First Lady of Uganda Rewards Kaabong Women With Tractor!
By Grace Loumo, Founder/Executive Director, AWARE - June 2013
The First Lady of Uganda has awarded AWARE with a brand new tractor in recognition of hard work and dedication in providing for the rural community.
This tractor has especially helped with our agricultural endeavors and the will to continue eradicating poverty in the region.
After nearly 25 years of working closely with the community, AWARE Uganda appreciates the wisdom the people have in taking care of their families and providing for them. And especially in agriculture, which is the main activity, by using their knowledge to promote agriculture through animal traction.
Early planting knowledge and this tractor have empowered the women to learn and grow more crops at the right time.
Recent Floods Displace Many
Recent floods have displaced many and hindered work in the community.
AWARE has come in to help and accommodate a few people with critical conditions and floods have destroyed most of the roads and the bridges, hence, the roads are impassible.
Transport to far-reaching areas is still a problem and we are lobbying for a four-wheel drive to continue the good work we do.
Leadership Training and Participation
Ajilong Margaret, the chairwoman of AWARE is so happy to have had several opportunities to represent AWARE outside the country.
She attended a conference in Nairobi in April on rural and urban human settlements, which was was organized by UN Habitat.
Abusive Teacher Prosecuted
Women have increasingly taken on leadership roles in AWARE's community and gained the trust of other women and children.
When a teacher sexually abused a pupil, the girl came to AWARE and justice was administered. The case was reported to the judiciary and the teacher was arrested, charged and sentenced.
The girl has been receiving counseling.
Widow Reclaims Property and Animals
Nakiru had her properties and animals taken away from her after her husband had died; through the women rights programmes, AWARE helped her get back all her properties and animals.
Preventing & Reporting Gender-based Violence
Refresher training for community paralegals is already on the ground and developing messages on GBV Prevention is to be used to the wider community.
Mobilization and consultation continues with traditional leaders, religious leaders, opinion leaders, women's group leaders, and respected people in society on GBV, inheritance, women's land and property rights.
We also cover monitoring, documenting, and reporting human rights violations – during disarmament process for example, the number of people beaten, raped, killed, and other categories of abuses experienced by the community.
Nakol Rose is a gender-based committee chairwoman and she is very excited to have gained experience and knowledge through AWARE's programs and training.
Water Harvest Tank
AWARE constructed a water harvest tank at Kunykuny primary school in Kaabong to promote good hygiene practices like washing hands, drinking clean water, etc., as well as collecting water that will be used in their gardens to irrigate vegetables and fruits.
This in turn will help promote a healthy lifestyle and end hunger in the young and adults in Kaabong. This is an initiative brought supported by Global women Water Initiative.
Safe water harvesting helps keeps girls safe at school; they do not have to walk miles to collect water.
Literacy Classes, Skills Training and Farming Supplies
High rates of illiteracy amongst the community has been a big hindrance in accepting and understanding development issues.
We provide on-going functional adult literacy classes for the women's groups.
AWARE provides continuous training of women's groups on entrepreneurial skills such as savings and loans schemes, and other business ventures - for example, poultry farming, land and property ownership.
AWARE farming groups received improved seed varieties, insecticides and pesticides for next season's planting.
Activism and Awareness Through Music and Drama
We have recruited and trained 20 youth members as drama actors/peers as well as human rights defenders on human rights/GBV/domestic violence and other abuses who will go around the communities educating them through drama, acting, and music shows, and identifying victims at the grassroots level to come up and report such violence.
Radio and drama shows on back-to-school education and HIV/AIDs have been on the programme among the communities and schools.
Simple Technology for Molding Bricks
AWARE is empowering women with new technology of construction; that is, the use of hydraform for molding blocks that are used for building. It is rural-friendly and does not require skilled labour to operate – just a little training on the operations, through support from the Global Women's Water Initiative.
Grassroots Collaboration for Education
There has been good collaboration between the government and the different stake holders in sharing information and planning activities in the region as they realize that using the organisations that are in close communication with the grassroots makes a great impact to achieving the goals set up by the government departments.
AWARE aims to encourage parents to send their children back to schools and to educate them on the advantages that come with educating their children, and there has been great response.
Our Early Child Development (ECD) programme has continued and mothers are being motivated by giving them incentives to bring their children to the school.
UNICEF has continued to support the ECD programs by supplying play materials and reading books.
Also, 30 peer education recruitment groups to campaign in schools have been trained – they are going round the schools to encourage the children to go back to school.
International Women's Day
International Women's Day was celebrated throughout the world on 8th March 2013.
AWARE’s theme, Gender Agenda: Empowering Rural Women, has gained momentum in Kaabong and Uganda, too.
Rural women have lagged behind; most of the time, their needs have been ignored. Women of the world – especially those at AWARE UGANDA, have realized the benefit of empowering the women.
On 1st December, 2012, celebrations were carried out with a continuous campaign to prevent HIV/AIDs.
Part of AWARE Uganda's vision is to bring women together to promote their empowerment and reduce poverty and hunger.
Karamoja has an unreliable rain season and climatic conditions are a constant challenge.
HIV-Positive Mothers and Women at Risk of Sexual Violence
AWARE continues to improve its Waiting House for HIV/AIDS-positive pregnant mothers at risk and victims of GBV/Sexual Violence through refurnishing with beddings, washing basins, and water jerry cans.
AWARE HEALTH PROGRAMMES:
- Rapid Response (PEP treatment in the hospital) and counseling GBV (gender-based violence) victims with follow-ups, and psycho-social support.
PEP, or Post Exposure Prophylaxis, is any preventive medical treatment started immediately after exposure to a pathogen – such as a disease-causing virus, in order to prevent infection by the pathogen and the development of disease.
- Monthly planning, refresher courses with the home-based caregivers and staff on their work.
- Purchase of emergency food for the Waiting House.
- Conducting community sensitization and dialogue on water related diseases and reproductive health.
- Mass immunization for children and pregnant mothers on the six killer diseases (tetanus, diptheria, whooping cough, polio, tuberculosis and measles) was conducted by AWARE as a nominee from the ministry of health to carry out the mass immunization in Kaabong.
- A mass de-worming programme for all the children in Karamoja; AWARE Uganda was happy to assist with their expertise in caring for children and educating on hygiene.
- One of the core actives of AWARE Uganda has been training and educating the caregivers on simple ways to detect curable diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.
- Our Mother To Child Transmission (MTCT) programme has helped women with HIV, safely delivering babies without HIV.