Summer 2016 Update

Elizabeth and Family waving

MAJOR DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES

  • To increase enrolment of girls in nursery, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education, and through this to cultivate leadership and empowerment in youths in rural Uganda.
  • To increase crop production and promote agricultural best practices.
  • To promote savings and an entrepreneurial spirit among parents so that they can increase income, in order to support the well-being and education of their children; and to reduce support required from donors.
  • To promote the value of education, and equal access for girls in particular,in rural Ugandan communities, assisted by cultural exchange and mentor engagement.
  • Promote health education, with a focus on sex education, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health.
  • To promote cultural exchange and diversity, both locally and internationally.

ACHIEVEMENTS TOWARD ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS

To increase enrolment of girls in nursery, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education

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The Rural Girl Child Mentorship (RGCM) project is currently supporting 118 students in private and public secondary, vocational and tertiary institutions. Through this project:

  • One young woman graduated in 2014 with a certificate in business administration and is currently self-employed.
  • One young man completed a certificate in motor mechanics, and is currently working in a gas station – repairing and servicing mainly heavy trucks.
  • One young woman completed a diploma in Human Resource Management, graduating in December 2016.
  • Three young women recently completed ECD and Grade III primary teaching certifications and all of them are currently teaching in various schools. Christine is now a teacher for the Early Child Development class in the Portland school and is doing very well.
  • One young man is currently pursuing a diploma in water and sanitation engineering, and will be returning for his second and final year this August.
  • Fifteen students (13 girls and 2 boys) are currently pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in Makerere, Kyambogo and International Health Sciences Universities. They are pursuing a variety of fields including education, clinical medicine, wildlife management and care, commerce and accounting and finance.
  • Ten girls are currently pursuing primary teachers’ courses in a teacher training college.
    Three young women are joining different universities this August for bachelor’s degrees in education, community development and social justice, and a diploma in accounting and finance.
  • Eighty two students are currently in various secondary schools, some in their final years, others just starting their journey.
  • Three girls got sponsors in the past six months; Fjola from Norway is sponsoring Elizabeth A, and Robin and Geoff from Oregon, USA are sponsoring Elizabeth N and Sylvia.

We are very grateful for all our sponsors and mentors. You are the light in the darkness for these young people and their families.

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The Portland Sponsorship program is currently supporting 22 children, most of whom are orphans and previously homeless. We are so thankful for the sponsors of these children!

In 2012, after witnessing the success of the Rural Girl Child Mentorship program, the people of Amor Village came together and founded the Portland Nursery and Primary School to provide an education to their young children without the need for them to walk miles to the nearest school or live away from their families. To-date the Portland School has 193 students of ages 3 to 11 and five teachers.

In our 4 years of operation, we have realized that selecting young people from rural villages and taking them to the city schools requires not only a great deal of resources and effort, but also relocates these young people away from their own communities to the cities in the long run. We also end up supporting just a handful of the large number of young people seeking our help. Having a school complex comprising pre-primary, primary, secondary and vocational/technical schools within the community would enable the young people to attain education within their own communities and give them a platform to develop their own communities as well as enable PCE Foundation to support a wider community of young people seeking our support.

In 2014, we started building a nursery and primary school – Portland Nursery and Primary school in Amor village, Tororo district; the first and only school in this village. It is now a complete school with 13 classrooms, financially supported by various individuals from around the globe. The latest 7 classroom block was constructed with support from Mi Corazon and Ms Ingrid van Thiel-Sluiter with extra donations from Mi Corazon funding, Bemmel en Haalderen and Stichting LMStandard Supports of the Netherlands.

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The Pollination Project gave a grant worth $1000 for The Portland School’s project “Behavior Change Materials for Portland School – Uganda.” This grant was intended to improve lives through the creation of sustainable materials that communicate healthy practices. With support from The Pollination Project, the behavior change will go beyond the schools and to the parents and entire community, creating a positive impact for generations to come. The fund was used to purchase a notice board, hand-washing facility with four taps, three trash cans, and 15 metallic posters.

These facilities are currently promoting health practices within the Portland School children, their families and teachers. This project was implemented between January and June 2016.
In June 2016, Joyce K. Fletcher, a Professor of Management at the Center for Gender in Organizations, Simmons Graduate School of Management, and Co-director of Working Connections Project, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Stone Center, Wellesley College donated $1000 for purchasing and installing a lightning arrester at the Portland School. This will provide essential long-term protection to the school property and local community.

To increase crop production and promote agricultural best practice

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In early 2012, we planted 100 mango tree seedlings, which are already producing fruit which is being harvested. In December 2015, Barbara Rintala donated 159 mango tree seedlings, 11 orange seedlings and 200 flower trees for Portland school. This brings us to a total of 259 mango trees, within the coordinating center – Amor village.

Additinally, we received a donation of $1000 USD for fencing the mango garden and starting the bee keeping project in the mango garden. The bee keeping project is already started with 10 beehives and the bees have already started settling in the hives.

A mango tree planting project was undertaken by all the supported students during the December-January 2015/2016 holidays. It was required that every student plant a minimum of 10 mango tree seedlings in and around their homes. Based upon the data collection report by Agolla Mary Sylvia, who was one of our college mentees who was been doing her internship with us, there were a total of 285 mango seedlings planted in 92 homes by the end of May 2016.
The 460 pineapple seedlings donated by Melinda Naderi in August 2014 are now grown and are being harvested and sold. Seven to fifteen pineapples are being harvested daily and are sold in the local market, for between USD $0.78 and $1.11. By the end of December 2016, we will have established the amount of money raised from these sales and will be able to report on what is being done with the funds and the reproduced seedlings.

On a sad note, the passion fruits garden of 100 plants died off after just one harvest, because the holes we dug for them were too shallow. Additionally there has been prolonged drought which has destroyed the vegetable gardens and affected the farming activities of our beneficiary communities. This climate change has led to food insecurity and starvation in many households as 100% of the households rely on agriculture for both food and financial income.

To promote savings and an entrepreneurial spirit among parents so that they can increase income, in order to support the well-being and education of their children; and to reduce support required from donors

The wider beneficiary group of the PCE Foundation is composed of 350 adults, most of whom are women. Those who are involved in the savings and loan association are in the third phase of this project, the profits from which will be distributed in December 2016. Additionally, over 600 paper beads made by the arts and crafts group have been sold to local traders and to visiting guests.

In early January, the BOCEP team of six Australians (Kim, Nelle, Patt, Sharon, Susan O and Susan S) visited with our organization. Among other activities, they brought and donated knitting wools and needles and taught the women knitting skills (the women are currently in a knitting project using their skills). So far, four sets of table cloths have been made and sold to locals by the knitting group.

There are also over 300 parents of children who attend the Portland school. In the coming months, this new group hopes to initiate entrepreneurial projects such as beekeeping, poultry, piggery and household fruit tree growing that will benefit them and their children.
From the students’ corner, the Portland School management is currently working on a curriculum that will give the children hands-on experience in practical skills like farming, knitting, moulding, music, dance, drama and engineering.

To promote the value of education, and equal access for girls in particular, in rural Ugandan communities, assisted by cultural exchange and mentor engagement

The construction of the Portland School and the Amor Village Community Hall and Library are key investments toward benefiting a wider community of children and communities badly in need of education and essential information and communication exchange.

The community’s vision and actions towards acquiring a Nursery and Primary school has led us in a new strategic direction – to build a complete school complex consisting of Nursery, Primary, Secondary and Vocational schools, and of course incorporating the community Library. Although constructing and staffing this complex will create a significant financial burden initially, we feel that ultimately it will allow us to provide an excellent education for the children without having to take them to the schools in the major cities. In addition, we will be able to educate a far greater number of both girls and boys while keeping them involved in their community and home life. It is hoped that in time, the school’s graduates will apply their knowledge, talent and skills to help strengthen the community and improve the quality of life for those who live there. The Portland Nursery and Primary school is now a complete school with 13 classrooms, financially supported by various individuals from across the globe.

To promote health and reproductive education

In June 2016, PCE Foundation’s RGCM Girls’ Village to Village Peer Education was selected among the competitive applicants of the AmplifyChange Grant.The project will involve 103 of the girls sponsored by the PCE Foundation under the Rural Girl Child Mentorship (RGCM) project, who will reach out to 10 girls (ages 12 to 18) within their villages with life skills, sex education and reproductive health education during school breaks/holidays. The outcome of this and more in relation to this objective shall be shared in our annual report update in December.

To promote cultural exchange and diversity

Since January this year, we have hosted nine (9) international visitors from Australia, Netherlands and New Zealand. Since 2012, we have hosted 67 guests from the United States, Europe and Oceania and 64 Ugandan guests. Each of these visitors have impacted and empowered our community in unique ways while gaining rich cultural experiences of their own.
Over the next six months two PCE Foundation international board members are visiting with us from the United States. Julie K Thompson (Portland, Oregon), one of our supporters from the inception of the RGCM project, will be visiting/arriving on August 3. Rebecca Howard (Sadieville, Kentucky), the kind woman who educated me and continues to support this vision arrives in Uganda on August 18. She hopes to update all our supporters with her latest findings and experience. Lynn S Auerbach of Kids of Africa visited at the end of July. We also expect six visitors from Australia, one from Germany, one from the UK and another from France between September and November.

SUPPORT COVERAGE

We are very grateful for all the support we receive. Without your support, we could not achieve all we have achieved for the last 4.5 years. Our greatest support comes from the United States, Europe and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), from the highest number of supporters, respectively. We hope we can find new supporters locally and internationally, including from Asia. Your continued support will help us achieve our goals, while improving and empowering our world.

The financial report shall be shared in our annual report update in December.

FUTURE PLANS

For the rest of 2016 and beyond, we will be continuously looking into building partnerships with local, global and international NGOs/Charities in order to create sustainable solutions with and for the people at the grassroots. Based on our vision statement, “to have empowered communities that can take charge of their own development,” all of our projects are community-driven solutions to community challenges. This fosters the implementation of need-based projects that are not only relevant and appropriate, but also sustainable.

In line with this principle, PCE Foundation has identified community needs that are being developed into fully-fledged projects. Some of our goals for the next 5 years include:

  • Completing the Amor Community Library and Community Hall by December 2016.
  • Constructing secondary and vocational schools in order to benefit the wider community by December 2018.
  • Finding sponsors for those deserving and vulnerable children and students who are currently without educational support, in nursery, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education, on an ongoing basis.
  • Strengthening the health, agriculture and micro-finance projects, including introducing new innovative enterprising ventures.
  • Securing administrative funding that would allow us to begin providing salaries to our currently volunteer-only staff.

CHILD PROTECTION

Due to lack of funds, we have not yet employed specific child protection staff; however all our volunteer staff are individually responsible for the protection of the rights of the children. PCE Foundation believes the welfare of the child is paramount. All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to be protected from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

‘Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.’

-Article 19 – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

PCE Foundation believes that the best way to protect children is to empower them to protect themselves. We believe in listening to young people, and in giving them a voice and a say in shaping their own lives. Although no policy can ever guarantee zero possibility of abuse taking place, PCE Foundation believes in placing the prevention of child abuse at the centre of all of our work. In particular:

  • All of our programmes are designed to actively prevent child abuse
  • It is made absolutely clear to all of our staff that PCE Foundation does not tolerate child abuse in any form
  • All children involved with our work will be made aware of their right to protection from abuse and have a safe mechanism through which they can report any abuse
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse are be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • Abuse is always wrong and it is never the young person’s fault

PCE Foundation recognizes that we work with communities whose cultural attitudes and accepted behaviours towards children can sometimes be very different from that of their sponsors, and can also differ from region to region. Child empowerment and child protection can only be achieved fully by taking account of these differences. In addition, PCE Foundation does not manage or control schools; rather we facilitate communities to run their own schools. Therefore, our approach to child protection must reflect the fact that we cannot control directly what takes place in the community.

Our long term aim is the creation of a Child Protective Environment, a process which sensitizes the communities that children are part of so that a healthier attitude to children prevails in all aspects of their lives. This is a process that will take a number of years and runs alongside child protection procedures that can be made effective within our operations as they currently stand.
Our approach is to define minimum acceptable standards of Child Protection and work with communities to ensure as a first step that we are reaching those standards. We also have a longer term approach woven into our programmes work which aims to change attitudes and behaviours in communities.

A full document on child protection is mandatorily signed by anyone and everyone who visits with our supported communities, including all the teachers and administrators of the Portland school and all the PCE Foundation volunteers.

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