"The single mothers in Nakivale never cease to amaze me." Andrew from the Alight team has seen how incredible some of the single mothers in Nakivale Refugee Settlement are - as sole providers and care takers, they need to navigate a difficult landscape while at the same time caring for the needs of their kids. It's a bit job. "Many single mothers find themselves doing labor in farms," he said. "But not everyone can handle that." One group of moms decided to band together to do something different - open a bakery! They're just getting their business of the ground, and like all startups, they needed a little capital. Andrew and the team put their heads together to think up ways to help. And together with the Nakivale Rotaract Team, they came up with a list of items that the ladies would need - and they set to work getting them! With this little boost, the moms will be able to make enough freshly baked buns to sell at the nearby school, and other people who pass by! … [Read more...] about Freshly Baked
Gatete lives in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda. He's had a particularly tough time recently, with an illness that's left him unable to support himself. When we first spoke to Gatete, he was sleeping outside, without a shelter. "Gatete needed help," said Andrew from the Alight team. "He came to us and asked what we might do to help. We immediately told ourselves, there's got to be something we can do." Together with the Rotaract Club of Nakivale, we had a shelter built for him, and helped him furnish it with the comforts of home, like a mattress and eating utensils. We also connected him to health services so that he can get a proper diagnosis. "It was really powerful to see Gatete's transformation over just one day," said Andrew. "He went from sleeping out in the open one night, to sleeping on a comfortable mattress the next, with a roof over his head and a blanket to keep him warm." "Just when I thought the world had turned its back on me, today I have reason … [Read more...] about A Home for Gatete
As a humanitarian working in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, it takes courage to stay in a refugee settlement from Monday to Monday without access to any outside updates or information. Most people who work in Nakivale spend the whole day in offices, and the only time they have access to watch the news is at night in the nearby trading center. It's soccer season, and teams really wanted to stay up to date! So we decided to surprise one of our partner's whole office team, the Office of the Prime Minister, with furnishes for their quarters - including access to TV! We furnished their staff house in Nakivale with refrigerators to keep their food cool, a set of chairs for the sitting room, and of course, a TV and cable connection! Their work can be long and stressful, so having something comfortable to come home to - and some access to the outside world - can go a long way in helping stress management and boosting moral. “I have been watching the news and sports updates … [Read more...] about Staying Connected
Everybody knows what recess at school can be like - teachers deal with a lot of scraped knees, bumps, and bruises as kids unleash all the energy they've been building up in class. Having a first aid kit on hand is a MUST. At the primary school in Rubondo, a small community in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, teachers deal with those little childhood injuries all the time. They told us that when it comes to safety, first aid kits would go a long way in helping ease these little bumps and bruises for the kiddos. But they didn't have any. So with the help of the Rotaract Club of Nakivale, we got first aid kits into the hands of all the teachers at every primary school in Rubondo. The kids will help get bandages on those scraped knees, and they'll also work to promote a culture of safety at school. Now, the teachers can help their kids be safe at school...and stop worrying about not having these supplies on hand! … [Read more...] about Safety First!
Giving birth is a joyous moment for mom, family, and baby alike. But it can also be a scary one. Imagine all the emotional highs and lows, fears, pain, and joy of that day - and now imagine all of it happening in the dark. You can't control when you'll give birth. So in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, there are many births that happen at night, a time when electricity is unreliable and the chances of being in total darkness are likely. Doctors and nurses make do with holding flashlights in their mouths as they work with their hands. But that simply isn't good enough. We've heard directly from the people in Nakivale that they want and need solar lamps, a solution that only relies on the power of the sun. So we decided to start with step one, something that we could do that would help moms in Nakivale feel and be a little safer - solar lamps for the maternity ward. We installed solar lamps at the maternity clinic, run by our partner MTI. And they were so thrilled with … [Read more...] about In the Light
An important part of our work is making sure that all members of the community are included. Everyone’s voice matters, and everyone’s invited! In the case of the Oruchinga Refugee Settlement, whether you’re a newly arrived Congolese refugee or life-long Ugandan resident, we want you to be a part of the conversation. We’ve spent the last thirty days supporting the food security and livelihoods of both refugees and host community members. Today, we’re especially interested in thanking the host community for all that they’ve done to welcome refugees into their community. So, we decided to target some other host community groups, and were able to give three groups five piglets, similarly to what we did with the refugee groups we met yesterday! One community member, Anthony told us this: “We’re hoping to use the pigs to inspire and encourage others to start other similar groups. Once they see the success of ours, they’ll want to do the same.” Yvonne was equally pleased. … [Read more...] about Bringing Home the Bacon
In many parts of the world, livestock are a highly prized commodity. Livestock can be such a sustainable investment, as they often offer an ongoing source of income. Who wouldn’t want that? Today, we looked to see how we might support this highly desired form of income and found ourselves working with three cooperative groups in Oruchinga, who all had refugee-run piggeries! These groups have a track record of success, and we decided to support them by buying additional pigs that would help their groups grow and have a wider impact in the community. Each of the three groups received five pigs — three female and two male — and promised to give us updates on how they were doing. Zawadi, a group leader, was especially excited about the pigs, “the purpose of the pigs is to multiply. Whenever our group has a problem, they can sell one of the pig’s offspring to help the member. Our group has 25 members now and these pigs will help supplement what we have. After the pigs give … [Read more...] about A Pig Investment
Gender-based violence affects millions of women and girls every year. It's a pervasive problem people face daily, and it affects communities across the whole world. With a problem so deep and so global, we work towards solutions that begin by involving the entire community. When more people are aware and on board, instances of gender-based violence begin to drop. By building community awareness of violence, strengthening women’s leadership and capacity to help others, and involving the entire community in creating solutions, we see the greatest results in making the world safer for women and girls. But before community awareness, leadership programming, or anything else, it’s important to first help the individuals impacted by gender-based violence. Before anything else, we work to meet our clients physical and mental health needs. We help women, girls and other victims of violence access the critical healthcare they need. Today, we decided to help a family that had been … [Read more...] about Give a Little Bit
For many communities across the world, maintaining access to safe drinking water is a daily challenge. Today, we’re doing the doable to increase water access in Oruchinga while helping out a small business. The business, a small group of men who sell water around the settlement, use bicycles to transport jerry cans full of water from water points to their customers. These customers are typically women who are too busy taking care of other household duties and their families to get water as frequently as they need it. Yesterday, we got a few bikes for the group. But today, we decided to add 20 jerry cans to supplement the small supply they already had and help boost business! According to Francis, the leader of the water vending group, “the Oruchinga refugee settlement faces the challenge of access to safe drinking water, as most of the water sources in the settlement has a particularly high level of iron in it. Therefore, one has to buy water for drinking. We formed this … [Read more...] about Water You Doing?
In Uganda, bikes are everywhere! They’re used to carry anything and everything, from bunches of bananas slung across the back, to jerry cans full of water balanced on each side, to mattresses curled up and stacked together in a bundle. There are so many benefits of using these bicycles — to start, it's great exercise! But beyond getting fit, bikes are powerful and efficient. They help business owners transport goods from one point to another, plus they make it easier for people to reach what might otherwise be remote destinations. They’re easy to maintain, affordable, and good for the environment, too! For these reasons and more, it’s no surprise that bicycles are in high demand for the residents of the Oruchinga Refugee Settlement. One group that was seeking more bicycles in Oruchinga was a water vending group. This group has been running for three years, and most of their customers are women who are busy at home looking after children and the house. Many of these women … [Read more...] about Bonkers for Bikes