UWESO under the new Strategic plan 2011 -2015 is using the integrated community based approach to ensure that the Core Program Areas are delivered systematically to complement each other. These include Livelihood, Child Protection, Health and Technical Support Services (TSS).
Livelihoods – Improving Socio-Economic Security for OVC
To ensure socio economic security for vulnerable households, UWESO offers the possibility of sustainable interventions that go beyond immediate assistance. With this in mind UWESO ensures socio economic security of its target groups by establishing Village Savings and Loan
Associations (VSLAs). Membership of a VSLA consists of 15-25 households who meet to save weekly, and also loan out their savings.
This program provides financial services for the poorest rural households that are not able to access financial services. VSLAs provide its members with secure savings while simultaneously encouraging beneficiary households to save, access manageable loans at an interest rate determined by the group members.
VSLAs also give an opportunity for improved social structure and support within a community. They are a forum for other learning and social development activities such as improving food security and learning about HIV/AIDS. UWESO’s long standing experience has brought out the fact that very poor households need to be supported on a number of issues if they are to break out of the poverty cycle.
• Artisan Apprenticeship
Under Artisan apprenticeship, children aged 16-18 and are living in poverty, are out of school or heading households are trained by village master artisans within the vicinity of their communities for a period of 12-18 months in different trades of tailoring, hairdressing, carpentry, hairdressing, motor mechanics, brick masonry, weaving and knitting, to provide them with technical skills, trade-work ethical entrepreneurship.
Through past experience it has become UWESO’s policy to provide the master artisans and the artisans with additional training on HIV prevention care and support; the master artisans receive training to sensitize them on the need to support their trainees and to assist them in mainstreaming psychosocial issues into their training programme. It is often the case that the master artisan takes on a parenting role. This is because the child spends much of their active time with the master artisan, and sometimes they are one of the few adults which the child has in their life.
• Vocational Training
This program benefits children who have lost one or both of their biological parents; and are between 16 and 18 years. The children are trained in vocational technical skills at the Migyera UWESO Training Institute (MUTI) in the different trades of tailoring and garment cutting, agriculture and animal husbandry, block/bricklaying and converter practice and carpentry joinery.
UWESO staff and cluster members are involved in the selection of the trainees comprised of only orphaned individuals. UWESO community groups participate in the identification and selection and monitoring, and are encouraged to provide care, psychosocial and economic support to the trainees.
• School sponsorship program
UWESO offers sponsorship to OVC in Vocational training, artisan, apprenticeship and formal secondary education and a modern mixed farming program. This program targets OVC who are aged between 15-18 years old and have lost one or both their biological parents, heading households, who are out of school. The children who benefit from the sponsorship program are selected by UWESO community groups in a process that is closely monitored by staff.
Initially child education and protection were branded under one program, with hope that providing education to the child would provide the mutual benefit of protecting the child from abuse and exploitation,
It was later felt that Child protection needed to be divorced from education because of the increased child abuse incidences ranging from battering, child labour, child neglect, incest, to defilement. UWESO developed a more strong response focusing on the protection of children. These involve direct interventions with community leaders, parents.
UWESO also develops and supports communities on how to seek legal aid and support through working with the Government institutional framework to protect and ensure the rights of children are observed.
This is a new programme area that has been developed to address the imminent health needs that are being identified in the OVC. Under this program, UWESO improves and protects the health of OVC in the following areas:- Primary health care Education, Nutrition for teen mothers and their children; HIV/AIDS (Sexual and Reproductive health and Water born diseases.
• Primary Health Care Education
OVC and their households are more likely to have poorer general health due to increased stress, poor hygiene practices and inadequate access to health care. Effective skills based health education can play a significant role in promoting behavioural change in families and individuals, and the adoption of more healthy practices.
Through the use of interactive DVD lessons in local Ugandan languages, UWESO promotes basic health and hygiene awareness by providing education on topics crucial to the quality of life of OVC and members of their households such as: TB, HIV/AIDs, Diarrhoea, Malaria, Safe water and Childcare.
• Nutrition of teen Mothers and children.
UWESO makes a contribution to helping the mothers have proper nutrition for their babies. Most of this involves educating these mothers on the nutritious foods available to them in their communities. For them to have healthy babies.
• HIV/AIDS Prevention and Counselling Testing
In addition to the physical, psychological and emotional changes that are basic to their development, ignorance plays a significant role in the vulnerability of young people to HIV infection so UWESO provides Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Training (ASRH) to OVC in order to reduce incidents of HIV and STI transmission. We partner with credible service providers to provide Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) and referral for ARTs to OVC as well as their caregivers.
• Provision of Clean and Safe Water
Access to safe water and adequate sanitation reduces the vulnerability of OVC (and their caretakers who most often are women) to incidents such as rape and its subsequent consequences. It also allows them to devote more time on other productive activities, enables the management of opportunistic diseases, and where the household may have been buying water, results into substantial savings. UWESO through this program provides OVC caregivers with knowledge and skills to construct and manage sustainable water and sanitation facilities that will expand access to clean water as well as improved sanitation.
Technical Support Services (TSS) - Developing effective OVC programs
UWESO has grown to become a technical resource to government and other agencies on issues of OVC services. This is a position that the organization develop in a very deliberate way. The past experience has largely involved delivery of government programs as a key partner. The first as a key government implementer of programs with children and secondly as a technical service agency that can provide consultancy support.
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