Madeleine Cuckson Nola embraces StepUp and becomes the administrator of her local programme #StepUpSuccessStories Nola lives in the village of Nyogo Anzupi in Uganda. Nola has lived alone for many years due to her husband Robert’s pursuits of casual work outside of the community, in order to support their family financially. This has left Nola […]
Nola embraces StepUp and becomes the administrator of her local programme #StepUpSuccessStories
Nola lives in the village of Nyogo Anzupi in Uganda. Nola has lived alone for many years due to her husband Robert’s pursuits of casual work outside of the community, in order to support their family financially. This has left Nola with a large amount of responsibility both in the home and on their land.
Robert’s decision to migrate is not uncommon, many men in
Nola’s community leave due to farming challenges. The difficulties of trying to
earn a sufficient wage in the community include the small sizes of land plots
available, these plots often have poor soil quality due to decades of tobacco
growth, using inorganic methods which leads to scarce harvests. Many households
in Nola’s community live off the equivalent of 1$ a day. The village is often
set back by the following: regular food shortages which cause malnutrition,
regular occurrences of preventable diseases due to sanitation issues, high
rates of substance abuse and many dropping out of school, which has led to a
high rate of illiteracy.
With the help of the Step Up Programme, implemented by OCA,
communities like Nola’s are provided with crucial practical training to help
increase their incomes, improve health and general wellbeing. Nola has been a
great asset to the programme, upon joining she has successfully implemented the
skills acquired from training and has become the secretary to the programme in
her village. Nola now grows many different fruits and vegetables and has
improved the quality of her soil with organic farming techniques, additionally
Nola has made significant changes to the infrastructure of her household – with
the building of a dish drying rack, a fence to surround her home, a latrine
with a bath shelter attached and has prepared burnt bricks to build a more
permanent house. Nola has also planted over 250 agroforestry and timber trees
to help the environment.
The Step Up Programme not only improves individuals’ lives
but has the capacity to bring people together, as Nola has found that through
engagement with the programme she has gained leadership skills and is a
respected, powerful figure in her village with authority to make decisions –
therefore, the goal is for the whole community to prosper. Nola and Robert now
have high hopes for the future, they intend to send their children to better
schools, Robert plans to return home and join Nola to help harvest even more
produce, start a small livestock business and construct a permanent house.
IRT needs donors to be able to continue our valuable work.
If you would like to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable farmers in northern Uganda, please consider donating today. You can do this through our website at https://www.irt.org.uk/donate/ or by calling our office on 020 8994 9120. Thank you!
StepUp: Education During Lockdown
November 17, 2020
Olivia Garner IRT explores how children in StepUp communities have been coping with lockdown and the closure of schools. International Refugee Trust is passionate about the importance of education as a way out of poverty. Through IRT’s StepUp programme in rural northern Uganda, families are taught the importance of sending children to school and the […]
IRT explores how children in StepUp communities have been coping with lockdown and the closure of schools.
International Refugee Trust is passionate about the
importance of education as a way out of poverty. Through IRT’s StepUp programme
in rural northern Uganda, families are taught the importance of sending
children to school and the enormous benefits and opportunities an education
provides. As another component of the programme, the Organisation for Community
Action (OCA), IRT’s partner, has established a scholarship scheme which pays
school fees for girls in StepUp communities. In northern Uganda, national
lockdown and the closing of schools has had a significant impact on children’s
studies. Students from rural areas, without internet access, are unable to
benefit from the remote online teaching embraced in other parts of the world.
At first, when schools closed it was a difficult adjustment for a lot of families. Many students were given holiday packages by their schools to complete whilst in lockdown, but the lockdown lasted a lot longer than anticipated. The students made other efforts to keep up with their studies by listening to remote education through the radio and having group discussions with classmates within their villages.
StepUp participant Martine told OCA’s trained experts on the ground that “as a result of schools being closed, some irresponsible men are taking advantage of this situation to marry off the girls in the village by telling them that COVID-19 will not end and that school will not open again. However, parents that received StepUp training are talking to their children on the dangers of early marriage and engaging them on agricultural activities to keep them busy.” Martine said the children have really helped with domestic work. They have been of great help in growing cabbages which were harvested this season, with part of the profits to be kept for school fees when school reopens.
Angella, a Senior Two student with a StepUp scholarship at Wisdom High School, testified that she has been able to complete her school work in addition to helping out with domestic work. When interviewed, she said, “My parents are giving me and my siblings enough time to revise our books which we do in the afternoon, late evening and very early in the morning at around 5:00am since we have lamps. At my school we were given a holiday package which I have completed.” She added, “I want to thank my parents for being so supportive towards our education by giving us enough time for holiday studies. And I also want to thank OCA too for sponsoring my studies.” Angella’s grandmother Faustina was pleased to see her sons helping Angella and her other grandchildren with school work. She said, “Seeing all this makes me so happy because even though the children are not at school, they are showing a positive attitude towards education that shall make a better future for them.”
Despite the lockdown adding another barrier to education,
especially for girls, it is rewarding to see that families in the StepUp
programme remain committed to the future generation having an education.
It is so inspiring to see the long-lasting impact that StepUp training has, and
it is hoped that the students are able to continue their education throughout
the duration of the pandemic and beyond.