With funding from Canadian Feed, The Children, CEDO Uganda has been implementing an Integrated initiative “Tugende-Tutandike Programme” since 2009. This program seeks to ensure that participating households and the community provide a protective environment for young children to ensure they grow up free from neglect and abuse; that children are born and raised during their first five years in conditions that ensure their survival and optimal physical development; and that young children enjoy a caring and stimulating environment, both at home and within their community where they can explore, learn, and socialize.
“Tugende-Tutandike” is a statement in “Lunyoro”, a language spoken by the indigenous Banyoro tribe in Masindi District, literally meaning “Let us Go and Start. The program is funded by Canadian Feed the Children (CFTC) and is implemented in the sub counties of Budongo, Pakanyi and Karujubu in Masindi District in Mid-western Uganda; and in Nwoya District in Northern Uganda.
While the program was initially purposed to encourage and drive all children 3-6 years to go and start Early Childhood Learning under centres established by the community, in readiness for Universal Primary School; over the years, the it has expanded, covering key aspects that facilitate children’s growth, access to an education and retention until completion.
The Ultimate Programme Result:
Improved Well-Being of Children and Youth” in Masindi and Nwoya Districts by 2021.
1. Improved Food Security and Nutrition for Children and Youth,
2. Increased Income, Savings and Assets for beneficiary Households; and
3. Improved Educational Performance and Outcomes for Children and Youth
Why the Programme:
Since 2009, CEDO has been implementing the Tugende Tutandike Program in three Communities of Budongo, Karujubu and Pakanyi in Masindi District. In each community, the program is concentrated in one parish. However, despite the various program interventions and supports from other complimentary non-governmental actors, inadequate access to social services, gender inequality and disempowerment are widespread in these communities, abetting child poverty, malnutrition, disease as well as low literacy attainment, among others.The 2017 programme indicator survey conducted by CEDO in the targeted areas revealed that 22.7% of the targeted farming communities in Masindi had received training in crop production 17.8% received training in livestock production while 9.3% had received training in vocational skills. Of those that received training; 26.8% used the acquired skills to improve livelihoods and food security, while 71.8% indicated that they had not put the acquired skills to use due to various reasons including inadequate capital, the lack of raw materials for use in the trades of their choice and changing weather patterns that affected agricultural investment. Educational attainment was being affected by the inadequate facilities at the project supported schools as well as the inadequate finances to procure scholastics for their children in school. Therefore, for the period 2019 to 2021, CEDO will put emphasis on action planning during each training, and engage in entrepreneurship skills, market access and value addition to increase the competitiveness of the farmers. Under education, the program will invest in infrastructure development, improving classroom structures and, sanitation (latrines). There will be increased effort to address gender issues, early marriages as well as community attitudes towards child education to increase access and retention in schools.
Nwoya is part of the greater Acholi Sub Region in Northern Uganda. The relatively new district was carved out of Amuru in 2006, and is one of the districts brutally affected by the 2 decade long LRA insurgency that displaced people and left millions confined in Internally Displaced Persons camps. The conflict between the LRA and the Ugandan Government left more than 1.7 million people displaced. It has also led to sluggish development, abject poverty and division among communities. The problem has mainly affected widows, orphaned youths and the elderly. During the insurgency, all people were forced into IDP camps, but were surprised to find encroachers on their land on return.
Commercial farming is also taking shape in the vast empty lands in the heart of the district and, with it, land wrangles, crop thefts, early marriages and teenage pregnancies as well as gender based violence are common. For instance, Amatheon Agri, a multi-billion German commercial farm is one of the new set ups on over 3,000 hectares of land in Lungulu, Purongo and Got Apwoyo Subcounties in Nwoya. Besides, Rigli Agro Tech Limited, an Indian farm managed by Sharma Kulwinder, is one other commercial farm dealing in mainly cotton, green grams and soya beans in the north of the District. The land pressures have pushed the returnees to settle in the southern parts of the District, especially in the Koch Goma Sub County. There are no / or very low employment and livelihoods opportunities which is greatly impacting education access and completion rates; while abetting child marriages, among others.
According to UBOS 2018, children drop-out rates in schools in Nwoya District stand at 17.5 percent, 21.3% of the persons aged 12-17 years have given births, 24.3% and 66.5% of the Households are located 5 km or more to the nearest primary school, and secondary school respectively, 91.1% of the households depend on subsistence farming as a main source of livelihood, and 19% of the households (members aged 5 years and above) consume less than two meals in a day. In terms of Household based Agricultural activities; 94% for crop growing, 41% for maize, 0% for coffee, 54% are engaged in beans growing, 26.6% in millet growing, 20.3 in growing of sweet potatoes, 1.8% are engaged in matooke growing, while 80% are involved in livestock farming. Under education, absenteeism remains wide spread at 54% and a prevalence of early and forced marriages as well as teenage pregnancies wide spread.
Other constraints affecting education include: Rampant strikes by primary school children, Reluctance and complacency by parents to respond to educational needs of children, Failure to pay Utility fees by parents, Inactive SMCs; Unlockable windows, damaged floors of classrooms, inadequate pit latrines, No school feeding programs, low staffing levels, among others. Proposed interventions for the period 2019 to 2021 will include community mobilization towards education and productivity. This will involve efforts to change parents attitudes as well as establishment of safe spaces for children and parents so as to avert strikes, improve retention and attendance, improve household incomes, as well as improve service delivery in the schools. The combination of these remedies is likely to improve student performance in schools.