance in Buyengo, we had to wait for almost 1hr and 30 minutes Shyness of almost 90 % of the participants/parents who attended the community dialogues. This deterred us from getting the views of the caregivers on the 4 elements that we focused on. Absenteeism of men/fathers in 10 villages where we conducted our community dialogues yet they are the heads of the family. It’s only in Bukoli village where we engaged with male parents Difficulties in keeping time by most secondary schools we visited during our drive to promote awareness on MHM for instance at Buyengo SS where we reached at 11:00am but the program was postponed to 2:00pm.The same applies to Waitambogwe SS where we had to forego school related gender based violence because of failure of the school administration to keep time. However this stemmed from the hectic schedule of some schools. Tight schedules of some schools which delayed our program and in the end little was delivered to the students due to time constraints. The population was too big at Buyengo S.S.S and this made it hard to manage. Interruption with other activities like inspection at Buyengo and Waitambogwe S.S.S hence delaying the training. One of the biggest challenges faced was related to poor timing of school programs. Some schools especially the secondary such as Mutai, Luubu and Waitambogwe secondary schools declined and kept on postponing our dates of meeting clubs because of their fixed programs for the school. Majority of the schools were doing midterm exams which has actually been a challenge to complete the scheduled time of meeting health clubs in their respective schools. Therefore this has created backlog of several activities both in communities hence affected the schedule and work plan for this project. Shyness of 95 % of the students/pupils who attended the health education project on MHM. This deterred us from getting their views on the issue at hand yet the sessions were supposed to be interactive. Bad weather conditions like too much rain that interrupt the daily smooth running of schools and hence we are also affected since the students are the ones we mostly deal with and you find that when it rains, most of them do not attend school. COVID-19 antagonized our activities to the extent that schools and our offices were closed. We therefore failed to assess the performance of 11 health clubs and getting the views of 11 senior women teachers as regards promoting sanitation and hygiene in their respective schools. Recommendations Male parents should be encouraged to attend the community dialogues on menstrual hygiene and management since they are the heads of the family. In some families, its only men who work and sanitary materials involve money. Although most of the community members reached late for the community dialogues, I suggest that instead of waiting for the whole group to arrive, we should start with those few who have reached early and the rest will always find us. We should find ways of reaching to a larger number of community members in our drive to promote menstrual hygiene and management. Many community members lack information and yet they need it to help the girl child. May be we should think of using local communication channels like community radios. Self-esteem should be inculcated into pupils and students in our efforts to combat school related gender based violence. Most students still fear to talk about gender violence therefore they should be encouraged to Get up and Speak up. The school administration should be reminded about the impacts of MHM and SRGBV on academic performance. It’s through this that schools will priotise our programs more than ever before. Procurement of marshmallows for students during Health Sessions so that when a student answers well a question basing on what has been taught that day, should be rewarded with a marshmallow and this will help in motivating them to always be attentive and listen well to what is being taught.
Gender Based Violence Achievement We conducted school-related Gender based violence at Buyengo Secondary School and Waitambogwe Secondary School. We were able to reach out to about 500 students from both schools. Throughout our engagements with students, we discussed the concepts of gender and gender violence, forms of gender violence, their respective causes, effects and also the reporting mechanisms if they are victims of abuse.
Group Saving Achievements Group saving , loan acquisition was conducted among 8 groups Nakalanga Group 1 saved Ugx 8,300,000, borrowed Ugx 3,550,000,Nakalanga Group saved Ugx 14,480,000, borrowed Ugx 9,690,000, Magamaga Group saved Ugx 6,533,000 and borrowed Ugx 3,250,000, Mauta Group saved Ugx 4,084,900 and borrowed Ugx 3,090,000, Wairaka Group 1 saved Ugx 5,127,000 and loaned Ugx 2,160,000, Wairaka Group 2 saved Ugx 2,015,000 and loaned Ugx 2,060,000, Wabulungu Group saved Ugx 1,276,000 and loaned Ugx 670,000, Bukoli Group saved Ugx 1,214,500 and loaned Ugx 1,370,000 and Bugodi Group saved Ugx 629,000 and loaned Ugx 373,000 Challenges Late coming is still a challenge. Some members are not reaching the threshold set for saving due to limited capital in their businesses.
Adult Literacy Project Achievements We successfully had a graduation ceremony for our 22 students who completed their hands on training in tailoring, hair dressing, basic computer applications, basic literacy and parenting(anger management).At the ceremony, the graduates were awarded certificates and were later treated to a marvelous feast at Doctina Resort Beach. New students were enrolled and we have about 17 students. The students had a mathematic assessment test when they had just reported to assess their arithmetic knowledge and only 3/15 students got above 50% and at their final assessment 7/15 students got above 50% whereas 8 students got below 50%. This shows great improvement and they also showed an improvement in their results. The students had an English assessment test at the beginning of their course and only one person got below 50% and at the end of two months, they had a final exam and they all passed. Challenges Some adult learners (about four) are challenged in reading which contributes to their failure to understand most of the things covered in mathematics and out of those four students. Delayed reporting of some students contributed somehow to their poor performance in that by the time they reported, much of the work had already been covered though efforts were made and they were taken through what had been already taught inform of revision. A half of the students by the time they sat for their final exams still had challenges with reading which also contributed to their poor performance. Recommendation For the weak students who do not know how to read and write should have extra English classes for about 30 minutes so that they could be taught basics of learning how to read and this should start with reading words in their local language.
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