To offer career guidance and to support formal education for vulnerable girl children , 250 primary children, 250 secondary students in 7 communities of our operation , Jinja, Mayuge, Iganga, Bugiri and Kamuli by the end of the year 2021.
Education is an important requirement for the development of a girl child. Schools provide children with opportunities for emotional support, interaction with other children and the development of social capital.
In recognizing this fact, the governments of Uganda put in place free Universal Primary Education (UPE) since 1997. The aim was/is to enable every average Ugandan attend school. Despite the availability of opportunities for education through the universal primary education programme, many vulnerable girl children in the area are currently not benefiting from the UPE opportunity because their caretakers are poor.
The majority of caretakers in the programme area are peasant farmers whose incomes are not sufficient to provide all the basic needs of life such as medical care, food and at the same time provide the scholastic materials such as books and school uniform for the children. Yet under the UPE programme the government meets only the costs of administration and wages of teachers, leaving the other costs such as uniforms and scholastic materials to be met by parents or guardians.
As in other parts of the country, the HIV scourge has exacerbated the situation in the programme area in that several parents are dying and leaving behind orphan girls. When parents die, VGCs are usually care taken in by their relatives who do not have sufficient income to shoulder the burden of caring for the orphans as an additional member of the family.
The experiences from the community reveal that with the limited income, the caretakers support their own children as the first priority with scholastic and other items.
The orphaned children co-opted from other families hence do not get the necessary support. This accounts for the high rate of school dropout among girls in the area. Child headed households are those where children assume adult responsibilities due to death of their parents or due to circumstances such as disability of the parent, death of the parent or neglect due to divorce.
PEMU shall identify, sensitize and provide necessary support such as clothing, food, medical treatment, scholastic materials and school fees to improve their well-being so that they get education. PEMU will work with vulnerable girls of school going age from primary, secondary and vocational levels in all the above categories. PEMU will initially target 500 girls in each sub county PEMU will support 120 girls to access both primary and secondary education. At vocational level PEMU will support 100 girls focusing on 13 in each sub county.
Through our need assessment exercise, it was also found out that child-headed household orphans are at risk of dropping out of school, especially, the girls as they take on the role of bread winners. This is due to societal values where culturally girls are reserved to do house chores. So in case of the death of parents they step in to fill the vacuum of providing for their siblings. PEMU will promote girl child education by supporting more girls and advocating for girl child education. In order to achieve this, PEMU team and volunteers will carry out annual surveys in the programme areas, through questionnaires, in order to identify and support these girls as need arise.
In addressing the problem of affordability of school requirements, PEMU will directly subsidize school related costs for VGC through provision of school fees and scholastic materials and advocating for in-kind support of VGCs through community contribution to schools admitting them. PEMU will engage with community members, caretakers and schools management to develop modalities for supporting VGC. PEMU will directly pay the school fees for secondary student, school lunch for primary pupils and provide scholastic materials such as books, pens, pencils, uniforms and shoes for both primary and secondary students.
In order to ensure retention at school, PEMU will carry out monthly school visits to establish academic performance and discipline of the VWGCs. PEMU will also organize and carry out home visits and follow ups to encourage the caretakers to create conducive environment, which favors formal education for VGCs.
These will be supplemented by community awareness workshops, in all sub counties, on the importance of education for vulnerable women and girl children. PEMU will organize and facilitate these workshops with support from external facilitators whenever necessary. PEMU will work together with the VGC and other stakeholders to develop an Academic Performance Monitoring (APM) tool in order to enable the programme to track and monitor academic performance of all the VWGCs in schools.
This will be built into a data bank to capture academic performance of each child. The data bank will show how the VGCs have performed in a particular term and information will be easily retrieved in case it is needed.
The following will be the expected roles of the above stake holders:-
Responsible person Roles VGCs To regularly attend school Putting efforts in what they are doing Community To support the education of VWGCs through community contribution. Monitoring the attendance of VGCs in school. School management To ensure that VGCs are equipped with knowledge and skills. To ensure quality education. To provide psychosocial support and counseling at school.
In all the ten sub-counties where PEMU is operating there are community schools as illustrated in table 1:1:8 below. In addition there are caretakers committees which monitor the performance of the VGCs in schools. All these are accessible to PEMU and the VGCs.
PEMU will enroll these VGC in these schools and also work hand in hand with all stake holders in order to benefit from the favorable government policy, which emphasizes the wellbeing and constitutional right to education of girls.
However in trying to achieve this objective PEMU anticipates encountering a challenge posed by the local culture. The local culture is a challenge in that most caretakers believe that the girl child has to be restricted only to domestic work to prepare her for marriage it makes it hard to convince them to change their mind or attitude and encourage the girl child to take up education. PEMU will continuously carry out community sensitization with the aim of changing the attitudes towards girl child education.
The rampant lack of productive skills such as for farming among the VWGCs is contributing to poverty. Traditionally girls are always so close to their mothers from whom they acquire some production skills, while boys get skills from their fathers with whom they closely associate. The loss of opportunity to interact with the parents from childhood provides no opportunities for male and female children to learn from their parents.
PEMU will sensitize parents about the need/importance of interaction with their children so as to pass on surviving/production skills and also directly link the girls to vocational institutions in order to address to the production skills gap.
PEMU will encourage the formation of Young Girls Farmers Clubs in all sub-counties to equip VGCs with modern and easy methods of farming such as crop rotation and mixed farming. Currently there is only one Young Farmer’s Club in one of the schools we operate in. These clubs will be established in secondary and vocational schools by PEMU and PEMU will work with the school management to develop innovative out of class activities, which impart skills for income generation.
PEMU will identify and use the services of successful farmers and other artisans within the communities and involve them in interacting with and training VWGCs / girl students with production skills. Interventions through the Young Farmer’s Club will create a forum where VWGCs and girl students will directly learn practical skills. The Young Farmer’s Club will also bridge the gap of interaction between the students and their parents by introducing issues and skills necessary for survival for self-reliance for girls and boys. Workshops will be organized at the end of every term for the students in Young Farmer’s Club in order to interact with successful farmers to equip them with modern farming skills such as crop rotation and mixed farming.
PEMU’s intervention will uniquely empower the youth students interested in the programme to appreciate and create self-employment. PEMU will consult and hold stakeholders meetings with successful farmers; entrepreneurs and artisans to identify and develop locally appropriate opportunities.
Besides life skills, PEMU intends to pay tuition fees for school dropouts, from primary seven to senior six who will opt to join vocational institutions. PEMU will also organize annual or seasonal exhibitions where the VGC share innovations and market whatever they have produced. These will be supplemented by joint workshops and training for parents/guardians and VWGCs in order to enable them work together, establish and maintain good relationship among themselves.
PEMU anticipates the challenge of the youth preferring white-collar jobs (office work) to manual work because of the misconception that they are easier to do and are better paying. Under such circumstances it will be a challenge to encourage children to go to vocational institutions. However PEMU will carry out intensive campaigns about the importance of vocational skills and young farmers clubs in schools through sensitization to change the negative attitudes of people. End of term retreats for vocational students will be organized to share experiences and exposure visits arranged for youth or VWGCs to visit productive communities in other parts of the country.
There is a conducive policy environment that promotes vocation education and training and government is encouraging the provision of at least one vocational secondary school in every district. PEMU will use this opportunity and link /attach VGC’s who cannot afford to go for further studies and school drop outs to these government vocational institute to acquire vocation and life time skills. PEMU intends to pay vocational tuition fees for P.7, S.4, S.6 leavers and school dropouts who cannot continue with further education but can be enrolled in vocational institutes.
- Expected outputs
- Meetings held by PEMU staff and Education Caretakers’ committee to discuss the school fees needs of VGCs.
- 10 MILLION shillings requested for school fees for all VGCs
- Payment for school fees for all VGCs done.
- 12 meetings between the school teachers and PEMU management to discuss the performance of VGCs
- 12 discussions with the VGCs to discuss their academic performance.
- 12 meetings with the VGCs caretakers to discuss the welfare and performance of the VGC
- Assessments of the homes of the VWGC
- Staff meetings by PEMU management to discuss the scholastic needs of the VWGCS
- Meetings between PEMU staff and caretakers of VWGCS to discuss the scholastic needs of VGC.
- 240millions requisitioned to purchase scholastic materials.
- 3 suppliers identified to supply various scholastic materials.
- Scholastic Materials Delivered To PEMU Office.
- Scholastic materials distributed to VGC.
- Management committee to discuss the need for psychosocial counseling among the VWGCS
- 500 educational bank accounts opened for VGC
- MDD equipments purchased.
- MDD clubs formed.
- Weekly practices in MDD held.
- Radio talk shows held.
- 20 young farmers’ clubs formed.
- 100 VGCs tuition fees paid.
- 12 experts in entrepreneurship skills and vocational skills identified to carry out career guidance for 100 school drop outs VGC identified
- 100 invitation letters sent to 100 VGCS school drop outs to attend career guidance workshop on entrepreneurship skills and vocational skills.
- 4 meetings to discuss the need for training workshops for life skills held.