All posts by Natalie Moore

Successful exam results for JMLC pupils

A core programme of CALM Africa, which CFU funding helps to support, is education. A key pillar of child protection is quality education, keeping children safe in schools and giving them the skills to enrich their future.

The Uganda National Examinations Board has released the 2016 Primary Leaving Examinations results. The results were received with excitement at JMLC, as the students performed very well.

According to Ninsima Geoffrey, the Director of Studies JMLC, “we got 10 first grades, with the best performing student getting aggregate 9. We also had 9 students passing in second grade, and in the third grade we had only 3 students.”

“The performance was very good. Am very happy about it,” announced CALM Africa Team Leader, James Ssekiwanuka in his office at JMLC. English was the best performed subject.

“We thank the Almighty God and appreciate the prayers of stakeholders and people of good-will for their continued support,” added Geoffrey.

In 2016, JMLC had 23 candidates sitting for PLE, interestingly for the first time, girls were more than boys. The class had 12 girls and 11 boys. JMLC also had candidates from other schools register to do their examinations under the JMLC centre number.

“We had no control over the performance of students from other schools who registered to use our centre number. Not all students who didn’t perform well are from our school. Since we want to help other schools, when they asked us, we accepted to register their students under our centre number,” James explains.

“It is important to note that our goal is not to teach students to just pass exams. We are about character formation, education for responsibility and preparing students for a better future. We are about moulding good citizens for Uganda who would contribute to their country’s development. When you emphasis character, conducive environment for learning and less teaching and more learning, then passing becomes an inevitable outcome. Passing exams is good as it manifests the school good works and raises the school profile, ‘’ the Team Leader added.

The principle of JMLC is to provide quality education to the children. “And education to us doesn’t necessarily mean performing well in exams, when in other areas your performance is poor,” emphasizes James.

JMLC also participates in co-curricular activities like sports, debates, leadership training and domestic tourism where students and staff visit different parts of the country. The school is also a strong competitor in inter district and national sports championships.

“We get reports that students of JMLC are always hardworking, humble, disciplined, focused and God-fearing, based on performance reports on our students who are now in secondary school,” happily narrates James.

Director of CALM Africa and Director of Studies with best performing students

As a sign of appreciation and motivation, the director and administration of JMLC organized the ‘Director’s Handshake’ event for the students who passed. Some of the gifts handed to the students were sent in by the foreign friends and supporters of JMLC.

“I call upon parents who have school going children, and have not registered them with us, we still have vacancies from nursery up to primary 7,” appeals Geoffrey. Geoffrey further states that, the fees structure for JMLC is also favourable. The school is also fighting hard to acquire a van to pick students who might be coming far from the school.

The next academic year starts on 6 February, when the first term opens. The administration and teaching staff of JMLC is already preparing for the academic year, and promise to continue improving the exams performance and character formation of its students.

This is a great achievement for us to hear. It means the pupils we’ve been working with over the last few years are set to continue in secondary school. It means that the standard of teaching and experience of the primary children is being maintained, and improving. It means that our donations are helping to ensure this is possible for these children. 

Our thanks to everyone who supports JMLC or has in the past, through donations to the school itself, sponsorship of a child, or volunteering there working with the staff and children.

For more information on any of the above, please do get in contact at info@childrenfirstuganda.co.uk

CALM Africa visit the UK

As we bring 2016 to a close, we reflect on the great work done across this year, the progress against our common goal of protecting children in Uganda, and the great friendships shared over many years through this.

Journalist, Hillary, met with the CALM Africa team following their visit to the UK in August this year. Now we hear from their own words, what it has meant to them.

Two members of the CALM Africa team are all smiles and tales after returning from a trip to United Kingdom. The duo is James Kimera Ssekiwanuka, the Director & Team Leader and Joseph Luganda, Programs Manager.

“The purpose of our visit was three-fold,” explained the Director. “Firstly, we were there to attend the wedding ceremony of our friend Dan Hope. Dan informed us as early as last year, that he will be tying the knot with his wife. By March this year, he had sent a formal invitation and travel tickets to enable the preparation for the journey.

On a soberly note, James missed the wedding ceremony due to travel delays with visa processing. Joseph, however, did attend. “It was a marvellous party, thanks a lot Dan. It was one of the highlights of the trip,” adds Joseph.

“Secondly, we were there to meet supporters and friends of CALM Africa and other organizations that have an interest in child welfare and, thirdly, to meet friends of CALM Africa and to interface with CFU Board.

During their stay, they visited agencies like Team Fostering Organization in Newcastle where they learnt and shared experiences on child fostering programs. They also visited Safe Children Organization in Leeds where more experiences were shared and notes compared.

“We also took days off to spend time with our host Dan in York,” adds James, with memories flashing on his face.

In London, the duo spent some days with Terry Goddard (CFU Director) & family and had a day with Tony Bateman (CFU Director) and family, with whom they discussed matters of great interest for the organisation. Tony is the Patron of CALM Africa and works very closely with James continuously, remotely from the UK and through regular visits to Uganda. This was also an opportunity to interact with sponsors of students of Jolly Mercy Learning Centre. Joseph had time off to visit Kingston University. The university pledged to work with CALM Africa, by sending volunteer student to visit the organization.

Another great benefit of the visit was for James and Joseph to attend the Annual General Meeting of Children First Uganda (CFU) board, who are currently the main funder of CALM Africa through their fundraising activities.

“We gave them updates, achievements made so far, challenges and the way forward in regard to CALM Africa’s work,” explains James. In the way forward, the duo reiterated that CALM Africa is contributing to Global Sustainable Development Goals which focus on people, planet, peace, prosperity and partnership.

While addressing the board, James is quoted saying, “thank you is never going to be enough. You have worked hard to support us: just enormous goodwill. CFU has done amazing work. We have no sentimentality, no self-pity, no regret in what has been achieved so far in this partnership. We have all tried to follow defined objectives based on our dignity, our hopes and our dreams; striving to reconcile our inner experiences with all that’s happening besides us. We thank CFU for the essentials which have made us consequential. Our potential without the essentials is inconsequential.”

***

CFU were so pleased to hear of the progress made during the AGM, and we look forward to working together on further developments over coming years. On a recent visit by our Director in the opposite direction over to Uganda, it was fantastic to see these things in person, and so encouraging for continuing to make an impact.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

CFU Chair’s update

Last week was our AGM, Suzanne, our Chair gives a personal update of the meeting…..

I flew out of Dundee last Friday in FlyBe’s purple Dornier propeller airplane, looking forward to attending Children First Uganda’s AGM the next day. I can’t quite believe that this will be our 8th AGM. However, I did know that this one would be rather special, as James Ssekiwanuka (Director CALM Africa) and Joseph Luganda (Programme Coordinator) were in the UK and would be attending the meeting.

The engineering consultants Elementa had kindly offered us a meeting room in their smart new offices in London at no cost. Everyone could make the meeting; it was great to see Tony (Bateman), Andrew (Drakeford), Natalie (Moore), Terry (Goddard), Dee and Paul (Winks). Then straight down to business.CFUAGMmeetChildren First Uganda’s principle aim is fundraising to support Calm Africa’s work (our sister charity) in Uganda. So it was great to hear Andrew reporting that we have sent over £34,000 to Calm Africa last year, whilst our total expenditure was only £150 (which were mostly admin and bank charges). Our other goal is to increase the profile and awareness of Children First Uganda and Calm Africa. Much of this work is championed by Natalie who is our ‘Media Lead & Fundraising Co-ordinator’. Natalie has done a great work managing our website and social media. The website blog offers great insights and heart-warming stories about the wide range of projects that we are involved in.

As I had anticipated, James and Joseph stole the show. It was a privilege to hear James describe how his team support some of the most vulnerable children in Kampala. He told us how the staff provide a safe and supportive school environment for the children in their care. James described his ambitious plan to pump clean water from their local well directly into the Jolly Mercy school. He closed by sharing his vision of building a healthcare centre for the local community. After lunch Joseph spoke about the grassroots community work that their team provides, and he explained more about the ground breaking foster care programme that he runs, which allows children to be cared for in their own community. It was good to meet Joseph, I had heard so much about Joseph but I had never met him.Suzanne with James and Joseph

What are my closing impressions of the day? I was encouraged that as a result of the regular giving of many Children First Uganda supporters, we are now able to send monthly donations to support the Calm Africa team. I am proud that nearly all the money we raise goes directly to support children that are in Calm Africa’s care. It is good to know that projects like the school sponsorship scheme are giving children hope. Every year I am struck by how far even a modest donation can go in Uganda.

As I climbed back on the Dornier plane at Stansted, my hope is that when the CFU team met in 2017, we may have helped turned some of James’s dreams into reality.

****

You can read a little more about our Chair, Suzanne, and the rest of the CFU team here: http://childrenfirstuganda.co.uk/who-we-are/cfu-board/

Enriched education

‘A child who has never travelled, will always think his mother is the best cook’, is a common saying among the locals.

Despite Uganda being endowed with lots of unique animals, plants, birds, Great Rift Valley and other geographical features, few citizens have taken a travel-tour around the country.

Jolly Mercy Learning Center, a primary school under CALM Africa, has embarked on a program of promoting local tourism, by taking its pupils to places that are a tourism attraction.

“Teaming up with Link International, we took our pupils and staff to Kasese, in western Uganda, for a four-day tour,” explains James Ssekiwanuka, the team leader of CALM Africa.

Student visit the salt mines
Student visit the salt mines

The trip was two-fold. The pupils had gone on a tour of one of the most scenic part of the country. But also, JMLC is partnering with a school in Kasese, Kyambura Primary School. This trip gave JMLC pupils a chance to meet and interact with fellow pupils from Kyambura.

As part of the partnership bonding, the pupils from the two schools engaged in a debate, competed in a football match, while the teachers congregated the primary seven pupils into a single classroom for classroom lessons in English, Maths and Science.

“This was intended to introduce the students of the two schools to get to know each other, and also compare notes on the subjects they are studying,” adds James.

After the classroom sessions, pupils from both schools went on a tour around Kasese.“Some of the places we visited include Kyambura Gorge, Kazinga Channel, Bunyaruguru crater lakes and Lake Katwe salt mines”, narrated Joseph Luganda, CALM Africa’s Programs Manager.

“While in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, we saw lots of wild animals, with most of the pupils seeing these animals for the first time. We saw 5 lions, 7 elephants, lots of buffaloes, hippos, Uganda cobs and lots more,” Joseph adds.

“For most of our pupils who come from Nangabo in Wakiso here in central Uganda, it was there first to travel out of the region, and to travel such a long distance. Kasese is about 400 kilometers from here,” James described.

CALM Africa would like to make this a routine tour, and even host pupils and staff from Kyambura Primary School at JMLC.

“We would even like to take some of the parents, accompanied by the pupils, along these tour trips so that the parents also get to appreciate local tourism and encourage their children to explore more,” the team leader revealed.

Uganda is regarded as a number one tourist destination in the region, but most Ugandans haven’t toured their own country. This is the attitude that CALM Africa hopes to change, starting with pupils of JMLC.

CALM Africa strongly believes that children have a right to know and inherit a good sustainable environment.

The rapidly increasing population is exerting more pressure on the environment resulting in the increased need for space, food and shelter, indiscriminate deforestation and poor waste management. They arise due to limited public awareness of the importance of nature and environmental conservation, inefficient socio-economic policies and practices that fail to cater for nature and environmental conservation in light of social and cultural decay and collapse.

We can change this by actively involve young people to take part in local tourism and appreciate the plants and animals we have and be ready to promote conservation as well as appreciate ecological balance.

Meeting Martin

Nurturing children, forging ahead and growing with CALM Africa

Muheebwa Hillary spends some time getting to know one of CALM Africa’s staff, Martin Kateregga. This view from the inside shows the passion and dedication to their work and importance of their impact in the local community.

Martin

He speaks quietly, and slowly. But within him lies a big passion and attachment to the care of children, especially vulnerable children.

Martin Kateregga is one of the oldest staff members at CALM Africa. He has also seen Jolly Mercy Learning Centre take its baby steps, and grow into a top performing school in the region. At 32 years old, Martin is also a mentor to many children.

Martin joined CALM Africa in 2006, and has been part of the committed staff that has steered the fight for children’s rights.

“I was in my senior six vacation when I started associating with CALM Africa and James,” he reveals. “I also didn’t have much hope at the time. That’s when I learnt about this organization, which dealt with vulnerable children. “I felt this will give me a chance to explore the skills within me,” he adds’’. And thus Martin found his calling.

After the vacation, Martin joined Kyambogo University where he was offered a bachelors degree in education.

“While studying at university, I would offer part time services to CALM Africa. During university holidays, I would also teach at CALMs schools in Rakai,” he reveals. At the time, CALM had 3 schools in Rakai; Kiganda Education Centre, St James Secondary School and Zefad.

When he completed his university degree, Martin joined CALM Africa as a full time employee. He embarked on a journey of serving vulnerable children.

“I reach out to families which are being disrupted by poverty and illiteracy. Most especially to child headed families and vulnerable children. Through counseling, focus group discussions among other intervention methods, we try to reform these children.” Martin describes his technique.

“I grew up in poverty and an illiteracy stricken community, so I know how disrupting poverty and its associated problems can be. I rely on my experience to reach to the inner feelings of these children. If my experience can help in anyway, then am glad it does.” He says, eyes looking a far. He was born in Kakuuto County in Rakai district.

As a professional teacher, Martin is also part of the teaching staff at Jolly Mercy Learning Centre.

“Part of my assignments includes teaching; I teach Social Studies and Religious Education in the upper primary, primary 5 up to Primary 7”.

In the course of teaching, Martin has mentored a lot of children. “While teaching in CALM Africa schools, I have had a chance to mentor many children, among them are two students I can point out who are quite successful (Kalisa Adam and Irene Nabachwa both at the University,” teacher Martin reveals.

Presently, Martin concentrates on Jolly-Mercy Learning Centre and the Head teacher affirms that Martin is one of the assiduous and hardworking teachers whose contribution to the growth of JMLC is immeasurable.

At CALM, Martin also interacts with volunteers to acclimatize to the place. He ensures follow up of sponsored children, monitoring their performances, home visits and interactions. At JMLC, he is always looking after the pupils and there welfare.

I have a belief that if given support, CALM can do greater work and help even more children in impoverished situations, to realize their potential. Over the years, Martin’s passion for looking after vulnerable children has grown, and he still looks forward to champion their cause.

A CALM Africa volunteer’s experience

Alice Brown from England is a volunteer visitor at CALM Africa in Uganda. In between class teaching on a break, she shares a few insights about herself and what brings her to visit.

This is my first time in Uganda, though I have been in Kenya before. I wanted to visit somewhere else in Africa, and when I saw the CALM Africa project and what they are doing with families and children, I decided this was the place to visit. At the moment I am at University, doing a course which is closely related to the field work of CALM Africa. This is the type of organisation I would like to work with in the future; helping different communities to develop and attain basic necessities, Alice explained her mission.

Alice further stated that, she liked it here: everyone is really friendly and welcoming. I have been here at the school, Jolly Mercy Learning Center, and am looking forward to going out to the villages and visit families. Unlike in Kenya, the English with the pupils here is much better and this has made the interactions easier and more straightforward. It is interesting to see how they do the assessments for children and families, visiting the homes to identify and verify the child’s different problems, needs and determine the kind of intervention to offer.

The problems back in England are not as severe than those I have seen here in Nangabo, Wakiso, Uganda. A lot more work needs to be done here. A bit more money needs to be put in the provision of services that affect the communities. Like in education, it would be more efficient if there were more schools well equipped to educate the children at a cheaper cost. It is not fair that the poorest of the children should get the poorest forms of education.

I have not had challenges per se but rather different experiences. Like when I visited the slum areas, it’s quite difficult to see the conditions people live in; it shows and proves why a lot of work needs to be done here.

There needs to be more support in helping communities achieve their potential. If conditions do allow, I would definitely like to be back here.

Loughborough University students return

It has now become an annual activity that CALM Africa hosts students from Loughborough University on a field placement program. Earlier this year, in May, students again joined the team in Nangabo to volunteer as part of Loughborough Students Union Action during their Easter holiday.

The visiting students work on one of the ongoing projects, however they are also interested in other projects like teaching and making family assessments for foster care support. They also engage in sports and games, like playing football and netball with the pupils of JMLC. They offer their energies and participate in our programs; that vote of confidence is to say “yes I am ready to make sacrifices for the cause”. This support encourages CALM Africa’s cause of promoting rights of children and enhancing child protection mechanisms.

LSU-Holly takes a dodge

Last year’s team helped to start the Teachers’ House project. “They helped in the digging and construction of the foundation phase. This particular four have come at a phase when we have finished the roofing. They have been actively taking part in plastering and painting of the walls”, explained CALM Africa’s team leader.

As CALM Africa bid the visiting team farewell, Benedict Anguyo, the operations manager CALM Africa updated the team on the impact of their work. “The work you have done is not simple work. Those four teachers quarters’ rooms that you painted are ready to be occupied by the end of this week and the water stand is ready to have the tank put on. I therefore thank you for actively getting involved in the activities of CALM Africa”.

LSU-Netball time

Benedict added that it is not easy to understand the Ugandan situation, “but for you to come here and spend all this time with us, we are very grateful”.

“And you thus go back as our ambassadors, to tell the story and the progress we have made,” added Benedict.

Israel Ssekanjako, CALM Africa’s Senior Field Officer extended his appreciation to the team for the time they have spent, the support they have rendered to CALM Africa on its projects, the children of JMLC and community members through the community outreach programs.

“You have witnessed what we do; child protection issues, fostering and other humanitarian child rights’ issues,” added the field officer who accompanied them on their field trips.

Programme manager of CALM Africa, Joseph Luganda, recognised the act of sharing the group had exhibited. “You have been sharing with the children and the communities. When you share with them there are degrees of comparison between UK and Uganda, when they do that that promotes the existence of CALM Africa. He extended thanks to the University for continuously supporting the visiting program.

The team leader of CALM Africa, James Kimera Ssekiwanuka was equally full of praise for the team. “We are very aware that deciding to come and work is a sacrifice, because you spend your time, forego your personnel convenience and collect money for travel.

Therefore coming to a place you have never been to work with people you have never seen is never easy. You didn’t only come but also decided to offer your support: financially and physically. These will us to push to another level.”

“We are challenged by your heart of believing in us and continuously teaching us and our communities what giving means. That is quite touching”

James urged the team that in this globalization era, “Your coming makes you part and parcel of CALM Africa’s history. And you are now leaving a legacy which will continue to cement the relationship we have with your university. Let us keep in touch and grow our network”.

As a token of appreciation, the team leader gave a cup, wooden cup and personalized card, as a sign of cherished friendship.

What the volunteers thought:

Sally: “We didn’t really know what to expect when we set off for this trip. It has turned out to be more than we expected. We felt so welcome and party of the team right away, that made us comfortable, at ease and we have enjoyed every part of it. We hopefully look forward to coming back at some latter time.

Hannah: “We are grateful for giving us this chance, and welcoming us into your family.”

Holly: “The reason I came is I wasn’t sure of where to go, and George recommended CALM Africa for me. I was quite nervous and excited about coming to Africa for the first time. I didn’t expect how welcoming everyone would be. A week before coming Katie was telling me about this place and she almost wept into tears, that’s when knew that I will have a real good time here, which I really have.”

Craig: “I have done a volunteer trip before, but this is probably my most amazing experience I have had. I hadn’t realised the impact we have made. But while saying goodbye to the kids on Friday, it was emotional, kids who want you to stay. These amazing kids and wonderful organization makes me want to come back next year.”

Using Radio to Advocate for Children’s Rights

CALM Africa stands for Children’s Rights Advocacy and Lobby Mission. True to their name, CALM seeks opportunities to build awareness and using local radio has become a great platform for their campaigns. Muheebwa Hilary tells us what they’ve been up to lately…

In an effort to expand the community outreach and child protection awareness programs, CALM Africa has started using radio programs. Together with Naguru Teenage group, CALM Africa staff has been participating in radio shows to talk about child protection mechanisms on Radio Simba, a vernacular broadcasting radio station in Kampala.

“We started the radio program last year, but this year we have taken it to another level by participating in the program more frequently,” explains James.

NetworkAfrica ranks Radio Simba among the top 20 radio stations in Africa. Naguru Teenage group engages in counseling and guidance of the youth. Calm Africa concentrates on ensuring that communities embrace child protection mechanisms in urban and rural areas, basing on national laws and international conventions.

National laws include the Uganda constitution, The Children Act and The Penal Code Act Cap 120.Policy frameworks include The Adoption of Children Rules, 1997. International convections include The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. There are Regional instruments protecting the rights of children.

“The aforementioned give us a very good direction and guidance in advocating for child protection and promotion of their rights,” explains Dr James Ssekiwanuka, Team Leader of CALM Africa. “We have the legal framework and the policy framework,” he adds. The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development has a policy framework on how vulnerable children and orphans can be assisted and which services to give them. A number of government agencies are involved in this framework. These include the police, local government, judiciary and civil society organizations.

“The most important person in the protection of a child is the parent,” adds the Team Leader. “CALM Africa always requests family and community members to take responsibility to provide support for children who don’t have parents”.

According to James, when it comes to Uganda, there is a problem of AIDS pandemic. “AIDS is still a contributing factor to the child welfare problem. It has led to the emergence of child headed households,” he explains. Other factors include conflict, famine and urbanization which have also created unfortunate circumstances for children and family systems.

Whenever CALM Africa staff goes for the radio talk shows, the public is given an opportunity to ask questions about child protection. When we talk of child protection, we are advocating to ensure that every child enjoy their rights. Children who are disadvantaged are the ones who cannot easily enjoy their rights; they need special focus and tailored programs.

There is no doubt that the problem of child neglect, abandonment and child trafficking continue to gain more attention as a result of globalization. Globalised communications systems have allowed new technologies to shade light on this subject.

From these talk shows, CALM Africa has generated new ideas. One of such ideas is challenging the government to come up with agriculture investment banks to support rural farmers. According to government statistics, over 80% of Uganda’s population is dependent on agriculture, making it the backbone of the country’s economy.“If we have these agriculture investment banks, it will help to boost the sector and the families engaged in agriculture. The food security guaranteed and the income raised from the sales will help in providing for the famer and their children. Other banks don’t appreciate the needs of our farmers, and the unpredictable dynamics that affect farmers like prolonged drought, agriculture produce price fluctuations.

Children should be given an opportunity to discuss matters which affect their welfare. This results into a children’s parliament at every level, including at village level. At Jolly Mercy Learning Center, CALM Africa encourages staff to hold a children’s parliament.

According to Team Leader, this is different from the debating club; this is where children are given chance to air out their views on how they are being taught, displayed, the food and other issues that affect their life. Giving the children a voice is a very positive step in helping them reach their full potential.

In Uganda like anywhere else, children are still a weak link in the human chain and are in most cases unable to properly defend their rights. This necessitates concerted action on the part of major entities of society like government departments, civil society organizations, alliance groups and community organizations, to strengthen child protection mechanisms. Children are our future. They must be protected, nurtured and inspired at any cost.

Here at CFU, we raise funding to help all aspects of CALM Africa’s work. Part of our donations go towards CALM Africa operational costs and this can include the transport to make sure they can reach these outlets.

Mobile Clinic: Bringing Medical Care Closer to the Community

Being in good health, you are able to prosper. In order to contribute to the prosperity of residents of Nangabo, CALM Africa brings medical care services closer to the community, bridging the medical access gap.

CALM Africa believes in thinking big, starting small, but starting now.

“CALM Africa has been running a community health outreach program for the last 10 years. This program is as a result of a 7-in-1 therapy that we have developed,” explains CALM Africa’s Director as a team of medics attend to community members in the organization’s compound.

“The 7-in-1 therapy looks at the natural means which can easily enhance one’s life. Whereby people can depend on nature and nutrition to improve life and even prevent many diseases. This therapy involves counseling, nutrition, herbal, use and importance of water, exercise, meditation and spirituality. We teach our community members to apply this therapy,” adds director James Ssekiwanuka.

However, when all this fails, CALM Africa highly encourages community members to visit the nearest medical center, for a medical checkup and treatment.

“We have a mobile clinic, and nurses working with JMLC. To do community sensitization, we seek permission from the in-charge of Kasangati Health Centre IV to give us extra nurses to go to the field and serve the community. This is called Community Based Health Care, whereby community members are called and sensitized on how to prevent curable diseases like malaria and about sanitation,” explains the director.

The mobile clinic medical team visits the community regularly. On every trip, the team attends to between 100 to 200 patients, including women and children.

“The team, along with other professional organisations, goes to do immunisations, nutritional advice, HIV/AIDS testing and checkups. We then make quick referrals for those cases that cannot be handled by this mobile clinic team. The mobile clinic covers Nangabo and Kira. Most of the population in this area can be categorized as a peri-urban.

Ambition

CALM Africa has a grand plan of constructing a 3 storied building to provide health services. This health centre will be very well equipped to attend to medical needs of the surrounding Nangabo community and the entire region. However, we shall continue with the mobile clinic and outreach program until this aim becomes viable and beyond; every person cannot at always make it to the health centre.

We have secured one full acre of land on which this medical facility shall be based. We have now embarked on the second phase of drawing an architectural plan. This is being done concurrently with writing proposals for funding and support. In the due course we shall say more about the proposed Health Facility.

 

by Muheebwa Hillary

Improved sanitation, improved health & wellbeing

Good hygiene, keeping our children safe, through improved sanitation at JMLC.

A young boy wearing a green T-shirt with a Jolly Mercy Learning Centre label on his front emerges from a corridor. He goes on to a water dispenser to wash his hands with soap before running back to class. The corridor he emerged from leads to and from the school’s restrooms. These are divided into two sections; one for boys and the other for girls. Each section has toilets, urinals and bathrooms.

Entry

These latrines have been serving pupils of JMLC ever since it was officially opened in 2009. Serving a growing population that now is over 200 members. “We had never done any renovation on these structures. Most of the wooden doors were broken or not locking and weather beaten. The paint had peeled off due to some leakages from the roof. And the drains were partially blocked,” explains Dr. James Kimera Ssekiwanuka, the Team Leader at CALM Africa. CALM Africa is the parent company of JMLC.

This poor state of sanitation was bound to cause some illness to the young community at JMLC. Yet health and wellbeing of children is a core concern of CALM Africa and hygiene is critical to this.

“Thanks to the very generous assistance from a couple of long-term supporters; we have been able to give our toilet blocks a new facelift,” says James with a happy face. “We have fitted in new doors, a new roof, cleaned and opened up the drainage channels, painted all the walls and cemented the floor surrounding the toilet and bathroom blocks,” he further explains.

Toilets of JMLC

One of this couple providing such valued help visited CALM Africa and volunteered at JMLC about seven years ago and has remained in contact ever since. She also sponsors one of the children at JMLC.

“The children are now very happy, especially the girls. This is because the new surface floor is easy to clean and the draining water runs off fast, keeping the place dry,” adds the team leader.

The 60 feet pit was examined by the contractor and found to be in very good condition to serve over 10 more years. To maintain high hygiene standards, the toilets are fumigated every term during the holiday periods.

JMLC uses the pit latrines due to lack of piped running water. “We are not connected to the National Water and Sewerage System because the network doesn’t extend to our location,” explains James. “We do have a borehole, and our future expansion plan is to pipe water from the borehole to the school and then be able to use flushable toilets”. But for now, sincere gratitude goes to those who have helped CALM Africa provide a level of sanitation and hygiene to keep the children safe.