Month: December 2020

Month: December 2020

Impact of saving as a component of financial education

During the implementation of the GTL project, financial literacy training was one of the topics in the curriculum which was very much embraced by the girls and in their testimonies, as many confessed that they did not know about saving because every coin they used to get, they would use it to buy luxuries. But with the onset of GTL skills training in saving especially, girls realized the need to save little by little for personal needs and future dreams/goals.  Since then, the girls have taken on saving seriously and as a result, four Girls VSLAs were formed in Bukakata, Buwunga and Kyesiiga.

These VSLAs were recommended at the villages and Sub County levels by local authorities and registered at the district and certificates of registration were issued with the help of PEDN and Opportunity Bank Uganda Limited. These were registered under the names below:

  1. Nyondo Abalawa Abamalilivu Saving Group (VSLA) located in Kasaka Parish in Buwunga (10 AGYW members)
  2. Magiri Mwana Muwala Kulembera Saving Group (VSLA) located in Kyesiiga Parish in Kyesiiga (40 AGYW members)
  3. Girls Take Lead Bwami Saving Group (VSLA) located in Makonzi Parish in Bukakata (11 AGYW members)
  4. Lwemodde Advanced Girls’ Saving Group (VSLA) located in Lwemodde in Kyesiiga (11 AGYW members)

All four (4) VSLAs above have opened groups accounts with Opportunity Bank Uganda Ltd.  Also, some girls have opened up individual bank accounts.

  • One of the AGYW in Bukakata (Nakabonge Revine Violah–18years) managed to mobilize fishermen in Lamu landing site after going through the savings session and they started up a savings group called, “Dream Big Fishermen Development Savings Group” with 30 members by the time of monitoring where she is the Secretary and with the help of two of her relatives, they managed to register it at the Sub-county in Bukakata and they got a certificate. They had saved 300,000/= so far.

In total all girls in the project saved a combined amazing total of Seven Million Five Hundred and Thirty-Three Thousand Seven Hundred Ugandan Shillings (7,533,700/=), approx.1,714.156 Euros in three (3) months and majority would like to use their savings to start small businesses.

GTL Project overwhelmingly supported by Local Leaders and Parents in Masaka

Local leaders and parents too have praised GTL project for its enormous benefits to vulnerable AGYW in Masaka. For example;

  • The chairman Local Council 1 of Bwami (Buwunga subcounty) always closely followed and attended GTL; he was impressed by what he saw including the togetherness and team work exhibited by girls during project activities. He went ahead to offer his home compound as a training venue for club 4A and 4B and quite often the groups utilised his house as shelter whenever it rained.
  • The Local Council 1 Defence member for Kayugi (Mukungwe subcounty) commended the discipline shown by the girls ever since they joined the project. He confessed that within his area, cases of misconduct and indecency involving girls especially those in the project had all of a sudden disappeared. He was full of praises and gratefulness for PEDN and GTL funders for impacting on the behaviours of girls which had reduced the risk of getting wasted away and indulging with men.
  • The parent of Miracle Grace (club 1B in Ssunga) confessed about the improvement in the way she relates with her daughter. Her daughter’s behaviours have changed and she take more responsibility unlike before she joined the project.
  • The parents and local leaders appreciated that the girls are now saving some money and they have bigger dreams of starting up their own businesses and some girls have already started up small businesses for a low as 10,000/= to 20,000/= which they used to think could not do anything.

The parents and local leaders at the landing sites of Bukakata and Ddimo noted that the girls had reduced moving aimlessly, they had purpose, and had started small businesses like making and selling toasted bread, selling deep fried fish and making fruit salads. Toasted bread and fruit salad were new ventures in the community which meant that they could fetch some money for the girls.

How GTL has enhanced Girls Confidence to seek ASRHR services

Nampijja Winnie (20), Nampijja Hasifa (19), Akatukunda Fridaus (19) and Nakisekka Hadijah (21) are some of the vulnerable AGYW from Bukakata Sub County enrolled in GTL project. The trio’s lives were dependent on transactional relationships, which put them at risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. The PEDN training in Social Empowerment aspects, Rights and Responsibilities, Say No to Violence and Accessing Reproductive Health Services, changed them for the better because they have learnt to make better health choices, have developed confidence to visit health facilities for check-ups and also know their rights. They have also developed determination to strongly say NO to violence especially sexual violence and feel more empowered. During the interaction with the project officer, Fridaus had this to say,

“I thank PEDN and Aidsfonds for bringing this project and the training to us. I also thank these two organisations for picking the girl child from behind and bringing us forward. I can now make informed decisions, I didn’t know that I had rights but now I know, I would just do whatever I was told to do whether it was bad, hurting or painful. I also used to behave as I wanted but now, I am a changed person. I could not even think of going for medical attention of any form because I feared and it didn’t matter to me anyway; but right now, I am very confident and ready to visit the health center for VCT to check how my life stands”

Her friend Nakisekka Hadijah on the other hand said

“After the ASRHR session, I felt obliged and confident to go for medical check-up immediately and indeed I visited our Health Centre III in Bukakata for VCT.”

Winnie, Hasifa, Fridaus and Hadijah are part of the 500 Adolescent Girls and Yong Women (AGYW) in five (5) Sub Counties in Masaka district equipped with ASRHR knowledge and skills to confidently seek for health services in order to value their health and avoid transactional sex.

Nampijja Winnie, Nampijja Hasifa, Akatukunda Fridaus and Nakisekka Hadijah during the interaction

How GTL ASRHR sessions saved Grace’s life

Nambatya Grace is a 21-year-old AGYW from Kyamuyimbwa in Kabonera Sub County (Masaka district). After getting financial education training by PEDN under the GTL project, she saved and started a small business of selling plantains (commonly known as bananas or Matooke); as well as making and selling scarves. She never had any idea of starting up any business of her own before exposure to GTL project. Training in business entrepreneurship propelled her to try to be creative and earn money, instead of asking it from men which is a sure way for catching HIV/AIDS.  

Sample of scarves Grace makes and sells to people in Masaka

Grace also appreciates the project for opening her eyes about the dangers of engaging in transactional sex. She narrates;

“Before the project, my life would entirely depend on gifts from men in exchange for sex. But when GTL came and they brought us here medical people to talk to us about Adolescent Sexual Reproductive health and how we can keep ourselves safe, I realized that I was putting myself at risk of getting the disease any time. After the session, I became restless, went to the nearest health center to do a HIV test and although it turned out to be negative, I was still not contented and a week alter I did another test to confirm. I have since promised myself to never ever be reckless with my life again.”

Grace at her Banana (Plantain) Stall. she started this business with UGx 30,000

Grace has become a role model to the rest of girls in the area who were like her. She has inspired many to start up small businesses to earn income to look after themselves instead of engaging in transactional sex.

Meet Jamirah, a true definition of Hard Work Pays

Nanono Jamirah is a 20-year-old AGYW belongs to GTL club 19B in Kasaka Village in Buwunga Sub County (Masaka district). She is one of the vulnerable girls that benefited from the Girls Take Lead (GTL) Pilot project. Before the project arrived in the area, her life was controlled by fulfilling her needs through transactional relationships. She got whatever she needed in life through engaging in transactional sex with men. She had no hope but taking each day as it came and passed. However, when GTL came to her village and enrolled her, that is when she realised that she needed to preserve her life and learn to work for herself.  she shares,

“I feel have a lot of energy in me now, I used to be a nuisance in the area and all the time, my thoughts were about men, which somehow made me the talk of the area to the extent that I felt like an outcast.  I am now more confident than before and I can even speak in public because I want to change my community.

I even stood for the position of Youth secretary in my area during the recent national political elections but I failed. This however does demoralise me because I tried at least which I could not have done before if it hadn’t been for the Social Empowerment and Leadership training, I got from GTL project. And away from that, I also managed to start up my small business of making pastries (locally known as ‘chapattis’).  I started with Ugx 30,00 but right now I already have above Ugx50,000 in profits.  I use some of the profits to meet my personal needs and the rest is saved with our GTL saving club. No more transactional sex in my life, I can work and get everything I need. Thank you Aidfonds and PEDN for bringing such a life changing project in our area. I wish many more girls in our subcounty could also get these skills”

Jamirah is one of the 500 Adolescent Girls and Yong Women (AGYW) in five (5) Sub Counties in Masaka district being supported by the project with knowledge and vocational skills to be able to challenge situations that expose them to sleeping with men for gifts/money (also called transactional sex) which exposes them to the danger of catching HIV/AIDS.

Girls Take Lead awakened Specioza Leadership Ambitions

Namyalo Specioza is a 19-year-old AGYW from Kyasuma village in Buwunga Sub County (Masaka district). She is the club President of GTL club no. 25A, which sits in Kitengesa Village at Kitengesa Church of Uganda. Specioza’s story gives a ray of hope to other Adolescent Girls and Young Women in the region.

Specioza carrying her baby on the back

 She got pregnant while in school and as a result she dropped out; and to make matters worse, the father of her child denied responsibility and abandoned her. After joining GTL project, she made up her mind to regain her confidence to be positive in life. After undergoing the project training session on “Taking on leadership roles in the community” she decided to awaken her leadership dream. She had all along longed to be a community change maker through taking on leadership roles. 

Specioza sharing with her colleagues (club 25A) her views on leadership during a session on Taking leadership roles in the community

On this journey, she first aspired to become the president of the GTL club 25A, which she achieved, then recently stood for the position of Youth Secretary in her village (Kyasuma) under the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party ticket and she won. Specioza attributed all the success, resilience and confidence to lead other youth in her area to Girls Take Lead project which challenged her to follow her dream until it’s achieved.

Girls take Lead project helped in unlocking my exceptional skills in entrepreneurship.

Namugga Dorothy is a 19-year-old GTL AGYW in group 4A in Bwami –Bukakata Sub County. When she joined GTL, she never had an idea of how to make her life better.
However, after completing a session on “Who I am” and “What I want to Be” as well as “Saving and Budgeting” in the GTL curriculum, she realized her potential. She started saving some money even at home and managed to get Ugx10,000 as capital to start a restaurant business (selling tea and cooking food for revellers) in the village.

In one month, she was able to buy the needed restaurant utensils [twelve (12) plates, 12 cups, one (1) bucket, one (1) sauce pan and one (1) jug]. Proceeds from the small restaurant have been used to meet some of her personal needs, and has also managed to save Ugx 28,000 with a village saving group and Ugx 6,000 with the PEDN/GTL savings group. Dorothy is one of the 500 AGYW supported by PEDN and Aidsfonds in Masaka to uplift their lives through instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in them to be able to afford basic needs and avoid indulging in transactional sex.

GTL Project Coordinator talking to Namugga Dorothy as she shared her restaurant success in Bwami (Bukakata Sub County, Masaka)