In Uganda, we support communities to create a protective environment for their children. Recently, we facilitated our annual 'Most Significant Change' exercise with the five slum communities we work with in Jinja, Uganda. People from each area gather to share their experiences and discuss which stories of change are the most significant to them over the year, and why. They then vote on which story they feel represents the most important kind of transformation for them as a community.
This is the fourth time we have used this technique in the Loco, Masese I, Masese II and Masese III and the second time it has been used in Wandago. Here are some highlights from the stories chosen by each community.
Namakusa Ruth - MASESE I
Kyaka II refugee communities celebrate completion of the first four Early Childhood Development Centres.
In July 2020 we broke ground on the start of our sustainable construction project in Kyaka II. Partnering with Haileybury Youth Trust (HYT), over two years we will be working alongside local communities to rebuild and refurbish 14 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres that we support across the 30 zones of the camp.
“The loss of her little brother left Jemima and her parents shaken and demoralised. They stopped seeing education as something valuable and were considering stopping her from coming to school” - Ibrahim Bagwiire (resource person for Kaborogota Zone)
During school break, the head caregiver, a team of teachers from her centre, and Ibrahim made numerous visits to the family where they comforted them and gently persuaded them to bring Jemima back to school. They also encouraged Jemima and talked to her parents about how being back in a safe and welcoming environment on a regular basis would be the best place for her at this time.
Jemima returned when school term began in February 2020 and her teachers decided it would be best for her to repeat baby class so she could fill in the gaps she had missed and have another chance to take the exam. They gave her extra time and attention right up until the time the coronavirus pandemic struck.
By then Jemima was attending regularly and doing very well in both classroom and outdoor activities. The head caregiver attributed this turnaround to the expertise of Jemima’s teachers and himself, adding that training from Children on the Edge Africa developed the skills they needed to help Jemima when she needed it most.
Elijah is 4 years old and he started baby class at Loco ECD Centre a few terms ago. During the first parent -teacher meeting, Elijah’s father mentioned that he can be mischievous at home and needed close supervision. Doreen is Elijah’s teacher, and she noticed within the first few weeks that he often snatched snacks from other children, would always disappear outside the class and didn’t seem to trust anyone apart from his mum and dad.
Refugee communities have hit the ground running in impressive style, preparing for the strengthening of early years education in Kyaka II settlement, Uganda. Since the launch announcement of the programme in May, new staff have been engaging in high quality training and creating colourful learning resources for centres.
On the 20th June each year, the world commemorates the strength, courage, and resilience of millions of refugees. Around the world more than 50 million people have fled their homes, and over half of these are children.
The refugee children we work with in Lebanon, Bangladesh and Myanmar all show great strength, courage and resilience every day, surviving in some of the toughest places around the world. On World Refugee Day 2019, we wanted to take the time to share some of their thoughts and experiences.
Kyaka II refugee settlement, close to the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has approximately 700 new arrivals each week over 65% of which are children. Having fled armed conflict, ebola, and horrific human rights abuses, many suffer extreme trauma as a result of witnessing the brutality of war and displacement. They face serious child protection risks and have nowhere safe to go during the day.
The youngest refugee children need support
A number of NGOs are providing primary education in Kyaka II, but early years education provision is limited for the youngest children, at a vital time in their development. Our assessment showed a need for up to 30 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres across 30 communities within the settlement.
In these communities, local people are doing the best they can to provide early years learning, but provision and resources are variable at best. While some communities are doing well, with Centres in a relatively good state of repair, others have non-existent provision and broken down venues that are not fit for purpose. Many Centres lack consistent quality teacher training, or well established community ownership. Without this, trained teachers have no incentive to use their training locally, and leave to find jobs in other areas of Uganda, and communities have no support or resources to maintain provision.
Resourcing communities to provide early years education
Through training and targeted resourcing, we aim to support 30 refugee communities in Kyaka II camp, to replicate our model of best practice, ensuring high quality, cost effective ECD for their children.
With multiple conflicts stretching across vast areas of the country, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s most complex and long-standing humanitarian situations.
Civilians here are exposed to gross human rights violations, sexual and gender-based violence, chronic malnutrition, and various health epidemics including the serious spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
No sooner have we announced the launch of our new project in Kyaka II refugee camp, Uganda, and the videos and photos of training and preparation are already flooding in from our partners.