Namayumba Epicenter Construction by THP-Uganda in 2012

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Update to the Global Board

April 2012

THP-Uganda has continuously impacted the lives of its grassroots partners in all 11 epicenters through the implementation of the Epicenter Strategy. All the interventions under the Epicenter Strategy are aligned to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and there is significant contribution of the Epicenter Strategy towards the attainment of the MDGs.

During the reporting period, a number of milestones and achievements were revised in light of both the high inflation rate, which hit a record high of 30.5percent since January 1993 (when it hit 34.2 percent), leading to the devaluation of the Uganda shilling against the U.S. dollar, as well as the bad weather conditions that disrupted the construction project schedules for Namayumba Epicenter.

The key achievements included the commencement of Namayumba Epicenter construction. By the end of Q4, major construction works had been done and the epicenter was near completion. This epicenter construction project is the product of efforts of a tripartite partnership between THP-Uganda, Wakiso district local government and the Church of Uganda (Namirembe Diocese). This is in line with the new Strategic Direction of forging partnerships with national governments to integrate the Epicenter Strategy into the national plans for scale up. THP-Uganda also engaged a team of consultants to write a proposal to the Government of Uganda for scale-up of the Epicenter Strategy, using Namayumba Epicenter as a launching point for further partnership.

A number of other partnerships were also forged and old ones sustained during Q3 and Q4, such as the initiation of a partnership with the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), to be piloted in Mbarara Epicenter, where partners will access agricultural technologies. The proposed partnership will facilitate collaboration on initiatives that aim at disseminating improved crop and livestock technologies through increased availability and accessibility of seeds, supporting crop production and productivity as well as utilization and marketing to achieve the two parties’ goals. The Catholic Relief Services-funded cassava project in Kiboga Epicenter was granted an extension of five months following official closure in November 2011. The extension period was to enable proper project closure and end of term evaluation.

Meanwhile, Iganga Epicenter acquired two new solar panels, four dry 12-volt batteries, and a water purifier to improve lighting and sanitation at the epicenter through a partnership with AHEAD energy. Similarly, Mpigi Epicenter also received new solar panels for the health unit and a water pump from Mild May Uganda.

Inflation posed a major challenge towards implementation of the country program as a result of the escalating food and fuel prices that affected all spheres of life. Re-planning of the program activities and re-organization of resources were undertaken from time to time as a solution sought to overcome the inflation effects.

Accomplishments

  • Scale–up proposal to government: Consultants were engaged in Q4 to write up a proposal to the government of Uganda for scale-up of the Epicenter Strategy. Based on the consultants’ feedback, the proposal will either be submitted to the Office of the President or to the Office of the Prime Minister. The major shift, in alignment with THP’s Strategic Objective, is that THP is to enlist the government to implement the Epicenter Strategy country-wide but not necessarily give the $10M to THP-Uganda.
  • Income-Generating Activities: (1) Party Rental Services: Mbale Epicenter received 500 chairs, 10 tables and 3 tents in Q2. This was an initiative undertaken by the epicenter committee to rent out equipment to the public and community members during weddings, funerals and traditional ceremonies. Party rental services are now provided in the community and have fetched the epicenter over 1.35 million UGX (US $520). (2) TV Admission Fees: Kiruhura and Mbarara Epicenter received Digital Satellite Televisions (DSTVs) and generators and have started realizing some income from charging admission to football match shows and films. (3) Piggery Project: In addition, the kick-started Piggery Project at Mbale Epicenter is progressing steadily. One of the pregnant gilts furrowed 8 piglets on December 31, 2011. All the piglets will be retained as breeders and when numbers increase, an animal lending scheme will be piloted.
  • Improved performance at epicenter nursery schools: Enrollment of nursery children especially in Iganga and Mbale Epicenters greatly improved during the year. Over 149 epicenter nursery school pupils graduated to Primary 1 level in the epicenters of Mbale, Iganga, Mbarara and Kiruhura. Through the nursery school epicenter committees, parents have been encouraged to support their children through school. The total enrollment at the end of Q4 stood at 278 pupils – of which 152 are girls and 126 boys.
  • Access to epicenter health service delivery: In Q4, the Ministry of Health fulfilled their commitment of providing support to Mbale Epicenter Health Center in terms of drugs, medicines, equipment and remuneration of staff. The Center recorded a total of 770 people seeking health services in the first 11 days of operation. Mbale Epicenter Health Center was also earmarked to be a distribution center for malaria kits and treated mosquito nets in partnership with Malaria Consortium. The kits were delivered at the Health Center and a selection of Village Health Teams (VHTs) from every village was done. The VHTs received their first training in December 2011 at the epicenter conducted by Malaria Consortium. The strategy of VHTs was developed by the Ministry of Health in Uganda to improve the health services delivery system. They provide first aid and also treat malaria and diarrhea through anti-malaria tablets or oral re-hydration salts.
  • Epicenter construction: Construction on Namayumba Epicenter commenced in Q3 and progressed well as planned through Q4, save for the bad weather and effects of inflation on the side of the contractor. The ceremony for laying the foundation stone was commissioned by the Archbishop of Namirembe Diocese. Present was also the Hon. Minister of State in-charge of Economic Monitoring, under the President’s Office. He pledged continued government support to THP and promised to follow-up the proposal for Epicenter Strategy scale-up when submitted by THP-Uganda to the government. By the close of Q4, significant progress had been made as the structures were near completion.
  • Epicenter furniture and equipment: Mbale Epicenter was equipped with more furniture (30 pews, 2 office desks, and 2 shelves). This has made the epicenter register more visible in the community and has also increased access to community services, such as the main hall utilization.
  • New Strategic Direction/Plan: Following a sensitization meeting for Staff and NAC members of THP-Uganda on the new Strategic Direction, THP staff continued with the process to come up with the strategic plan document for 2012-2015.
  • Re-mobilization and clustering: Great achievements have been attained in the mobilization activities in Bulamagi and Kenshunga Epicenters served under Iganga and Kiruhura Epicenters respectively. Many partners have had access to credit through the Microfinance Program. Meanwhile, the process of group formation and their registration is progressing. However, the biggest challenge remains, the long-awaiting consideration for construction since mobilization has taken more than four years.
  • Strengthening of participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E): In order to demonstrate THP-Uganda’s impact, the different catalytic program projects were continuously monitored and periodically evaluated. A participatory M&E task force, comprised of 22 members with representatives from the epicenters, was instituted to ensure that all stakeholders' voices are heard in the process of selecting indicators, updating the M&E system and creating mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation work that informs program planning and organizational learning.

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