Author - Atim Patience

Vocational Skills Training for self-reliance and socio-economic integration

Vocational skills training is one of the pathways for Refugees and Host Community Youth to attain Post-Secondary School Education and gainful employment. For out of school youth who may not have made it to secondary school this is the most promising solution to employment and sustainable livelihoods as well as socio-economic integration.

Windle International Uganda (WIU) in partnership with Uganda Manufacture’s Association & Young Women’s Christian Association in 2019 implemented the Market Oriented Skill Development for Refugees and Host Community in Kiryandongo and Adjumani Project. The project was made possible with funding from the European Union Trust Fund-Skills Development Fund (SDF) through ENABEL.

The project was conducted through vocational skills training for Refugees and Host Community youth in the target area. A total of 360 youth from the four settlements (Kiryandongo and Adjumani (Ayilo I, Agojo, Maaji II) were trained, assessed, and certified by the Directorate of Industrial Training, Ministry of Education and Sports. These were then furnished with business start-up kits to start their enterprises and hopefully pass on the same skills to other youth within their communities. The project aimed to enhance the self-reliance and socio-economic integration of the target communities while contributing to the development of Uganda.   

We visited some of the beneficiaries and this is what they had to say;

Meet Nancy

Nancy at her workstation in Kiryandongo. Photo by WIU

Nancy is a South-Sudanese and like most of her mates in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, could not move on to the university due to lack of finances. After being home for over a year, she was desperate for employment which was not easy to find given her lack of technical training. 

So when a friend mentioned to her about the Market Oriented Skills Development for Refugees and Host Community project, she did not hesitate to apply. Her life has never been the same since. 

The only female trainee in the Welding and Metal Fabrication class, Nancy knew that failing was not an option and as such ensured to top her class. Today she boasts of a daily income that takes care of her family. 

My family is now self-sustaining and the delayed food distribution does not affect our daily feeding routine like other families in our community. I can buy food, cooking oil, and other household items and other basic needs. I am also saving to start my workshop in the future so that I can train and employ youth in my community in metal fabrication.” Nancy

Meet Joseph

Joseph at his workstation in Agojo Central, Adjumani. Photo by WIU

For Joseph, the bakery has always been close to his heart. “One day, I decided to drop out of school for one term while in primary six to join some friends at one of the local bakeries. I was only a young boy in his early teens but eager to do business. I remember barely working for two weeks because the working conditions were really tough so I decided to quit. I later returned to school until I completed my O’ level but because my grades were poor, I could not afford to continue with school.” 

He heard of the project’s call for applications from a friend and quickly applied. He was successful and very happy to be training in a field he is passionate about. “I loved the training especially the time of tasting the products of our work, it felt good to appreciate my efforts. I got exposed to more skills during my internship at Zawadi Hotel in Adjumani town. I learned how to bake different types of bread, how to serve guests, I even had an opportunity to learn how to cook with various recipes as a bonus.”

Thanks to the start-up kits, Joseph and five other colleagues from the same training now run a bakery from which they make between Ugx 55,000-65,000. They also cater to bigger meetings within the settlement which earns them even more. For Joseph he is now able to take care of his sick mother, he has even started up a small scale business for her to run from home. “I wake up very early every day to bake some madazis and doughnuts for her to sell before I report for my duty and she is now a happier woman,” Joseph remarked.

Meet Adieu

Adieu at her workshop in Ayilo 1 main market. Photo by WIU

At just 24 years of age, Adieu is married and a mother to one child. Having fled the war in South Sudan in 2014, Adieu’s education was interrupted at just Senior two. Upon reaching Uganda, her hopes to return to school were squashed by her parents’ inability to afford any school fees as the war left them with nothing. As a girl child in her community, she was encouraged to get married. Life, she admits did not get any easier as she solely depended on her husband who has no fulltime job. 

When news of the training landed on her ears, Adieu applied for the tailoring course which she says had been a secret dream of hers. “I always admired to learn to tailor but had no idea how I would achieve this let alone any skill in the field,” said Adieu

Like all her other counterparts, Adieu was given a sewing machine upon completion of her training as well as workshop space secured in Ayilo 1 main market. Her life has since changed for the better. With a monthly saving of at least, Ugx 20,000 Adieu can support her family and no longer gets anxious when her baby falls sick because she can pay some medical bills. Adieu is hopeful that her business will grow so that she can train other youth like her in the community. She also plans to go back to school because in her own words, “it’s never too late to learn.”

Meet Angeth

Angeth in her shop in Ayilo 1 Refugee Settlement. Photo by WIU

The story is not any different for Angeth whose experience has inspired her to want to start up her vocational institute so that she can train other girls like her. In 2014 Angeth fled war-torn South Sudan for Uganda. Upon arrival, Angeth was very keen on pursuing and completing her education which unfortunately did not happen as she only managed to make it to O’level. A very resilient young woman-Angeth did not give up, she embarked on looking for work within the settlement so that she could earn something for her school fees still in vain. 

When her brother mentioned a call for applications for vocational training, she knew this was yet another opportunity to try.” I immediately applied for the opportunity in the trade of bakery. I specifically applied for bakery because it is a very marketable trade here in my community.” Angeth

Angeth has since not looked back. With the availed start-up kits, she together with seven other trainees opened up a shop where they bake different snacks for sell including cakes, doughnuts, etc. They each can earn a gross amount of fifty thousand shillings daily and plan to expand as they grow. 

“Through this training and business, I can now support myself with most of the basic needs I require, I now possess a skill that many do not have and eagerly yearn for, respected in the community and my goal is to go back to school when I’ve made more money. I also plan on starting up a vocational training school to support mainly those underprivileged girls who have dropped out of school due to various circumstances.” Angeth

Her simple advice to the youth out there is that they should embrace education. To the girls, they should take up the challenge and become education warriors. They should take a keen interest in academics and not listen to those trying to distract them.

According to UNHCR, right now only 3% of refugees have access to higher education. Education pathways like Technical and Vocational Training remain on top of the list for viable solutions to access to higher Education.

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Quality Teachers for Quality Education

Arnold Nimuhamya, One of the teachers at Kakoni P/S trained by ECW

“I didn’t know about thematic teaching,” confessed Nimuhamya Arnorld a teacher under the ECW program. Arnold is a teacher at Kakoni P/S in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement, managed by Windle International Uganda (WIU). On 22 February 2019, he was fortunate to land a teaching job with WIU-a job he had earlier trained for but had not much luck securing one. He was very ecstatic to start his teaching job but from the onset found difficulty with understanding the thematic curriculum. At his time of training, Arnold says, “the methods they taught us were not like this.” Currently the thematic mode of teaching is the recommended and used model in primary schools within Uganda. He confesses to not knowing what it was and teaching was becoming rather disgruntling for him.

Fortunately, a school inspection exercise by the Ministry of Education that sought to understand the teacher’s challenges chanced upon Arnold.  Arnold like many of his other colleagues cited difficulty in using the Thematic-teaching model. It is these complaints that informed the WIU team of a need for teacher training which was opportunely supported by Education Cannot Wait. (ECW). ECW thrives to push the Quality Education agenda for refugees to greater heights by ensuring quality and effective teaching hence the teacher training. The training equipped 277 teachers with Pedagogy, psychosocial and thematic skills of teaching to ensure that the teachers deliver a quality education to the learners.

Additionally, ECW constructed teacher’s accommodation. This has ensured that teachers are more available for the learners and can offer better supervision. Arnold for example lived 4kms away from school and this meant that he would only get to school after 8:30am, which is later than the stipulated time of 8:00am to start lessons. This therefore meant a late start of lessons and less time with learners, as he also had to leave school early. With the teachers’ accommodation within the school premises now, the teachers are able to come to class early, have ample teaching time and supervise school property to avoid damage from the learners. The ECW intervention has undeniably produced a new breed of teachers that are able to provide quality education and psychosocial support to the learners.

Some of the newly constructed teachers’ accommodation units in Kakoni P/S. Photo by Dionne-WIU
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DAFI Scholarship; More than just education.

Lamara Juliet at her stall Lamwo. Juliet is second year student of Nkumba University pursuing a Diploma in Education thanks to the DAFI Scholarship Programme Photo by WIU.

When Juliet first arrived in Uganda in 2017, she did not ever imagine that she would be a business owner, let alone a university student. As a young mother then, Juliet knew from the onset that she needed to find a source of income to sustain her family comprising of her son and siblings. Being the head of her family having lost her parents in the civil war in South-Sudan, Juliet’s goal was to find a self–reliant solution to her family’s livelihood. Having dropped out of school, she knew and appreciated the role of education in transforming one’s life and so she was determined to find her way to the university. Armed with her secondary school academic documents, Juliet quickly searched for the available options to her considering she couldn’t afford to fund her studies. Fortunately, she got an opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant with Windle International Uganda and later in 2018, a DAFI scholarship to fund her university studies. Juliet opted to pursue education at the university.

The DAFI Scholarship Programme is an initiative of the German government that provides scholarships to young refugees to help them access and complete higher education in universities, colleges and polytechnics in their host countries, and in some cases, in the country of origin upon return. The scholarship covers a range of costs and also provides academic preparatory, language and information and communication technology (ICT) courses, as well as psychosocial support, where needed. The comprehensive approach is designed to promote student academic achievement, skills development, wellbeing towards a rich and empowering overall higher education experience.

Juliet is not waiting to graduate with her Diploma in Education(Primary) before she can reap the benefits of the scholarship. Like all learners, she is home following the Presidential lockdown directives amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Juliet stays in Lamwo Refugee Settlement where she has been seeking refuge with her son and siblings since 2017 when they arrived from South-Sudan. Upon her return from the university, Juliet had to think fast about how to survive during this period as she is the head of her family. Armed with some personal savings, Juliet started up her small scale food business that is now their source of livelihood. She also hired a piece of land on which she has planted maize to boost her income.

Whilst balancing business and her academic research and reading, Juliet attributes whatever she can do now to the DAFI scholarship whose main goal is to promote the self-reliance of Refugees. Through the scholarship award, she has attended different forms of training and workshops where she has learned a lot about entrepreneurship and what better time than this to put those skills to use. “I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me as it’s now for all of us in the family, words alone can’t express our joy for the golden chance. DAFI scholarship is like our parent since we lost our parents in the war.” Lamara Juliet

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MESSAGE FROM WINDLE INTERNATIONAL UGANDA IN COMMEMORATION OF THE DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD 2020

The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Charter/Charter) was adopted by the Organization of African Unity (OAU); now AU on 11 July 1990 and entered into force on 29 November 1999. The Charter establishes the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Committee/Committee), consisting of 11 members of high moral standing, integrity, impartiality and competence in matters of the rights and welfare of the child.

In 1991, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the then OAU instituted the Day of the African Child (DAC) for the first time in memory of the 16th June 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa. During that time students marched in protest against the poor quality of education they received and demanded to be taught in their own languages. This calls for a reflection on the Quality of Education we provide in the Schools under our support.

Since then, the OAU and its successor, the AU, have used the DAC to remember these children, to celebrate children in Africa as well as to inspire a sober reflection and action towards addressing the plethora of challenges that children in Africa face on a daily basis.

Whenever we Celebrate the DAC; we are reminded of the important linkages between the SDGs and the African Children’s Charter, with the goal of inspiring States Parties to accelerate efforts towards realizing all children’s rights as provided by the Charter, as a contribution towards accelerating the promotion and protection of all children’s rights in Africa. There are 17 main goals (with 169 targets) that altogether make up the SDGs, with several targets and indicators for each goal. ; As WIU our Projects contribute Most significantly to 8 of the SDGs which are;  1 (end poverty), 2 (eradicate hunger), 3 (promote health- Including Menstrual Health ), 4 (secure education), 5 (effect gender equality), 6 (access to water and sanitation), 16 (peace/justice/strong institutions) & 17 (partnerships/participation)

The African Committee selects the theme for the DAC every year. The theme selected by the for the celebration of the DAC in 2020 is “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa”

Windle International Targets Slightly more than 95% children in her various projects and as such Children in Africa; who have been greatly affected by conflict are the major recipients of the services we offer; hence the great interest we have in Marking this day.

The Windle International Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy Stipulates clearly how best our engagements with children are done to the best benefit and interest of the children; As such all Windle International Staff are duty bound to ensure that the rights of children as  Proclaimed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; are Upheld and Protected at all times. We have to Safeguard the Children under our care against all forms of abuse; within the course of implementation of our various projects as well as in our day to day Lives; THERE CAN’T BE ANY EXCUSE FOR FAILURE TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN WE SERVE!

This Year’s theme of ; “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa” Reminds us that even though WI Projects Currently don not have components of Legal  Representation; the Justice chain  for children is a long one ; and several times we find our selves involved in providing Justice to Children who face abuse within our areas of Jurisdiction as well as setting up policies and rules which  Prevent Potential abuse ; As such We are Key Players in the Children Justice Systems in our Project Locations and this Country at large.

The Commemoration of this Years Day of the African Child shall be Scientific in most of our Project Locations and as such shall not come with the usually associated Pomp and Glamour. Wherever this day has found you, do whatever you can to acknowledge it and most importantly pledge to continue prioritising the rights of the African child and children world over. Please also take time to read the following documents available on our website for the Scientific Commemoration of this Year’s Day of the African Child.

Remember children are the future, protecting their rights is right step to an enabled future.

Thank You.

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How Windle International is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

A message from Windle International’s Chief Executive, Marangu Njogu

As an international NGO with member offices across East Africa and Europe, we are, like so many organizations, businesses, and communities, being affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Like everyone else around the world, we are adapting to this new situation as best we can. Although it is changing almost daily in each country we work in, I want to take this opportunity to assure you that we remain committed to making sure that children and young people who have been affected by conflict and marginalization can continue to access quality education. 

The health and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers are paramount. In all countries that we operate in, our staff are working from home and abiding by government rules on social distancing. The people who work for and with Windle are amazing, and their dedication to prioritizing the needs of refugees, displaced people and their host communities, and all individuals who have been affected by conflict and marginalization, particularly in these trying circumstances, continues to inspire me.

People and families living in refugee camps and settlements are some of the most at risk from this pandemic. We are working with and supporting UNHCR and other partners to make sure that they are protected and included in national COVID-19 preparedness and response activities. For example, we are part of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies Regional Working Group, and we continue to monitor and respond to the situation as it develops. 

All of our members have been proactive in raising awareness about how to prevent the spread of the virus, promoting hygiene and social distancing measures, and making sure that all our locations and workspaces have proper hand washing facilities and access to hand sanitizers.

As schools and other educational institutions around the world close, we are working closely with our partners to find ways of helping people to get a quality education.

We’ll keep you updated on our activity as the situation develops. I wish to extend my thanks to everyone who has reached out to us and supported us, and to everyone for their continued interest in supporting all people who have been affected by conflict and marginalization to access education and work towards creating a more peaceful world. I hope that everyone is doing all they can to support each other, and to keep each other safe during this difficult time. Now more than ever we must work together as a global family.

What we are doing in Uganda

Windle International Uganda (WIU) is in full support and cooperation with the Government of Uganda (GoU)’s efforts aimed at protecting the citizens of Uganda, including our staff and PoCs from the dreaded COVID-19 infections and curtailing its further spread.

In-line with government directives to restrict movements effective March 31, 2020, WIU management is providing telecommuting options to staff in an effort to minimize movements and physical interactions with partners, stakeholders, PoCs and colleagues across the country during this period. This is to ensure that there is no disruption of the organization’s operations during this period (apart from those that have been directly constrained by the directives of GoU communicated since 18th March 2020 including the closing of schools).

WIU understands that a number of activities have been shelved due to the current measures in place. Our partners and stakeholders, including UNHCR and OPM, have communicated preference for remote engagements and we support and facilitate that to the extent possible and will be reviewing this regularly.

WIU is providing all her stakeholders and especially Persons of Concern with credible updates and Information on the education sector strategies and on COVID-19 from GoU, MoH, MoES, WHO and other relevant agencies.

WIU remains committed to providing access to Quality Education for Refugees and Persons affected by conflict. While we are uncertain of how long this situation will last, WIU is working with other education partners in Uganda to devise other means of delivering learning and keeping our children engaged should the situation persist beyond the current emergency measures.

Please follow and abide by government directives and guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 Virus.

Wherever you are, stay safe.

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200 Refugee and Host Community Youth Receive Business Start-up Kits

Jubliant graduates celebrating their achievement. Photo by WIU

Windle International Uganda (WIU) in partnership with Uganda Manufacture’s Association & Young Women’s Christian Association last week passed out 49 nationals (17Males, 32Females) and 151 Refugees (34Males, 117Females) Vocational Skills graduates and offered them business start-up kits. The 200 graduates are beneficiaries of the Market Oriented Skill Development for Refugees and Host Community Project in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement.

Market Oriented Skills Development for Refugees and Host Communities in Kiryandongo and Adjumani is a project that was implemented by Windle International Uganda, in partnership with Uganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA) and Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), with funding from European Union Trust Fund-Skills Development Fund (SDF) through ENABEL. The project was conducted through vocational skills training for refugees and host Community youth in Kiryandongo and Adjumani (Ayilo I, Agojo, Maaji II) refugee settlements. 

A total of 360 youth from the four settlements of operation were trained, assessed and certified by the Directorate of Industrial Training, Ministry of Education and Sports in trades including Metal Fabrication, Cookery, Bakery, Tailoring and garment cutting & Hair Dressing. The Objective of the training was to enhance the productivity and entrepreneurial competitiveness of youth, women, and girls’ in the area of vocational practice within 9 months. 

The graduates were also handed business start-up kits to start their enterprises and positively uplift their communities through job creation and economic empowerment.

Beneficiaries of the tailoring training just after receiving their start-up kits including sewing machines, fabric, and other items. Photo by WIU

Addressing the beneficiaries at the graduation ceremony, Mr. James Aryam, Executive Director at Windle International Uganda said; “We hope that you will use this opportunity to positively impact your communities and provide for your families. You should not fear the future, instead, you should shape it!

The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees – Hon. Eng. Hillary Onek, also the guest of honor at the graduation ceremony tipped the graduates on saving and bookkeeping. He said, “Embrace book-keeping, save and expand your businesses. If you make shs.20,000 daily, always get shs.5,000 and save it and a year later, you will have more money to invest.” The Minister also urged the beneficiaries to practice the skills learned and pass on the knowledge to others in the community and their countries of origin when they go back.

Refugee youth and young adults are confronted with many barriers to accessing higher education. These include lack of financial resources, differences in the language of instruction, lack of certificates and recognition of certification, mobility restrictions and long distances to higher education institutions, lack of specialized academic or individualized support, limited access to information, including about policies governing access to higher education for refugees in host countries. As a consequence, only one percent of refugees have access to higher education worldwide.[i]

  [i] UNHCR.2017. Left Behind: Refugee Education in Crisis

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Windle International Uganda (WIU) Signs Partnership Agreement with the European Union in Uganda.

Mr. James Aryam(right), Windle International Uganda’s Executive Director receiving WIU’s copy of the Partnership Agreement from Ms.Patricia Stephenson(left) of the European Union

Windle International Uganda (WIU) has today signed a partnership agreement with the European Union in Uganda to implement the Skills for Employment Project (SEP) in three rural districts of Koboko, Yumbe, and Obongi in WestNile Uganda.

The Skills for Employment Project will strengthen accessibility, quality, relevance, and equity of vocational skills training for marginalized youth and young women in the target area, and support young people to convert vocational education into meaningful self-employment through enterprise development. The overall objective of this project is to increase access to sustainable employment opportunities for the host community and refugee youth. This will ensure that disadvantaged youth in the target area are economically empowered to engage in viable employment for sustainable livelihoods especially the youth with limited formal or no education, young women and young people living with disabilities.

The project will directly target 1,000 youth aged 15-35 years (at least 50% female) who will benefit from free vocational skills training to support them in gaining marketable skills for more sustainable livelihoods. The 1,000 youth will be trained in one of the following trades;

  • Electrical/Solar wiring and maintenance
  • Cosmetology including soap and cosmetics making, and hairdressing
  • Crafts making (handcraft, shoes, bags, paper beads)
  • Electronic appliances and phone repair
  • Fashion and design, tie and die fabric making

 The training will also impart soft skills such as financial literacy and record-keeping, ICT, life skills and other employability skills. Upon completion, the trainees will receive start-up toolkits to start their enterprises.

Windle International Uganda’s Executive Director, Mr.James Aryam signing the Partnership Agreement at the European Union Offices in Kampala today. (February 10, 2020)
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World Bank Approves $40 Million to Strengthen Social Risks Management

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2017—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $40 million equivalent IDA credit* to the Republic of Uganda for the Strengthening Social Risk Management and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response Project.

The Government of Uganda recognizes GBV as a serious problem and approved a National Policy on the Elimination of GBV in October 2016.  This project, which was approved June 20, 2017, will support the implementation of the policy and will also help strengthen systems for managing social risk in development projects.

GBV is a serious problem across many continents and countries.  Acceptance of intimate partner violence, however, is particularly high in the Africa Region – on average around 30 percent, which is more than twice the average of the rest of the developing world at 14 percent.  “Rates of GBV in Uganda are high,” said Hon. Janat Mukwaya, Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development“With 62 percent of women and 59 percent of men aged 15-49 in Uganda having reported experiencing physical or sexual violence at least once since the age of 15.  This project aims to help address this disturbing trend.”

The World Bank Country Manager, Christina Malmberg Calvo added that, “Uganda has a number of tried and tested interventions that have shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of GBV through intensive behavior change communication. The project builds on these experiences to take them to scale. The project will also invest in strengthening the capacity of key front-line services to address the needs of survivors of GBV with a strong focus in the health sector.”

As part of this broader agenda on the overall management of social risk, the project aims to address the underlying causes of GBV by developing and expanding prevention programs and increasing response services for survivors of GBV in targeted districts.

Specifically, the project will focus on:

  • promoting behavior change and strengthening referral mechanisms, and
  • strengthening the responsiveness of front-line service providers to cases of GBV, and improving their ability to provide quality care.

*The International Development Association (IDA) provides concessional resources to Uganda, and this $40 million credit has a zero percentage interest rate, with a final maturity of 38 years, including a grace period of 6 years.

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Europe steps up its support to the refugee response in Uganda with amounts almost 210 million Euros

European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides this morning affirmed strong #EU support and commitment to Uganda to deal with the world’s fastest growing #refugee crisis.

Addressing delegates at the ongoing Solidarity Summit on Refugees in Kampala, Uganda, hosted by the Government of Uganda and the United Nations, Commissioner Stylianides said: “Today, in agreement with the European Commissioner for Development Aid Neven Mimica and on behalf of the people of Europe, I am pleased to announce that the European Union steps up its support to the refugee response in Uganda with an amount of 85 million euro. With the additional separate announcements from the European Member States who are present here today, the overall help from the people of Europe amount to almost 210million euro.”

Source

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