The Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation (PCE Foundation) works to enhance knowledge and skills within rural communities and to promote the exchange of information and best practices through education, mentorship, advocacy and strategic partnerships for social, cultural and economic development. We seek to break the cycle of poverty and empower communities to take charge of their own development.
PCE Foundation is a Ugandan Nonprofit corporation (#S.5914/9510) in partnership with Tax exempt Charities in Australia, Europe and the United States.
100% of our University students, especially the girls, would have been married by now, if the RGCM program of the PCE Foundation was not initiated six years ago.
–Scovia Kagulo, Chairperson, PCE Foundation Parents’ Committee
PCE Foundation made 5 this year, with generous support from mostly individuals from across the globe. We are learning faster and growing rapidly, while keeping women, girls and children at the centre of our programs and projects. In fact, this has been our focus since inception. We are now a strong and dedicated team of team of over 36 volunteers; local and international, fighting hard to empower the grassroots population of Tororo and Buteleja districts, Eastern Uganda, especially the women, girls and children.
We embarked on this journey knowing some of the challenges; today we know a little more and there is still so much more to learn. We saw a world that was seemingly oblivious to violence, denial and discrimination against women, girls and children.
Something had to be done and we became conduits of the change we wanted to see. Through the few years of our operation, we have seen that the change has begun to happen; children into empowered girls and boys; girls and boys into professionals/career women and men – some of our students have already graduated; the current women and men into empowered parents and guardians. We have not left men behind, we are working together with them to create the changes we want to see right from the household levels to community level; village by village (24 villages in two districts).
Though the rural population is deprived of many services and opportunities, including a voice, we have also seen more and more people, charities and foundations wanting to join our cause and do something in their own small ways.
Welcome to our 2016 annual report! We hope to hear from you soon after reading this report!
–Beatrice Achieng Nas, Founder and Executive Director – PCE Foundation
PROGRAMS, PROJECTS & EVENTS
THE RURAL GIRL CHILD SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM (RGCM)
The RGCM project maintained 108 sponsored students in 2016 and every year we see great progress among our RGCM students. By encouraging our students to delay getting married and having children, we are building a strong and independent group of empowered and educated parents.
Here is a list of our active students, including our 2016 graduates:
|Name of Course
|No. of Students
|Year of Graduation
|Accounting and Finance
|Adult and Community Education
|Community Development and Social Justice
|Human Resource Management
|Nursing and Midwifery
|Nursing and Midwifery
|Total number of Students
Transition of Educational Support program
We are changing our long-term strategic path for education. For our first four years of operation, we carefully selected the brightest students in our rural area and sent them to boarding schools in Kampala. We expected the educational opportunities to be better there, and thought that the students would be able to concentrate more on their studies if they weren’t also required to help around the home and on the land.
This was true to some extent, but we realized that there are some negative aspects to this approach as well. Transporting the students to Kampala and paying the boarding school fees is very expensive, and when a mentor is unexpectedly no longer able to support their mentee financially, it puts a tremendous burden on the program. Another concern is that as these girls complete their education, they are more likely to remain in the city than to return to the village and use their skills to help the community prosper. And finally, this approach limits PCE Foundation to helping a relatively small number of students when there are many more actively seeking our support.
To address these concerns, we have decided to work at improving educational opportunities in our own area. Our eventual goal is to facilitate the development of a complete school complex, including pre-primary, primary, secondary and vocational/technical schools within the community, which will enable a far greater number of young people to acquire a good education. It is also anticipated that more of them will remain in the area following graduation, and use what they’ve learned to benefit their community.
In 2014, we took our first step toward this goal by building the Portland Nursery and Primary School in Amor village, Tororo district. A six classroom block was completed in December 2015 with support from many individuals from across the globe. Another seven classroom block was funded by Mi Corazon, Bemmel en Haalderen and Stichting LMStandard Supports of the Netherlands, coordinated by Maarten Bastiaansen This second block was completed in May 2016. The Portland School has 193 children of ages 3 to 11, 13 teachers and 4 administrators. Although it focuses on a younger age group than those in the RGCM program, we believe it is an important step in the right direction.
Out of the 193 children in the Portland school, 22 children have sponsors. The remaining 171 are struggling to raise the US$20 per term to cover tuition and meals. As small as these fees might seem, the families in our community struggle to pay them, which prevents hundreds more children from attending school. Some of the children who do have sponsors have been homeless, orphaned, and very vulnerable children. We are very grateful to their sponsors!
The school is being administered and run by qualified, experienced teachers. Portland School administration works hand-in-hand with the PCE Foundation to provide a safe, secure, happy, practical and stimulating environment with appropriate play and learning experiences for the academic and personal development of each child. Most of these children are living in precarious situations, having lost one or both parents to HIV. Two of the children have disabilities, and unfortunately there is no school or special support available anywhere in the area. The Portland teachers, although they are not specially trained to handle children with disabilities, are working to give them a chance at a good education. So far, their academic performances are promising.
We are continuously looking for sponsors for the children in both the RGCM program who are attending boarding school, and those under the Portland Sponsorship program. Any assistance you can give in spreading the word would be greatly appreciated.
We are also calling on to people who might be in a position to support us in development of the remaining buildings in the school complex, including expansion of the nursery and primary schools, as well as the addition of secondary and vocational/technical schools, to please get in touch with us so we can pursue this dream together. You can reach us at the Contact page.
THE PEER MENTORING PROGRAM
We started implementing the peer mentoring program in October 2016 as a technique of improving academic performance and morals, especially in the secondary and primary schools.
Each RGCM college/university student has been assigned as a mentor to two secondary school students as well as a class in Portland Nursery and Primary School. In this position, they are providing educational and emotional support and advice, serving as role models, and providing encouragement to motivate the students to work hard within their respective schools and in their communities. We envision that this program will benefit the university/college students who must model good behavior both academically and morally, as well as giving confidence and courage to their younger counterparts.
Those students enrolled in the Primary Teacher’s College have been assigned to work at the Portland Nursery and Primary School – Amor Village during college holidays. Since these students are pursuing their Primary Teaching Certification, this provides them with an opportunity to gain experience in the primary school setting, as well as allowing them to bring fresh ideas into the classrooms and serve as role models for the younger children. The students are also expected to provide performance assessments for each of the ten classes.
We are utilizing the mandatory school visitations to run this program within the secondary schools. During the morning period, the university/college students meet one-on-one with their assigned students and review their assessment reports, discuss any academic issues, and provide counseling and guidance on any personal issues. In the afternoon, the students and their international mentors will continue to meet via Skype as before.
As a team, we believe that this concept of peer mentoring within our student body across all levels (nursery, primary, secondary, college and university) will result in improved academic performance, provide motivation for students to stick to their educational goals. and develop leadership skills in the older students.
This concept was introduced and designed by Mary Sylvia Agolla, one of RGCM program’s students who will graduate in December 2016. Mary developed this program after analyzing the challenges students face academically and morally.
During our first five years of operation, the PCE Foundation programs have lost fourteen students to unplanned marriages, pregnancies, irresponsible behavior, and dropouts due to consistently poor performance in schools. Mary’s mentoring program is the first PCE Foundation project to be designed and implemented from the students’ point of view, and we hope it has a positive impact on the students at all levels.
THE PORTLAND SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
We are 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, along with 7 teachers.
In 2014, we started building 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.
The Pollination Project (https://thepollinationproject.org) gave a grant worth US$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, handwash facility with four taps, three trash cans, and 15 Metallic talking 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 US$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.
We are proud to inform you that Richard Carss made a donation in November worth £4100 for Portland Digital Classroom, which included funds for a Television for television educational programs, typing and printing services as well as lighting for all 13 classrooms. By December, the wiring and solar power supply was already complete in all the 13 classrooms. The rest of the installations will be finalized in 2017.
More about the digital classroom and the impact stories will be shared in our 2017 annual report.
THE AMOR VILLAGE LIBRARY AND COMMUNITY CENTER
Our Library project is close to the roofing point but due to limited funds, we are not able to continue further at this time. The first phase of construction, which consisted of ground breaking, slab construction (this was done between 2014 and 2015) and was possible with financial contributions from the Community and donations from individual external donors, the community members make the bricks.
An online fundraising campaign was launched by Joana Dias (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-library-to-lift-up-a-community), and allowed us to raise approximately $7100. We used this fund to build the wall.
We also received CA$6000 grant from the MacEwan University Global Education Fund which raised the wall to the beam level as seen in the pictures below, and at the moment the project is on hold due to lack of funding.
We are still seeking additional funds to:
- Build and complete the beam level
- Raise the wall plate
- Build the roof
- Plaster the walls
- Paint the building
- Build the toilet system
- Purchase and install solar power equipment
- Furnish the 5,320 square foot building
For the very last phase of furnishing, books and 2 book cases have already been donated. 95 boxes of books were collected and shipped to our community by Natasha Sigmund (New York, USA) in November 2016. We are also expecting more books from other external donors, once the construction is complete.
Purpose of the Library Project
This project responds to the Community’s expressed need for a space where information can be accessed, meetings can be held and a secure temporary home for domestically abused family members, who are usually mothers and children. This project was started in January 2014 with community support and individual donations from across the globe. It has however come to a standstill due to lack of funds.
Students of local primary and secondary schools also showed interest in the Community Library and Meeting Hall for studying and especially having access to books, newspapers, and internet. The building will provide educational materials for PCE Foundation’s sponsored girls, the Portland primary school children and their parents.
The mentoring programme of PCE Foundation includes monthly meetings between the girls and their parents, in order to promote an active parental participation in their child’s education. These meetings are currently held under a tree and often disturbed by bad weather conditions. The building will also serve as a venue for literacy classes, empowerment group meetings, training sessions, and cultural and religious events, as well as a meeting place for stakeholders to discuss Community issues. Village elders will also find here a place to meet and share indigenous knowledge.
The meeting space would also be hired for weddings, parties and other non-PCE foundation initiatives, which will raise income for the community that could be invested in the school programs, agriculture and other income generating activities for the community.
Finally, there are two private rooms intended for victims of domestic violence, as temporary shelters for them while we reach out to other bodies in and around the community to sort their differences.
GARDENING & AGRICULTURE
Despite the challenging weather, the parent community of the PCE Foundation has continued to show their dedication in farming and agriculture. This is partly because they are 100% peasant farmers – they rely on agriculture for every need.
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 brought us to a total of 259 mango trees, within the coordinating center – Amor village. Unfortunately the mango tree seedlings donated by Barbara were terribly affected by drought, only a few plants have survived.
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, per pineapple – depending on the size. By the end of December 2016, a total of $149 was raised from the sales. The community members have budgeted for this money for fencing the Pineapple garden as thieves come in and steal the pineapples. Meanwhile over 400 Pineapple saucers have been re-planted in the same garden.
On a sad note, the passion fruits garden of 100 plants died off after just one harvest, because of prolonged drought which destroyed vegetable gardens and affected the farming activities of our beneficiary communities and the rural communities at large. 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 group of the PCE Foundation composed of 350 parent beneficiaries are involved in their third Phase of their savings and loans association, and art and craft making activities. There formulated three groups; most composed of women. The third share-out of the funds of these groups was done in December 2016. $1,306.00 was realized by all the three groups. This includes both the savings and the loans interest.. On the other hand, over 600 paper beads were made and sold out to local traders and to the visiting guests, by the these groups.
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 following their skills); 4 sets of table cloths have been made and sold to locals by the knitting group.
Bee keeping, poultry, piggery and households fruit tree growing are some of the projects the beneficially community would like to engage in, in order to improve their household income.
From the students’ corner, the Portland school management is currently working on a curriculum that will involve the children in hands-on/practical skills including farming, knitting, molding, music, dance and drama, and engineering; with the help and support of the parents and well-wishers.
During the monthly meeting of the PCE Foundation in August, the parents and guardians of the sponsored students decided to start home-based poultry farming as an income generating activity as weather in Uganda has been unfavourable to the farmers, resulting in failed crops and starvation in the rural areas. It was felt that poultry farming would provide fresh eggs and meat to eat, as well as serving as a source of income.
As a first step, the group voted to make it mandatory for all the parents and guardians of the sponsored students to build chicken coops in each mentee’s household. The deadline for building the chicken coops was set for the end of November. By the end of 2016, at least 90% of the parents had build the chicken coops.
The next step is to stock the chicken coops, the parents and guardians agreed to start stocking the fowls in March 2017. The details of this project will be shared in the 2017 updates and annual report.
PREVENTIVE HEALTH INITIATIVE
We mainly focus on sex education, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health.
In June, 2016, PCE Foundation’s RGCM Girls’ Village to Village Peer Education was selected among the competitive applicants of the AmplifyChange Grant and was awarded a grant for peer education. 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 different villages with life skills, sex education and reproductive health education during school breaks/holidays. The is to be implemented starting May 2017. The outcome of this and more in relation to this objective shall be shared in our 2017 annual report.
CULTURAL EXCHANGE AND DIVERSITY
In 2016 alone, hosted twenty two (22) international visitors. This included the grandmother of the PCE Foundation, Rebecca Howard, who sponsored Beatrice’s education and whose fruits of giving gave birth to PCE Foundation. These guests were from Australia, France, Germany, Netherlands New Zealand and the United States. Since 2012, we have so far hosted 76 international guests and 72 local/in country guests. Each of these visitors (volunteers, sponsors, donors, tourists and researchers) have impacted and empowered our community in unique ways while gaining rich cultural experiences of their own.
AMOR VILLAGE CHILDREN’S PARTY II
The Amor Village Children’s Party has become an annual celebration since December 26, 2015, dedicated to children and only children. In 2015, we registered over 400 children for the first celebration. In 2016, 617 children attended the party!
In Tororo and other rural communities of Uganda, during any gatherings or celebrations that include feasting, children are hardly considered. They are actually not even invited but in most cases they will show up and in BIG numbers. Adults are served food and drinks first, and the children are considered last, usually only when there is any food left. If there’s any food left for them, they have to struggle to get a share.
The Amor Village Children’s Party therefore is a celebration strictly for children ages 3 to 15. Candies and balloons came from Australia, Europe, the United States and from Uganda! Financial donations from various individuals helped us buy food and drinks, hire a brass band, rent a public address system and facilitate several fun competitions among the children.
Many thanks to Susan S, Susan O, Susanna B, Singrid T, Sharon S, Lorraine S, and Ellen S who donated candies, balloons, foods and drinks for the children; it was such a special and a memorable day for the children!
PCE FOUNDATION MANAGEMENT UPDATE
Board Members Transition:
From the beginning, PCE Foundation has been mentored, monitored and supported by visionaries from across the globe, and their knowledge and skills have greatly benefited the program. As of November 2016, we have formed a new Board of Directors based in Uganda. With a deep understanding of the culture and needs of the people, the new board is fully equipped to guide our growth and support our development in the years to come. Please visit the “Board of Directors” page on our website for details, pce-foundation.org/board-of-directors
PCE Foundation is continuously expanding at the grassroots on a voluntary basis. The Portland school alone now operates with volunteer teachers (who are paid for facilitation), administrative support and other support team. Together, there are 36 volunteers supporting different projects and programs, including website management as listed in the last page of this report.
Starting Nov 12, 2016, we had a shift of Board Members from international to local board.
FINANCIAL REPORT – January to December 2016
Statement of activities
Income in USD:
Global Development Group Australia ……………………….…………………………… 11,327.15
Income from Hans-Joachim Herrmann Germany ………….………………..…………….58,458.19
Income from A More Balanced World USA ………………….………………………… 23,291.97
Income from Others (Canada, Australia, Europe, U.S, Local income)………………….… 30,171.80
Revenue Amount (USD)
Grants, Gifts & Contributions 123,249.10
|Amount in USD
|School fees expenses Secondary/University
|Communication (Internet Airtime and Postage)
|Construction Expenditure Library/School
|Transport and Maintenance Expenses
|National Examination registration
|Farming and Agriculture
CURRENT CHALLENGES AND FUTURE PLANS
We are 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, “to have empowered communities that can take charge of their own development,” all 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:
- Finishing the Amor Community Library and Community Hall. The goal is to finish the project by December 2017.
- Constructing secondary and vocational schools in order to benefit the wider community by December 2020.
- Finding sponsors for those deserving and vulnerable children and students who are currently without educational support, from nursery, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education, this is on an ongoing basis.
- Strengthening the health, agriculture and micro-finance projects, including introducing new innovative enterprising ventures.
- Securing administrative grants/funds. PCE Foundation is a volunteer based organization with no paid staff. This limits the human resource maintenance because everybody here is looking for income; to support themselves and their families while doing good to the world.
Like Ken Blanchard said “Feedback is the breakfast of champions,” or Bill Gates “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve,” we grow because we learn from people like yourself.
We request you to take a moment and contact us with your suggestions, ideas and or solutions that work best for you.
Thank you for sparing your precious time to read our annual report. We hope that 2017 will be a peaceful and successful year for you and for us!
Since our founding, PCE Foundation has been run by a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers. The following people are the core volunteer management team behind its operations and success:
- Andrew O
- Annabelle H
- Anthony O
- Beatrice A.N
- Celcilia A
- Christine A
- Connie A
- Dominic O
- Donato O
- Francis O
- Gabriel J
- George W
- Jamach O
- James M
- Jane R N
- Joana D
- Joseph M
- Joseph N
- Joseph O
- Josephine A
- Judith M
- Lazarus O
- Mary S A
- Nigel & Rebecca K
- Nociata A
- Norah C A
- Patrick S
- Priscilla A
- Richard A
- Richard O
- Sabina A
- Scovia K
- Ted & Lindsey C
- Valentino O
- Veronica A