A LADDER can only mean one thing: Progress. That is why the Stromme Foundation
recently chose this important tool to symbolize their movetowards greater heights in their activities to improve the lives of the poor in Uganda. “We build ladders. Unique, very special ladders. On these ladders people climb to a better life,” says the foundation’s management in a report. “
As a development organisation whose goal is to eradicate poverty, the ladders are the means by which we are reaching this goal. In other words, we help people climb out of poverty,” says Priscilla Serukka, the Stromme Foundation regional director. Over the last year, the Stromme Foundation has invested time, energies and resources in special projects from education, to community empowerment.
“In 2012, we continued to implement education interventions through partnerships with 25 registered local organisations and community based organisations,” says Serukka. “We enrolled 49,830 children (51% of whom are girls), in 51 primary schools and 2,676 (47% of whom are girls) in 19early childhood development centres in the region,” says the Stromme regional report. Stromme has championed a project to educate girls. the Adolescent Girls Empowerment programme (Mazungmzo in Kiswahili) was implemented by five partners in Uganda and South Sudan.
According to Serukka, the programme targets girls from the ages of 14 to 19, who have dropped out of school and those that have never gone to school. Under this programme, the foundation last year enrolled 1,097 girls in 45 centres in Abim and Yumbe and in Central Equatoria in South Sudan. The girls who completed their courses in Abim graduated last year and their ceremony was graced by the First Lady,” says Serukka. Stromme worked handin- hand with the local governments to implement the programmes.
The Stromme Foundation has over the past one year provided training for adolescent girls in literary and numeracy skills and lessons on hygiene and family planning. “We have also provided occupational skills like hair dressing, knitting, tailoring, catering, weaving, agriculture and computer skills,” says Serukka. To improve the learning environment for school-going children, the organisation built 16 new classrooms and renovated 23 classrooms for pupils who previously took
their lessons under trees or in incomplete structures
Stromme has directed much of its support towards skills development for teachers, school management committees and parent-teacher associations. As a result of that intervention, 235 preservice teachers (43% of them women), 112 in-service teachers (37% of them women) and 577 school community representatives (33% of them women) have received training over the past year. There is a teacher training programme going in Sudan.
Nine teachers’ houses were also built, which has helped to reduce absenteeism. The interventions have improved education standards in beneficiary areas. Overall, the performance of pupils at primary seven in the communities and schools where we work registered improvement,” says the Stromme report. About 47% pupils joined secondary school compared to 44% in 2011, says Serukka. At 69% pass rate compared to 67% in 2011, the girl’s performance was particularly impressive.
One of the beneficiary groups during a meeting
Sports and Culture
In addition to this, Stromme foundation has continued to support sports, culture and arts, providing life skills training as a way of equipping young people with leadership capabilities, promoting knowledge and bringing about behavioural change to curb substance abuse, guard against HIV and AIDS and anti-social behaviour.
Such interventions have gone a long way in curbing social risks. They have also done a lot to empower young people and to equip them with practical skills for their own sustainability. “Through our partnership with Christian Youth Sports Contact (CHRISc) we have equipped over 26,000 young people with sports skills and knowledge on responsible and dignified behaviour in society,” says Serukka.
Despite all these achievements, a few challenges remain, especially shortage of funds and also in accounting for funds by some local leaders. Nevertheless, Stromme Foundation remains determined to grow even bigger and to reach out to more needy communities in the region. “We will remain committed to cause the development of the poor,” says Serukka. There is no doubt that Stromme foundation has done a tremendous job and with support from well-wishers, it will continue encouraging people to scale the heights of development.
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