Last month we introduced Programme Manager Balaba Henry Bosco (Henry) who is part of the COTE Africa team in Uganda, and works with refugees from the DR Congo in the Kyaka II settlement. He told us about his work in Kyaka II and his hopes for the future, and then we threw it over to YOU.
Giving our supporters an opportunity to ask Henry a question. We were sent some fantastic questions which Henry has answered, read on to find out what he said about the most challenging parts of his job and how he helped to spread joy in the COTE Africa office at Christmas.
How do the Early Childhood Development consultants and teachers work together?
On top of training sessions, the consultants do mentorships and support supervision to help teachers improve their performance.
Are all of the ECD consultants, teachers and the COTE Africa Team all employed by Children on the Edge or if not who pays the people involved? I am employed by COTE and the consultants are also paid by COTE. The teachers are employed by the community (Centre Management Committees) but we support them with business skills training and small business loans to improve their livelihoods. We also give them a stipend when we engage them in activities like distribution of learning materials in the community.
How is the community involved at Kyaka II? Can you give an example please?
Before rolling out any program, communities [stakeholders] are involved in the initial stages to know what they think about it's practicability. We work directly with community local leaders.
Kyaka II settlement has 10 zones. We selected 10 resource people from each zone and they take part in each and every COTE Africa activity. The aim is to make these resource people gain a broad understanding of all our programs so they can appropriately support their communities with or without us.
All the ECD centres we support were initiated by communities and are being run directly by Centre management committee members nominated and vetted by the community members.
Do you liaise with other groups involved at Kyaka II. Is someone responsible for the whole settlement or direct the activities of the NGOs?
Yes, we do liaise with other groups and organisations. We even do referrals in some instances. The Office of the Prime Minister here in Uganda is responsible for the whole settlement. All NGOs meet on a monthly basis in what is termed as interagency coordination meetings. We also report to them periodically.
How do child refugees come to you rather than another NGO?
Before COTE started working in Kyaka, there were ECD centres being run by the community but the quality of teachers and the learning environment was wanting. There was also a lack of understanding of the importance of ECD by the community.
We conducted a baseline survey and selected 30 ECD Centres to work with. By sensitising communities on the importance of ECD, improving the learning environment and training of teachers the enrolment in ECD Centres under us has greatly improved.
We go into communities and talk to people about child protection and child rights and that's how they are able to know what we are doing and the relevancy and we work with community leaders to pass on the information to the locals.
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
I like to read about historical events and figures, I watch news on TV and Political talk shows and I like to watch and read news about football.
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