Uganda

  • Download this page with images 5MB UNERELA+ 2009 End of Year Report.

UNERELA+ Civil Society Funded OVC project through NAFOPHANU.

Background:
UNERELA+ has gone into a new area of the orphans and vulnerable children. We are giving it the focus because of the many opportunities for learning we went through while starting this project. The OVC program is funded under the Civil Society Fund of the Uganda AIDS Commission through the national Forum of PHAS Networks of Uganda NAFOPHANU. UNERELA+ got a funding that will last for two years to support orphans and vulnerable children in the care of religious leaders who are members of UNERELA+ or members of their congregation. The funding begun in September 2009 and will continue until March 2011.

Target
UNERELA + targeted religious leaders, widows/widowers, orphans and other vulnerable children in four pilot districts. Target number of 30 OVC in four districts of Nebbi-Paidha, Kamuli, Moyo and Koboko and at least one family suitable project in each district as a model.

Achievements
A total number of 28 children were reached following the assessment visit that had been previously done. Nebbi 8, Koboko 8, Moyo 5 and Kamuli 7. The children were excited together with their parents or care givers; they expressed their gratitude towards program package through testimony and speech.

‘I never ever imagined I could for once sleep on a mattress like other children!!’ stated Comfort from Nebbi –Paidha, ‘I am going to testify before the congregation that I will no longer sleep on Papyrus’.

‘There was a time the Church of Uganda brought a package for orphans here in Paidha, I sent my children hoping they could receive a thing to my surprise, they were sent away because they belonged to Pentecostal faith! I thank God for UNERELA.  In fact I am wishing those people had met my children carrying mattresses, then, I would tell them that the lord who provided for you last time has remembered me today, said excited pastor Jessica.

This is like a dream, said Stella, ‘Are all those mattresses being carried to my house? Glory to God!’

Little Faith (05) and Fiona (05) kept the smile in their faces as the shopping activity proceeded.

Items provided to these children ranged from clothing, bedding, and scholastic materials and school uniforms for those in school among others. Involvement of both care givers and the orphans enabled project staff provide appropriate and desirable needs to the children. Furthermore it meant that the project caters for their best interest.

It was an opportunity for UNERELA team members to discover the other side of the challenges children and care givers go through as a result of cultural practices. In Moyo, little Paskale was a case in which the father abandoned him with the grandmother who herself is a vulnerable old woman. The situation was worsened by the fact that the father of Paskale is brother to his the diseased husband of his mother. Culturally, his grandmother encouraged the younger brother of the mother’s husband to inherit Paskale’s mother.

This was done without taking any precautions and the result was that the younger brother got then infection from his mother. Paskale was born in the union that did not last long as the inherited widow eventually died of AIDS leaving young Paskale with the now angry father who blames the mother for forcing him into this union that has caused him to be infected with HIV. Young Paskale himself was tested and found to be sero positive! This angered the father even more and he abandoned the child with the granny saying he does not deserve to be father to a sick child!

The coming of the project became a healing experience for this otherwise divided family, there had to be a reconciliation between Paskale’s father and his mother the granny to Paskale.  

In the end of the visit, we were all delighted to see the father for the first time acknowledging that Paskale is his son and that he will from then on look after him and the aging grandmother to Paskale who is his own mother. Then to prove it all he called Paskale and hugged his son (right).

Young Paskale is now registered to start school in the nearby school as all scholastic materials including uniforms which have been provided thanks to the OVC program.

Paskale’s Grandmother (left) now sees hope in the future wellbeing of her son and that of her grandson Paskale (above)  seeing that finally her son has accepted the grand son and will look after all of them.

Paskale’s father is a tailor and had abandoned his trade out of frustration on seeing that he was sero positive. After our visit, we convinced him to resume his trade and use the proceeds for looking after his family of three. He accepted and the first clothing he made on resumption was the son’s uniforms ready for school in the New Year.

Findings
Due to the vulnerability of these children, some particularly older girls are wooed by men/boys into early marriages by providing them with petty items like soap, Vaseline, knickers.

For example one, Afoyorwoth Manuela 17, HIV positive was reported to have eloped to an un -known destination. This was a painful experience as she had previously said that she under goes lots of hardship to the point that access to treatment is difficult due to lack of transport and further confessed that it difficult to have to take treatment without food because she often felt dizzy and nauseated.

Pastor revealed that her four children missed their end of year examinations due to lack of school uniform, she said they would repeat classes now that the problem of uniform had been solved.

Manuela was replaced by Trinity Giramya
While providing items, it is important to note that prioritizing was done, for example under beddings, mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets were considered before bed sheets.

There is need for more support for OVC because the numbers of the needy are overwhelming yet a small number of them have been supported.

Issues identified for follow up
Families previously in crisis, Paskale’s family to see how the father and the granny are coping with the changes, and how he is settling into the renewed family and into school in Moyo District.

Some children within households that have tested HIV positive are considered worthless to the family and the community; they are discriminated against and actually sent away from homes by men. To see how the mother is coping after the intervention by UNERELA+ OVC program and if the husband, father to the children has shown any signs of returning to his responsibility as husband and father again.

UNERELA+ with the help of NAFOPHANU are working hard to break this misconception by providing for some of these children in the same way the rest of the children in the family and community have been provided for. In future UNERELA will have to carry out sensitization and counseling for care givers.

Children absenteeism in homes
Some children were not found at home at the time of the home visits. Local representative of UNERELA+ took on the responsibility to carry on the role of completing the data for each child and providing the needs as identified by the care givers or parents. Project staff will therefore do monitoring visits to find out if indeed these children are in the homes have received their wrap around service materials provided under the OVC program.

Family Projects
Some care givers are in the final phase of preparations on family projects before UNERELA+ can step in to offer support.

For example some of the care givers are working hard to attain land for cultivation and as soon as this is completed, they will be supported.

Challenges
Cheque payment in the villages is quite unpopular and not practical as most families do not have bank accounts. Businesses operate on cash basis and no one trusts any cheque payment until it is cleared into cash.

Secondly there is only one bank for example in Paidha therefore one has to go to Nebbi town to carry out the transactions that increased transport and subsistence costs on the recipients.

Most shops do not have standard receipts, invoices and delivery notes; UNERELA+ therefore designed cash acknowledgement receipt forms that are signed by the recipients’ service provider to serve a receipt for cash paid for services rendered or goods supplied.

The level of illiteracy is very high; some shop attendants cannot actually write hence difficulty in documentation. In some cases, thumbprints had to be considered as a better option.

Recommendations
Family projects to be taken into account in the next quarter, to take care of all care givers’ resolve to improve their incomes and welfare of the OVCs. Wrap around items not yet provided due to absence of the children from the village during the holiday period will be handled in the New Year.

Time of joy; Kamuli OVC receive their items form local leaders. Pastor Balubenze David the UNERELA+ Regional Chair for Eastern Uganda based in Kamuli (checked shirt) to the right and the rest are Local Council officials of Nankandulko Delivernace Church – where Pastor David is the Pastor.

Wrap around materials arrive in the village in Koboko
DanChurch Aid funded Advocacy among religious leaders

The UNERELA+ contact with the Danchurchaid has finally yielded fruits. The organization sought for funds to carry out advocacy among religious leaders and their immediate families.

The following was planned:

  1. Recruit an accountant and appoint Auditors for UNERELA+
  2. Carry out an assessment of the project pilot area which is in Rakai and Lyantonde districts in southern Uganda
  3. Carry out the training of religious leaders from the two districts
  4. Carry out training of trainers as a backup in the two districts and from among them select a project coordinator based in Kyotera.
  5. Write the end of year report including end of financial year audit.

Work done: The funds were disbursed in December instead of beginning of November when the contract begun. That means that we had to work very hard to accomplish what was meant to be achieved in two months within less than two weeks interrupted with the Christmas and end of year festivities which are all public holidays. So we had barely 10 days to do that.

Despite that, we achieved the following

  1. Carried out the assessment of the project area
  2. Organised and carried out the training of 30 religious leaders
  3. Organised and held two Executive Committee meetings and one Board meeting in which the following decision was made:-
  • The current Auditors of UNERELA+ should be allowed to continue
  • The acting accountant Ms. Monica Owere Obbo that was sourced from partners with authority of the Chairman and Treasurer should continue to prepare the accounts for audit and be available to apply for formal recruitment when the process is due in the New Year.
  • UNERELA+ will no longer have Annual General Meetings (AGM) but instead have General Meetings which will be held at least once in two years. Secretariat should process the needed legal arrangements to formalize the decision, draft an amendment to the constitution in order to include the clause.
  • The name of the organization will still remain UNERELA+ and not change to INERELA+ for technical and strategic reasons. UNERELA+ will remain affiliated to INERELA+.

A 3 person Finance Committee was appointed from among the Board members with room for co-opting 1 technical person to advise on finance and budgeting. The Secretariat was asked to write a budget for the organization for the financial year even if most donors are not interested in funding administrative and running costs. This can then incorporate the running projects from other funders.

DFID funded Advocacy through Christian AID
UNERELA+ received funds through Christian Aid from the DFID for a two year Advocacy program in Uganda. The program intends to carry out activities in the area of:

  1. Advocating for the religious leaders and their families in area of prevention, treatment, care and support as well as access to services especially in most disadvantaged communities.
  2. Carry out mass media campaigns to reach out the wider masses on radio and television in all the regions of Uganda especially Western, Eastern and Northern regions. Information to pass on and discuss include stigma reduction, prevention of infection, and mitigating the effects of HIV and AIDS.
  3. Develop, produce and distribute IEC and marketing materials
  4. Build the capacity of the management and Secretariat staff through training in skills and information that will enhance their efficiency to advocate and manage the programs.

Work done: The project funding was received at the beginning of December 2009 and yet all activities for year one must be done by end of April 2010. Similarly we had to engage swiftly to begin implementing the activities of the project as follows:

  1. Carried out the first capacity building and training of 63 religious leaders at the week before Christmas.
  2. 20 new members to UNERELA+ filled forms during the training. More member recruitment will be done as part of the project around the country.
  3. Printed and distributed some IEC materials including Calendars, Brochures and Informative materials on SAVE and SSDDIM supplied by the office of the Goodwill Ambassador of Christian Aid.
  4. A Talk show script has been developed for use in the mass media talk shows that will begin in January 2010.

Radio stations and television stations have been identified, one radio station has now signed an agreement for 15 radio talk shows, and negotiations are going on with other stations. The advocacy programs will begin to be aired in the third week of January 2010.

Challenges

  1. Because one of the funding agencies is paying salaries, it has demanded that the UNERELA staff be 100% committed to the project they are funding otherwise we should deduct the time we spend in other projects which do not pay our salaries. This puts our team in a funny situation as we must continue with the activities we started and have received funding. The donor is aware of the funding from the other two partners and we shall continue to negotiate for space to carry out other programs in other regions where their project is not reaching.
  2. The late disbursement of funds has put a lot of pressure on our small but dedicated team. Each donor is expecting us to generate the reports almost at the same time. For a start, it was difficult but we are getting over it.
  3. All the projects and programs started at least six months late and we are expected to produce work for the entire year within the six months to close the year. That means it is only after this phase is done that we shall see the way forward in terms of extending the programs or we may have to adjust and re-strategise depending on how the project year closes. Some changes are expected anyway.
  4. With the cost of living going up, some of the costs budgeted are now slightly out of budget. That means our expenditures are either going to increase of be adjusted to fit within the reduced budgeted available funds.

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