Uganda: Positive External Assessment and Improving Health Resources
Update to the Global Board
This reporting period covers activities for October 2008-April 2009. During this time, the following activities were achieved:
- Pro bono impact assessment of The Hunger Project (THP)-Uganda's work by an independent, external consulting firm;
- Consolidation of epicenter building components by completing Mbarara Epicenter nurses' quarters;
- Maintaining and ensuring effective partnerships with other organizations including Ford Foundation and the government;
- Ensuring epicenter food security;
- Community training and mindset change through Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops (VCAWs); and
- Ensuring community and women's empowerment through the African Woman Food Farmer Initiative (AWFFI) microfinance program and other integrated programs in the epicenters.
The most significant aspect about this period was the impact assessment of THP-Uganda's work. Through this study, we were happy to have our work validated and know that we have had a significant impact in the lives of our partners despite our very small budget and other challenges. The study also concluded with recommendations for improvement, especially in the area of impact assessment and reporting.
Photo: Some of the evaluation team with THP Uganda staff outside THP-Uganda office after a debrief of the impact assessment study.
Details on Progress
Areas of Achievement
Food security achieved
- 20 tons of grain stored in epicenter food banks, totaling 7.2 million Ush (US$3,349) on revolving food accounts. Partners have food stored at the household level until the next harvest and have diversified crops for better nutrition.
- 38 hectares of cassava was planted in Kiboga Epicenter for multiplication. The epicenter nutrition project produced over 1,000 kg of nutritious porridge, which was sold to schools and communities, especially to pregnant mothers.
- 4,000 kg of improved seed was distributed to partners for increasing production in coming season.
HIV/AIDS awareness increased
- 7,800 partners participated in the HIV/AIDS programs leading to a cumulative total of 83,000. As a result, youth and men's clubs were established to encourage "responsible fatherhood" and healthy living behavior in communities.
Increased access to health services
- A total of 7,095 patients accessed health services at epicenter health clinics compared to 10,200 in the previous period, contributing to a 30% decrease in morbidity.
- Animators continued to sensitize partners on the use of mosquito nets and use of pit latrines. Health awareness workshops were organized for 6,400 partners in Mbale and Iganga Epicenters. Film shows on sanitation, health, malaria and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including AIDS were shown to partners. A total of four schools were visited, reaching 3,090 people.
- Four health clubs have been formed, and action plans that included an emphasis on body hygiene and use of sanitary pit latrines were created.
Improved child and maternal health
- 25 schools were visited by epicenter health staff for immunizations. A total of 10,165 children were immunized against killer diseases and 709 mothers accessed antenatal services in the epicenter clinics.
Increased awareness in sanitation, hygiene and environmental protection
- Water treatment tablets were accessed by our partners in Iganga through the Population Services International (PSI) partnership.
- The number of animators training people in water purification technologies increased to 253. Water-borne illnesses were reduced by over 70% in the epicenters.
- During this reporting period, in partnership with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), THP established a tree nursery at Kiboga Epicenter that provides 80,000 tree seedlings of pine and eucalyptus species to partners.
Changed mindsets, increased literacy and improved access to early child education
- A total of 7,625 partners participated in VCAWs leading to a cumulative total of 183,625. An additional 1,525 animators were trained, leading to a cumulative total of 25,377; and an additional 118 "trainers of trainers," or TOTs, were trained for a cumulative total of 712 TOTs.
- The six epicenter nursery schools have a daily attendance of 290 pupils who receive a nutritious meal. 33 Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) classes comprised of 560 learners were mobilized in Mbale, leading to a cumulative total of 256 in all epicenters. Of this total, 223 classes have been handed over to the local governments. More than 90% of the adult learners are women.
Women's economic empowerment achieved
- Partners are in the final stages of registering a fifth rural bank in Kiringente Epicenter, targeting a minimum of 500 fully paid-up members with shares for the start up. So far, a total of 1,240,000 Ush (US$577) worth of shares and 13,878,950 Ush (US$6,455) accumulated savings have been mobilized towards the formation of this bank.
- A total of Ush 384,100,000 (US$178,651) was disbursed by AWFFI-Uganda to 992 partners (747 women and 245 men) organized in 114 groups. Timely repayment was 93%.
Program consolidation and enhanced village and local government partnerships
- Mbale Epicenter partners mobilized 33,434 bricks; 38 trips of river sand; and 42 trips of pit sand. They are now ready to start construction. More materials are in the villages ready to be ferried to the site. The district local government finalized provision of its share of the contribution towards the construction.
- Construction of the Mbarara Epicenter health staff house was finalized in partnership with Mbarara District as part of the epicenter program consolidation.
Areas of Challenge
Unpredictable weather changes
- The prolonged dry spell/season is affecting food production. Partners can not plant in time and this leads to low harvests.
Constrained delivery of health services due to scarcity of drugs at the epicenters
- Reduction of local government district health budgets has led to scarcity of drugs in the health centers, hence impacting negatively on the delivery of health services.
- We continued to uphold partnerships with government at both local and national levels. Our work was supported by relevant ministries concerned with our work in addition to the President's personal endorsement of THP.
- The Rural Banks are considering the possibility of receiving funds from the government's program, "Prosperity for All," which is coordinated by the microfinance support centre.
- We entered phase two of a grant partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in December 2008, and began implementation for the multiplication of 2,961 disease-resistant cassava variety in Kiboga Epicenter. During this period, 41 hectares have been established in communities.
- We also received a small grant from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) for establishing a tree nursery at Kiboga Epicenter. The seedlings are given to epicenter partners for planting in their fields to improve on the environment.
- Ford Foundation Regional Office in Nairobi has awarded THP-Uganda a grant for improving our microfinance program and for partner business improvement.
- An implementation partnership with Population Services International (PSI) was strengthened. This is a health marketing and education program that has been operating in Iganga Epicenter in partnership with THP to sensitize partners in water purification technologies so as to reduce water-borne illnesses including diarrhea, cholera, and dysentery.
- In Mbale Epicenter, the Farm Enhancement and Forestry Conservation Project (FEFCO) has established a tree plantation at Busoba near the site where the epicenter building will be located. In addition, in partnership with Red Cross, our animators in Mbale Epicenter distributed 240 packets of water purifiers to partners after a sensitization on safe water chain.
- We entered into a partnership with the Ministry of Health under the Health, Sanitation and HIV/AIDS Program. Mobilization and sensitization in hygiene and sanitation was done in communities and schools in Mbale and Iganga Epicenters. We screened film shows with recordings on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sanitation, and hygiene messages, and distributed other IEC materials to schools and community members.
Broader Awareness and Advocacy
An article about the 2008 winners of the Africa Prize for Leadership, Janet Nkubana and Faiza Jama Mohamed was published in Uganda's print media, The Monitor, on October 22, 2008.
THP-Uganda participated in the commemoration of the International Day for Eradication of Poverty in October 2008. A three-day program to mark the event in Uganda was organized by the Parliamentary Forum on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Events that we participated in included a book exhibition in the Ugandan Parliamentary Lobby displaying THP's literature and a procession walk on Kampala streets for a clean-up drive in one of the slum areas in Kampala. THP work was again documented in the government-owned newspaper The New Vision on October 16, 2008.
THP-Uganda also participated in the events to mark the International Women's Day in March 2009. The theme for Uganda was "Increasing Investment in Girl Child Education as a Pre-requisite for Development." We were part of the National Planning Committee for the event and Iganga Epicenter Nursery school and women partners performed at the function. The Minister of Education was impressed by the poem about early childhood education that was presented by Iganga Epicenter nursery school children on the importance of educating the girl child and women's empowerment. The Guest of Honor was His Excellency the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. THP's message for the day was also published in the National Newspaper.
The mobilization activities on hygiene, sanitation and HIV/AIDS in Mbale Epicenter were also covered and broadcasted by one of the local radio stations, Open Gate Radio. This program coincided with District Sanitation Week, which was launched in Mbale on March 18, 2009. All this gives impetus to the work of ending hunger within the country.
A strong partnership between THP animators and schools in Mbale Epicenter has been forged, forming "youth health clubs" to address issues of hygiene, sanitation and HIV/AIDS. We adopted film shows as one of the methods for information dissemination to our partners in health, food production and sanitation programs. The films assist in easier adoption since we have proved that people learn faster when visual aids are used.
The main objective for impact assessment during this period was to have a clear understanding of a results-oriented monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework in all epicenter communities with impacts well documented and disseminated. To this end, the external impact assessment report provided a good opportunity for THP-Uganda to prove the effectiveness of the Epicenter Strategy and its methodology in empowering communities to end their own hunger. As a result, recommendations for improvement have already caught our attention as points for reflection and improvement.
During this period, we trained new sets of research teams and retrained the old ones. In addition, we developed a logframe for all epicenters pegged on the set goals. This should ease activity implementation and impact tracking by partners, staff, district officials and/or external researchers.