2009-2019: 10 Years of Transforming Lives
We have provided leadership in our community and utilized national and global spaces to engage and contribute to working out relevant solutions to some of the most critical issues affecting the youth, girls and women. From providing shelter over the heads of helpless orphans to making a widow’s heart, here are our 10 milestones in 10 years.
- The Brian Mutebi Dream Scholarship Fund
In 2012, Brian sold his land worth $1,500 and started the Brian Mutebi Dream Scholarship Fund (http://bit.ly/1t6upiA) for girls at-risk, GBV survivors, teenage mothers and orphans. That was unconventional! Youth of Brian’s background, an impoverished background, do not give away the little they have; would seek to accumulate more. Brian sought to transform lives. The Fund has benefited 30 in primary (http://bit.ly/1VRY1MY) and secondary schools and at university. One such girl is Lisandra Kabagenyi (http://bit.ly/29QJBZw), who graduated in January 2020 from Makerere University with a Bachelor of Laws. Scholarships bestow upon such girls a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
2. A House for orphans
We fundraised and built a house for helpless orphans (http://bit.ly/1JSNvL1). Livingstone Ssempebwa and Francis Ssekatawa had been abandoned by their father after the death of their mother. She was pregnant and her husband battered her, had a miscarriage and died from her injuries. After her death, the man got married to another woman leaving the boys helpless in a dilapidated house. The house was soon collapsing on them. We amplified their voice and secured a partnership with Standard Chartered Bank, one of the British major banks operating in Uganda, and built a house for them. We did not only provide them with a shelter over their heads, but supported their economic livelihoods.
In 2017, we launched HerWallet, a social business enterprise providing microloans to urban poor women. The women call themselves “Widows of the living” because they are married but to absent husbands and thus the economic weight of running their families rests on their shoulders. “We got tired of asking for money from our ‘dead’ husbands, which may earn you a slap,” one woman said. Discouraged by a rigorous banking system, they turned to individual money lenders for loans, who charged exorbitant interest rates in addition to sexually harassing them. This is in country where GBV is at 63% among women with the lowest of economic status. HerWallet is a multipurpose project that is economically empowering women and helping curb GBV in homes. 30 households benefited from the project. The women own market stalls, retail shops among other businesses.
4. The Girls Not Brides Uganda Partnership
In 2016, we joined Girls Not Brides Uganda (GNBU), the Ugandan Partnership to End Child Marriage. GNBU has membership of 89 Civil Society Organizations maximizing synergies with the core objective of bringing child marriage to national attention, and taking proactive interventions to end child marriage through advocacy for stronger legislation and enforcement of laws meant to protect girls, and programs and policy development. We have contributed to capacity building of the Partnership through developing advocacy messages, as well as contribute to the development of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage. In 2019, we were elected to the National Steering Committee of the Partnership.
5. AU-EU Youth Plug-In Initiative
In 2017, we were one of the youth organisations in Africa that took part in the 4th AU-EU Youth Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, that developed the Abidjan Youth Declaration and the consequent AU-EU Youth Plug-In Initiative (YPII) that worked in Brussels, Belgium and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The outcome of YPII was the Youth Agenda, which together with the Youth Summit Declaration was endorsed by Heads of State and Governments from Africa and Europe. The Agenda had 6 clusters of Education and skills; Business, job creation and entrepreneurship; Governance, political and democratic inclusion and activism; Environmental and Climate change; Peace and security; and Culture, sports and arts.
6. French-African Young Leaders Program
We participated in the French-African Young Leaders Program contributing to the emergence of the “next generation” of Franco-African leaders, who will be able, by their values and means of action, to meet the global challenges of our time. Getting on the Program was highly competitive. Over 2,000 applications were received and only 32 laureates were selected. Our founder, Brian Mutebi, was the only laureate selected from Uganda. Activities of the Program that took place in Paris in July and Accra in October 2019 included team-building, training, workshops, debates and high-level meetings with the French and Ghanaian political leadership including the French President, Emmanuel Macron and his cabinet ministers, diplomats, policymakers, business leaders and civil society.
7. The Girls Flourish Initiative
In 2019, EDOU was one of the three principal promotors of Girls Flourish (GF), a non-profit that worked with UN Women Uganda and Ministries of Gender and Education to developed, implement top-of-the-mind awareness campaigns on the empowerment of the girl child in Uganda. GF organised the Girls Flourish Awards, the first national awards in Uganda that identified, recognised and celebrated communities, brands, organisations and individuals that have not only transformed yesterday’s girl child into today’s great woman but tirelessly working towards ensuring that today’s girl child becomes tomorrow’s woman of influence. GF brings a unique approach to promoting the girl child empowerment.
8. Global Discussions on Health at University of Iowa
In November 2018, we were invited by the University of Iowa, U.S. to address students of global health on our work to improve the health and wellbeing of girls and women. It was a great platform to share our work to a global audience on advocacy for investing in preventing teenage pregnancy, ending child marriage and access to affordable maternal and reproductive health services for the poor and those in remote and hard-to-reach areas of the country. We did not only contribute to building of knowledge for global health scholars, but raised funds to provide education scholarships to girls in secondary schools in Uganda.
9. Unmasking the ghost of GBV among refugees
In 2019, we undertook a study and published the report “Unmasking the ghost of GBV among refugee girls and women” that documented forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV) among South Sudan refugee girls and women in Bibi bidi refugee settlement. GBV is one of the vices affecting girls and women in refugee settlements yet disguised and oftentimes goes unreported and undocumented. The project leveraged on the power of storytelling to document the impact of GBV among refugee girls and women in Bidi bidi Refugee Settlement. This contributed to building of knowledge on GBV among refugees and enhanced interpretation of the problem and the underlying causes and impact to inform local, national and international processes for effective intervention.
10. Access to Clean and Safe Water
In Kyankwanzi district, a rural district located 150km away from Kampala, lying in Uganda’s dry Cattle Corridor, accelerated climate changes characterized by unpredictable rainfall patterns resulted into water stress, which affected the population of both crop farmers and cattle keepers. They depended on muddy, algae filled open wells and ponds left behind by sand mining in the area for water. They collected water for domestic consumption from the very sources where cattle drink, compromising sanitation and hygiene in homes and schools resulting into increased occurrence of water borne diseases such as diarrhoea. Women and children walked over 5 kilometres to collect water from the contaminated ponds. Vulnerable persons like the elderly and physically handicapped found it hard to have access to clean and safe water and proper sanitation. Working with Kyankwanzi District Local Government through The Kyankwanzi Water Project, we constructed 25 boreholes and shallow wells in the district, mobilized, trained and sensitized communities on proper sanitation and hygiene practices, and operation and maintenance of point water sources.
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