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STRATEGY

The strategic objectives cover four main areas that the stakeholders (i.e. PEMU and, communities etc) will strive to achieve over the next 4 years and beyond. The objectives will guide the fundraising, implementation and evaluation of programs by PEMU and the subsequent efforts to scale up the intervention.

Strategic Objectives Include:-

 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.

  To train P4-P7 pupils in assertive skills in 20 schools in Mayuge district in order to build self-esteem and confidence by the end of year 2021.

Uganda is still facing a crisis due to HIV/AIDS. This crisis increases poverty, slows development, and threatens our nation’s future. HIV/AIDS affect everyone – our children ,our families ,our schools our communities, and ourselves.
Especially our girl children become vulnerable in many ways : they are experiencing increase poverty ,emotional loss, loneliness, and many might not be able to continue schooling , even before their parents or caregivers die. In addition, HIV/AIDS contribute to the transformation of our society. Values, norms and social structures (like the family) are changing.

Especially young women and girls are confused about moral and ethical values and sexual behavior. Therefore the WINDOW OF HOPE LIFE SKILL PROGRAMME is a comprehensive behavior change approach that concentrates on the development of the skills needed for life such as communication, decision making, thinking, managing emotions, assertiveness and building self- esteem and confidence.
Through WINDOW OF HOPE LIFE SKILL PROGRAMME, PEMU will train P.4 – P.7 pupils in assertive skills in order to equip them with the self-esteem, knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves against HIV and to cope in AIDS affected communities.

 To develop the necessary life skills to empower children to face the challenges of our changing modern society.
 To prepare them to care for others, to deal with sickness and to overcome the stigmatization associated with HIV and AIDS.

  • Expected outputs
    •  80 teachers (60 female and 20 male) for training identified.
    •  1 workshop held
    •  80 teachers (60 female and 20 male) trained.
    •  Weekly trainings of P.4-P.7 in assertive skills held.
    •  20 MDD Clubs formed in 20 schools.
    •  24 Video shows conducted
    •  Video equipments and accessories purchased

  To promote girl child rights among 500 VWGCs and Caretakers in Mayuge, Jinja, Kamuli, Bugiri and Iganga districts by end of year 2021.

HIV/AIDS affects all people without distinction; however, women, children and youth are particularly vulnerable to the effects of this illness. As the AIDS epidemic enters into second generation, the poorest and least powerful increasingly bear the brunt of this disease. Orphaned girl children are doubly discriminated against: first, through the immediate loss of their parents, and second, to their loss of say and access to resources needed to survive, develop and participate and become contributing members of society.

Therefore PEMU seeking to create a healthy environment for children and youth so that they are able to develop to their fullest potential. This includes meeting their physical, mental emotional development, and spiritual needs. However PEMU is aware of factors that might make it difficult to achieve this and these are;

 Traditional practices that do not respect children.
 lack of information and education about the need to give priority to the needs of children.
 child exploitation including child labour and violence against children, particularly corporal punishment and sexual abuse.

PEMU will address through training community child right’s advocates to carry out massive campaigns about child right’s and formation child right’s clubs in schools and communities to sensitize the communities about the rights of children.

  • Expected outputs
    •  One training workshop for communities’ child’ rights advocates held.
    •  Formation of child right’s clubs in schools.
    •  24 communities’ child’ rights advocates trained Technical assistance

  To improve the welfare of 500 VWGC through empowering them with livelihood skills to raise their household incomes for the economic sustainability of their families in the districts of Jinja, Kamuli, Bugiri, Iganga and Mayuge by the end of the year 2021.

Most VGC’S caretakers depend on peasant farming as the source of income yet its output is low due to unpredictable weather conditions leading to low income. This makes these families of VGC to live in a vicious circle of poverty. Hence, under such circumstances, there is barely anything to save and invest to meet other basic needs for VGC such as medication.
PEMU will empower these VWGCs caretakers through income generating activities. PEMU’s initial target is500 caretakers including groups such as People living with AIDS. However this will be done in four phases and each phase will comprise of 50 members of VWGCs caretakers households or groups.

Each caretaker of group will be given a revolving loan fund worth Uganda shillings 100,000 to invest in a viable business for an agreed period of time after which she/he or they will return to PEMU to give to another group. Options of providing loans in kind (e.g. piglets) to a caretaker or group will also be explored depending on the need and capacity of the family.

Locally feasible IGAs such as poultry keeping, seed capital and piggery will be emphasized because there is availability of skills and ready market and are easy to maintain. PEMU will train the VGC caretakers in small–scale business management, entrepreneurship and savings to ensure that IGAs are viable and the proceedings directed to supporting the VWGCs.
But in order to achieve this PEMU will help to identify viable IGAs for VWGCs and caretakers and train them in savings and small businesses, entrepreneurship, encourage the VWGCs caretakers to open savings accounts for VWGCs and sign agreements with VWGCs caretakers about using the proceedings to support VWGCs. During consultations PEMU carried out about this programme the idea received wide community support. The caretakers of the VWGCs anticipate to participate in all trainings and workshops organized by PEMU to help them Implement and monitor their IGAs and make monthly savings.

The organization will also provide group development and operation skills for those carrying out their IGA as a group. In order to enhance the sustainability of the IGAs PEMU will promote a saving culture and economic use of limited resources among VWGCs and their caretakers. Most VGC caretakers face the challenge of sustainable income due to the fact that they depend on subsistence farming whose outputs are very low.
Besides, they are not involved in IGAs due to lack of startup capital. Consequently, most parents die without leaving anything for VWGCs to survive on. As a way of increasing and improving the income of the households from which the VWGCs come from, PEMU came up with the idea of the piggery project to act as an additional source of income besides farming plus the promotion of other IGAs such as poultry keeping, raring of goats and cows and catering.

  • Expected outputs
    •  10 policies & procedures on revolving fund scheme set.
    •  Four (4) revolving fund scheme functional.
    •  Seven (7) trainings on running & management of the revolving fund scheme held.
    •  Four (4) necessary structures to run the piggery project identified.
    •  Ten (10) policies & procedures to run piggery project set up.
    •  Seven (7) trainings on the running & management of piggery project held.
    •  Seven piggery projects among the VGC caretakers functional
    •  Two demonstration shows conducted annually.

  To provide 500 VWGCS and their caretakers with psycho social support services support by the end of year 2021.

Inaccessibility has created a counseling gap on the side of caretakers and VWGCs because these services are urban based due to lack of proper infrastructure in rural areas. Stigma on the other hand has contributed towards the counseling gap due to fear of community perception on people living with HIV/AIDS. Due to lack of counseling services the psychological impact on the side of VGC and their caretakers in PEMU’s programme areas have remained unsolved.
Psychological impacts of seeing their parents suffering and dying in pain makes VWGCS live a life of depression, guilt, anger, fear caused by parental illness or death.

The problem is very serious in MAYUGE district where the majority of VWGCs and caretakers have never been offered counseling services. 22.4% were reported having been counseled by teachers, 16.4% by church leaders. (Base line survey report by Australian partnerships with APAC FEBUARY 2005).
This appears to be only minimal intervention by other actors thus making the situation very serious. According to Mayuge District Community Development Officer there are very few organizations such as C.C.F that are directly providing such services and these cannot meet all the needs of VWGCs and caretakers compared to other areas such as Bugiri, Jinja and Kamuli.

PEMU, through networking with other organizations working in areas of Aids Counseling and treatment, will mobilize VGC and caretakers and extend mobile counseling and testing services to them by taking external counselors to carry out family/group counseling to ease the problem of accessibility.
PEMU will mobilize the caretakers and beneficiaries and bring external counselors to provide monthly counseling services so that beneficiaries cope up with the current situation (HIV/AIDS). PEMU will take the advantage of the already existing organizations that provide testing and counseling services such as AIDS Information Centre and TASO through networking with them and availability of trained counselors to extend these services to rural areas through mobile counseling.

In addition to the counseling services, PEMU will also encourage the use of other methods of fighting stigma such as outlined below:-

  1. Testimonies: during sensitization, people living positively with HIV/AIDS will be invited to testify how they have managed to cope with the problem.
  2. Video shows: PEMU will organize HIV/AIDS educational video shows for VWGCS and other community members by getting education tapes concerning HIV/AIDS during sensitization in community centers. PEMU team will annually analyze the existing IEC materials and where need arises, design new ones for community use.
  3. Music, dance and drama: PEMU will mobilize and organize the VWGCs and their caretakers through weekly trainings in the community centers to present drama shows on HIV/AIDS basing on the local community realities. All the sub counties will be encouraged and supported to have music and drama groups or clubs. PEMU will organize annual events for the music and drama groups from all sub-counties to present their plays to the public on a rotational basis.

A key challenge anticipated in the implementation of this strategy is low turn up/attendance by caretakers because most of them are the breadwinners who spend much of their time farming. PEMU will improve community turn up by soliciting for community commitment through Local Councilors and religious leaders (community leaders).

PEMU will organize periodic meetings with local community leaders, caretakers and VWGCs to plan and implement such events. The events will be events will be held outside farming seasons to encourage high turn up. PEMU will network with other organizations, which provide similar services in order to share experiences as well as learn from them.
All the above will be done in the psychosocial centers hired by PEMU so that such services are easily accessible to the VWGCs and their caretakers. This is because psychosocial support is also an integral part of the overall health and wellbeing of the orphans and their caretakers.

  • Expected outputs
    •  Twelve (12) policies & procedures to run the psycho-social center set up.
    •  Four (4) training workshops for the psycho-social counselees held.
    •  Seven (7) psycho- social center functional.
    •  500 VWGCs & caretakers benefit from various psycho social services available at the center

  To promote VCT / PMTCT services among 500 VGC households and their environment in the districts of Mayuge, Jinja, Kamuli, Bugiri and Iganga by the end of year 2021.

HIV/Aids is the leading cause of adult mortality in the 15-49 old age bracket. It is estimated that there are 2 million orphaned children in Uganda. Despite the decrease in the HIV prevalence rate from 18.7 percent in the early 1990s, Aids related deaths have remained high due to limited access to ART for the majority who are clinically eligible. According to Aids cases of 31 December 2016, the cases of children below 12 years below were 7.4%.
This means these children are most likely to have got the virus during delivery from their mothers. Many people are ignorant especially women are illiterate and are not aware of the situation and services available. Government came up with a policy in the hospitals where by each pregnant woman is required to be tested for AIDS before having any antenatal checkup.

However many are not willing to do so and the majority percentage of women are not aware of this. Hence the need to sensitize them on the importance of these services, this will help to protect the unborn children from contracting the HIV virus. According to (UAC), it is estimated that 1,600,000 people are on anti-retroviral therapy.
This means that the health of the adults is at risk. There is a need to consider the health of the adults since they determine the welfare of the young people. In the rural areas, there is a high risk of transmitting disease from other to child since the populace is not aware of the possibility of preventing the transmission and at the same time services like testing for HIV are in the urban areas which makes it hard for them to test their blood and know their serial status.

Hence the need to sensitize the populace on the need for voluntary testing for the benefit of both the unborn baby and the mother to be. There is an urgent need to promote VCT among the young especially the school going students among others.
This is because according to the ministry of Health, the sexually active population is between 11- 40 years of age. This includes others school children, parents, teachers, orphans, the unprivileged professionals, professionals and community members. A good number of school students are involved on risky behavior whereby at the age of 15 years, over 30% of female youths had sex and at the age of 18 years, 72% have had sex.

This leaves the female sect more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS which is said to be 6 times more than that of boys. With this in place, there is need for people to go testing for HIV to know their serial status. However, many fear to do so because they know there is no cure and people’s perception. Hence the need for community sensitization since there the prevalence of antiretroviral drugs in government hospitals but, these are only given to only people who have tested and are sure of their serial status.
This leaves out many who fear to go testing for HIV/AIDS making many live and eventually die early.

  • Expected outputs
    •  VCT/PMTCT services will lead to a reduction in the spread of AIDS both among the children and the adults.
    •  Behavioral change practices especially among the school going age girls.
    •  Positive living will be promoted.
    •  500 IEC materials on VCT/PMTCT distributed among 500 caretakers of VWGCs.
    •  Seven (7) VCT/ PMTCT outreaches conducted.

  To strengthen the capacity of the organization staff to implement programs by the end of year 2007

For any organization to be able to effectively manage and implement its programs it must have skilled and competent staffs and volunteers. During PEMU’s SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) it was recognized that the strengths of the organization included presence of qualified personnel, mutual understanding between PEMU and caretakers, good management, relationship with the donors and above all, team spirit. However, the key weaknesses recognized were to do with less experienced staff, limited fundraising skills, lack of reliable transport, limited resources and inadequate computer skills among staff.

PEMU will continuously develop the capacity and skills of its staff and volunteers through identification of training gaps and organizing the training, in order to be able to implement the programs effectively. Strategic courses identified for immediate attention include developing fundraising plan/strategies and developing adoption plan for PEMU. The training courses will have to be accompanied by developing and updating administrative, personnel and financial systems, policies and procedures to match challenges of a growing organization. Procurement of office equipment will be important to the processes.
Opportunities identified for PEMU include, the relevance people see of need to provide support for VGC, favorable government policy and supportive board members. However PEMU currently is faced with threats in terms of lack of funders committed to supporting the programme.

  • Expected outputs
    •  Easing of work and a reduction on mental strain on the side of staff
    •  Coordination meetings held
    •  Training/workshop held
    •  Improved organization capacity
    •  Improved service delivery
    •  Improved implementation
    •  Fundraising strategies held
    •  Adoption plan developed

  To establish a department of sponsor relations and fundraising in PEMU by the end of year 2019.

PEMU supports Aids VWGCs who are faced with problems ranging from social, economic and psychosocial. In African tradition the family was the safety net where the children would fall back for help but due to HIV/AIDS this safety net has been weakened and has led to girl child headed families these families face a lot of hardships, they cannot meet the basic needs of life such as clothing, shelter education etc.
Therefore it’s because of these problems that PEMU has created sponsor relationship department to enable locally and foreign people who would want to foster any child under PEMU programme as way of improving the wellbeing of such children who are going through harsh hardships