By Robert Edwomu
Child Fund Uganda, in collaboration with the Coca-Cola Foundation, partnered with LACCODEF and Partners for Children Worldwide (PRCW) for a 15-month project funded by TCCF.
The initiative is aimed at empowering 440 disadvantaged teenage mothers, youth, and women aged 20-60 with poverty-fighting skills started from September 2022.
Implemented by Partner for Children Worldwide and Lango Child & Community Development Federation (LACCODEF) across Serere, Katakwi, Amuria, and Dokolo districts, the project tackled the surge in teenage pregnancies after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Additionally, it addressed low-income levels and youth unemployment in the Lango and Teso sub-regions.
Oliva Bridget Among, the Women and Youth Empowerment Economic Empowerment Project Officer, highlighted the project’s impact.
She says the project empowered 100 teenage mothers, 100 youths in microenterprise development, and 240 women aged 20-60, enhancing their income through agribusiness skills.
Upon training, each beneficiary received startup capital of 640,000 Ugandan shillings to initiate small-scale businesses, leading to individual incomes ranging between $101 and $162.
The beneficiaries underwent diverse training, including career guidance, emotional management, family planning, decision-making, climate change awareness, and responsibility.
Francis Oluma, the Chairperson LC3 Apeduru Sub-county in Amuria district acknowledged Partners for Child Worldwide’s crucial role in supplementing government efforts to combat poverty.
He praised the initiative for alleviating constraints faced by local governments in tackling poverty.
Moses Opoo, Manager at Partners for Children Worldwide reassured continuous support even after the Coca-Cola funding ends. He emphasized the goal of increasing incomes amongst the targeted audience.
Martine Sijje Odipo, the Partnership Portfolio Specialist representing the Country Director, encouraged beneficiaries to leverage these opportunities for personal growth and community impact.
The project utilized a total of $165,000, with the Coca-Cola Foundation contributing $150,000 and Child Fund $15,000.
Odipo urged various entities to collaborate in addressing challenges like teenage pregnancies, highlighting the success achieved by working alongside district leaderships.
The success stories of beneficiaries like Anna Aanyu from Katakwi district, Susan Icalat, and Oliva Akot among others illustrate the positive impact of such initiatives.
These testimonies underline the invaluable role played by non-governmental partners in addressing societal needs during challenging times, particularly for teenage mothers striving to create a better future for themselves and their families.
Anna Aanyu, a teenage mother from Katakwi district faced a challenging situation after dropping out of P7 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged lockdown.
However, her life took a positive turn when she became involved in a project that supported her. With this support, she now earns 60,000 shillings from the sale of bags she makes, managing to save at least 10,000 shillings from each sale.
Similarly, Susan Icalat, another teenage mother who left S3, found relief in Partners for Children Worldwide. The prolonged lockdown affected her academic aspirations, leading to complications in her future due to pregnancy. However, she now generates sales of 70,000 shillings from her crafted items and has gained skills that allow her to save from these earnings.
Oliva Akot, a teenage mother from Dokolo district, shares her challenging journey, supporting twelve family members and contributing to her siblings’ school fees. Her poultry keeping project and hot culture farming not only provides daily sustenance but also positions her as a provider for her family.
Moses Emabu, the LCV chairperson of Amuria, acknowledges the efforts of development partners, highlighting their crucial role in filling gaps left by the government’s responsibilities to its citizens. He notes that many of these partners are now undertaking duties that the government ought to provide for its people.
These stories highlight the struggles faced by teenage mothers and the positive impact of initiatives supporting them. They underscore the crucial role played by non-governmental partners in addressing societal needs during challenging times.