On 24th February 2022 a special graduation ceremony was held for 38 teachers who had completed their training and received certificates in Kyaka II refugee settlement, Uganda
The ceremony was presided over by the District Education Officer who said, “This is the first time in the entire district to have an Early Childhood Development caregiver’s graduation and indeed Children on the Edge Africa is a game changer. The issue of using untrained teachers should be something of the past.”
On this year’s International Women’s Day, we are reflecting on some of the amazing women that make our programmes happen around the world, by asking our team in the UK who inspires them and why.
This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, and it asks us to imagine a gender equal world, a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Children on the Edge envisions a world in which every child thrives regardless of their geography, ethnicity, gender, or caste. So we’d like to introduce some of the women that most inspire us, and how they’re contributing to ‘breaking the bias’.
Meet Joseph, whose hope and determination has ensured that the children in his community have a safe place to come and learn.
The school he founded in Kyaka II settlement in Uganda has recently benefited from a complete rebuild as part of our programme in Kyaka II and is now a bright, safe space where children can come to learn and play.
On November 30th 2021, our expert panel from the UK and Uganda gathered online to share more information about our brand new Cluster Learning programme in Kyaka II settlement in Uganda.
Watch the recording of the event, where our panel talk about how the youngest Congolese refugee children have begun learning outside, in homes, under trees, in community spaces; why we developed the model; how it works and how we hope to develop the programme in the future.
Complementing the 30 Early Childhood Development centres in Kyaka II refugee settlement in Uganda, our ‘Cluster Group’ pilot project has begun, offering early years education and support for over 800 children in communal spaces around their communities.
This approach has just won the Theirworld Education Innovation Awards and we are excited to be taking early years education to wherever the children are, making learning and early years support accessible to thousands more children who are currently cut off from education.
Read on to find out more about this innovative pilot project.
We’re delighted that our early years programme for Congolese refugee children in Uganda is one of five winners at the 2021 Theirworld Education Innovation Awards!
Partnering with local communities to provide a sustainable start for the youngest Congolese refugees in Kyaka II
Children on the Edge are working to ensure Early Childhood Development provision for the youngest Congolese refugee children in Uganda, that is genuinely community-led, and therefore inherently sustainable. Read more about our approach in Kyaka II and how we partner with local communities.
In Kyaka II refugee settlement in Uganda, we work with local communities to provide early years education and support for the youngest Congolese refugee children. To help support teachers and encourage them to take ownership of the programme in the long term, we enable them to generate a sustainable income through a small business loan scheme.
Children on the Edge works in coalition with local communities in some of the toughest places in the world, transforming the lives of marginalised children by creating protective environments where they can safely live, play, learn and grow.
It will come as no surprise that our focus in 2020-2021 has been responding to the coronavirus pandemic and it’s devastating effects in every area where we work.
1. CREATING PROTECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS
Children on the Edge works closely with the people and places that have the most impact on the child: the family, classroom, community and society. At every level, we engage with and actively involve the whole community to jointly create a protective environment where each child can thrive. Thanks to the unwavering support of our donors this year, we have been able to continue to do just this.
As government services ceased under lockdown, the Child Protection Teams increased door-to-door visits to keep an eye on children who were at risk. 79 loans were provided to households, supporting new businesses that help to provide enough income to feed families and pay for education.
The campaign to protect children from child sacrifice at the national level through the passing of The Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill 2020 continued, making significant progress.
To keep spirits high, hundreds of children celebrated a huge variety of festivals throughout the year including Holi Milan, Diwali, Raksha Bandhan and Durga Puja, keeping in line with current safety measures.
As a result of widespread research, training, campaigning and tracking of trafficking cases through a new helpline, there was a direct increase in community vigilance. 80 Women’s Groups trained on saving and small business loans in order to provide for their children, and learned about parenting and preventing domestic abuse and child marriage.
Teachers in Kutupalong refugee camp used home-based classes as a crucial opportunity to check-in on children’s welfare, and observe any signs of hunger or abuse, which have been on the rise during lockdown. In August 2020, all staff were given training on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
2. EMERGENCY RELIEF
Our partners have responded to an unparalleled situation this year with the utmost agility and ingenuity. They worked around coronavirus restrictions to deliver over 12,500 food parcels to severely affected households and saw how initiatives like micro-loans, savings groups and Child Protection Teams enabled thousands of households to withstand the worst circumstances.
Priority was given to those people with physical disabilities, women headed households, and those who had suffered a recent death in the family.
Women’s Groups directly increased the resilience of nearly 1,000 families throughout lockdown, inspiring 490 new membership applications from friends and neighbours.
As soon as lockdown began, Kutupalong refugee camp was closed. Only staff from medical NGOs and the World Food Programme were allowed in. Thankfully, this has meant the one million refugees have received food supplies and had very little exposure to the outside world. We focused on creating awareness videos about preventing the spread of the virus, which together with teacher input helped to dispel myths about the pandemic.
4. EDUCATION THROUGH LOCKDOWN
Pandemic or not, the children we work with face continual barriers to learning, so for us, this was just the next set of obstacles. More than 16,000 children were reconnected to quality education and support despite schools being closed for most, if not all of the past year. This took the form of radio lessons, phone lessons, lessons under trees, in tents, in teachers homes and in student’s homes. Backpacks were stuffed with colourful learning materials and carried to children in the most remote mountain areas. School bus drivers turned into delivery drivers, dropping hundreds of lesson packs to the doorways of refugee tents.
4. CHILDREN LEADING THE WAY
When children are free to realise their rights, they are free to thrive. This year the children we support have led the way in their communities, identifying the most vulnerable households for support, educating peers on the increased threat of trafficking, conducting surveys on domestic violence, running community handwashing workshops and making videos about preventing the spread of the virus. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
The community at large has been facing high levels of stress and depression; but many of our children have become models of resilience, setting examples of how to support families with day-to-day necessiti. Anjali and Ansu, started small shops in their local areas which generated additional income to support their families.
12 year old Soni conducted her own safety awareness campaign, making masks for many people in her village.
Through Moja Kids, their own online platform, students create video updates to share back and forth with children outside the refugee camps where they live, giving them a place to express their talents and creativity, and tackle their sense of isolation.
Masese I Child Rights Club identified a 14-year-old girl who was sleeping out on her own and informed the Child Protection Team. They talked with both the girl and her parents, ensuring she was able to return home safely. The Child Rights Club reported a security guard at their nearby petrol station who sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl. The Child Protection Team worked quickly with police to have the man arrested.
Our fundraising team works to raise funds in a number of different ways; engaging individual donors, soliciting gifts from foundations and trusts, a growing regular giving scheme, strategic corporate partnerships as well as community fundraising and challenge events.
For every £1 donated to Children on the Edge, 89p is spent on our projects supporting marginalised children, and 11p is spent on fundraising the next £1.
Our donors responded with huge generosity to the increased need created by the COVID pandemic. We grew our income by just over 5% on the previous year to £2,353,525 which enabled us to maintain programmes and respond directly to the needs of the crisis.
We do not engage the services of ‘professional fundraising’ businesses; all our fundraising activity is delivered by our own fundraising team. We do work with commercial participators; when doing so conducting due diligence and reviewing agreements annually.
Overall programme spending has increased by over just over 30% to £1,895,951. During the COVID pandemic we maintained 100% spending on overseas staff salaries.
Some small savings were made on programme running costs but were negated by increased spending on our COVID response to either create new learning opportunities or to respond to the immediate needs of the crisis. Spending in Lebanon increased due to a grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Our objective for 2020 / 2021 was to raise £1,988,727 across a diverse base of funding. Despite a challenging year of pivoting our fundraising around COVID-19 restrictions we exceeded our expected income and maintained a broad base of funding as planned.
As the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, at the start of our financial year, we focused our time and resources into building strong relationships with our supporters; and increasing the ways we could connect with them online.
This approach enabled us to pivot so many face to face fundraising events into virtual events which helped us to raise an incredible £864,552 with our partnership with The Body Shop at Home. We are so grateful to our growing “Ambassador” programme within the partnership that helped to champion so much virtual fundraising in 2020.
Without physical events, our supporters were creative in raising funds virtually, and most significantly we were delighted to have so many children supporting the charity in 2020 with virtual runs and walks.
We are grateful to so many grant makers and individuals who generously responded to the COVID-19 crisis and donated to help us respond to the emergent and ever changing needs of the communities we support.
We were delighted to be awarded a second grant from the Postcode Global Trust; a significant investment of £250,000. We are so thankful to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery which funds the Postcode Global Trust. Funds will support safe spaces and quality education for Syrian children and boost our Early Years education programme with Congolese refugee children in Kyaka II.
We ran our second matched giving campaign with The Big Give in December 2020, investing in education for Dalit children in India. With thanks to matching funders; The Charles Jacob Charitable Trust, Pacific Star Charitable Trust and The Coles-Medlock Foundation, we were able to connect with new donors, inspire more than 150 donations and raise an incredible £44,432 during the campaign.
Children on the Edge is in a strong position to serve the needs of the most marginalised and vulnerable children around the world despite the ongoing challenges created by the COVID pandemic.
This is only possible because of the ongoing generosity of supporters, from one-off donors, to those who give every month, businesses of all sizes, trusts and institutional funders as well as those who give their time in the office or at events.
We deeply appreciate every single one of you. Thank you.
Gali is three years old and his parents fled to Kyaka II refugee settlement in Uganda around six years ago after a life-threatening conflict erupted between the Hema and Lendu tribes in their village of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is a world leader in the way it hosts refugees, but Gali’s mother Maurine says that since crossing the border into the country life has not been easy.