Goodbye Ayo!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Ayo for WebsiteToday we say goodbye to one of our amazing trust and foundation volunteers – Ayotunde Ojo.

She has been volunteering with us since January 2015 and although we will be very sad to see her go, we are so excited to see her progress in her new job :) Congratulations Ayo and thank you for all your hard work over the last few months!

 

 

 

Here’s how Ayo describes her time with us:

My main activities have been trust fundraising, supporting the annual fundraising ball and researching statistics, facts and stories for the website. I have also researched local businesses for AR’s bucket and tin collection work, and researched rotary clubs for potential fundraising purposes.”

Ayo and Jessica1“I have had a pleasant time at AR. I will miss the friendly working environment; the staff appreciate their volunteers and hold them in high honour. They made me feel even more special for remembering my date of birth and gave me a birthday card and wished me the best for my future. Another thing I have appreciated is boarding the train together after work, sitting together and chatting during the journey. We work and behave in harmony.”

“They gave me encouragement and hope, and helped me keep my dream alive despite challenges along the way. One area of their support which I will gratefully acknowledge is enlightening me further about fundraising during my job search and interviews, and especially their words of advice and encouragement. Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul. Kind, supportive, great, generous, wonderful and helpful are words to describe the attitude of the staff to me and this made me have a good voluntary experience.”

Team Photo“This is the first time I have volunteered in a place that is far from the city. It is a long way to travel and at times, there are train delays/disruption along the route. However, the long distance is like an adventure along the Teddington riverside and I don’t feel bored when travelling to the office. There are times in life that one has to step out of one’s comfort zone to get the best for growth and progress, especially in one’s career. In retrospect, I witnessed the benefits of stepping out of my comfort zone.”

“I will now be taking on the job of Church Fundraising Assistant at Christian Aid, an international organization focused on disaster relief, development assistance and advocacy. It involves helping inspire the UK churches to give, act and pray to bring an end to poverty; supporting and facilitating Christian Aid church fundraising products; supporting the church partnership team deliver their fundraising portfolio, from community events to church and emergency appeals. I will also be helping to enable the team to create fundraising resources for individuals and churches across the UK and Ireland.”

Emily, Ayo and Rachel working on a DFID application“Volunteering with AR has helped me move up the career path in the international development sector. My voluntary experience has helped me to build on my previous internship experience acquired in international development. Without the experience I gained at AR, this new job will not be a reality. The move from AR to Christian Aid signals career progress in international development. Both organisations have similar goals i.e. combating poverty through development assistance. They aim to achieve the former UN MDGs and SDGs. My voluntary work at AR has been part of my career journey.”

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Kitgum – WASH

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Kitgum Demo Pupils Celebrate text booksEstablished in 2002, Kitgum Core Primary Teaching College is a government-owned teacher training college with whom we have partnered to tackle issues surrounding girls’ lack of attendance and consequently, their performance in school. In the Eastern Acholi region, keeping girls in school is a severe problem. However, recent studies show that it is much easier to keep girls in school for longer when female teachers are present to offer social and academic support to young girls; in most cases they inspire girls to remain in school. Howeveronly 27% of primary school teachers are female.

PlaqueOur initial aim at Kitgum was to increase the number of female students in teacher training by 30%, as prior to 2013 there were twice as many male students to female students. We have been working hard to make the college a more attractive place to study for female students. Previously, the College only had sufficient accommodation for up to 52 female students in a college of 400 students at the time. As such, female trainee teachers had to sleep in classrooms, the library and at times, the shower block. That is why, in 2013, under the supervision of our fantastic engineer Vincent, African Revival began the construction of a girls’ dormitory block, which accommodates up to 48 female students. Then in 2014, with financial support from the Japanese Embassy, we built another dormitory block to accommodate another 48 female students.

Jacinta Lakaraber, the head girl is hapily receiving the keys to the AR newly completed Dormitory from the Principal.However, we have also worked hard to combat various hygiene and sanitation challenges to optimise students’ positive learning experience at the college. The college’s pit latrines were insufficient for the number of students, and their over-use meant that the latrines had nearly reached their capacity. Moreover, the boys’ and girls’ latrines were situated next to each other which exacerbated instances of harassment towards girls. As such, we recently built three more latrine blocks at an appropriate distance from one another: one for teachers, one for boys, and one for girls. These new facilities have minimized queues to the bathroom, and increased students’ and teachers’ privacy.

Betty Alum 12 years old in Primary 3 is very excited to see a pupil's text book for the first time in their school.Furthermore, last year we built a girls’ changing and washroom. Providing girls with safe, secure, and private spaces to change and shower, girls are less likely get harassed by their male counter-parts, and are able to better manage their periods. As such, whilst these facilities are practical, they also help to minimize drop-outs among female trainees. We believe that these facilities will contribute towards our goal of providing more qualified female teachers to teach in primary schools within northern Uganda, so that girls are less likely to drop out of school.

One trainee, Kay, told us: “I think that having these new facilities will help us, and enable us to be great teachers to a new generation”. African Revival is thrilled to be able to offer budding teachers like Kay good facilities during their training to ensure that the young men and women at the college become motivated and inspiring teachers to young children across northern Uganda.

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Cubu Primary School – WASH

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Cubu library buildingCubu Primary School is located in the leafy suburbs of Gulu. African Revival has worked with the school since it first opened, at the height of northern Uganda’s LRA’s insurgency. Over the years, we have continued to work in close partnership with the school to transform it into a positive and safe space to study for its 400 students.

 

One of the areas in which we have invested is water and sanitation, because ensuring a fresh supply of water helps facilitate good hygiene practices – such as hand-washing, and regular cleaning – which can promote the good health of pupils and teachers. A healthy class is always going to be a happier and more productive class, and of course more likely to ace their exams!

Cubu school kids with teacherAs such, we drilled a bore-hole on school grounds to provide the school and its pupils with a constant supply of fresh water; the water is used for cleaning, cooking, and washing. The school has built washing and changing rooms, and is now able to provide water and buckets so that pupils can bathe at school…particularly handy after PE classes in the midday sun!

The water supply has also been instrumental to combating the retention of female pupils. Like in many schools across Uganda, girls at Cubu begin dropping out of school from P4 due to early marriage, pregnancies, difficulties in managing periods, and chores at home. In addition to carrying out extensive community sensitizations to demonstrate the value and importance of educating girls, we provided sanitary items to help girls better manage their periods at school.

P1050193In particular, the washing rooms we built have helped girls to manage their periods without compromising their time at school. The teachers have assured the girls that they are free to use the facilities, and help themselves to plenty of water to keep themselves clean without having to go home and subsequently miss classes. We are delighted to hear that these interventions have been effective, as the school has now achieved gender parity in school attendance – in fact, girls now surpass boys in most classrooms, which is extremely rare in Uganda. It is encouraging how something as simple as water can transform a child’s school experience, and can contribute to a child’s completion of primary school.

 

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Maro-Awobi Primary School – WASH

Posted on by Elaine Miller

welcome to the schoolThere is more to school than simply books and classrooms. In fact, there are many components which promote a positive school experience, some of which can be easily taken for granted. One such component is hygiene and sanitation; not only are solid hygiene practices, and sanitation structures necessary to maintain good health, they can also help combat wider issues such as student retention in schools.

This is why we have worked on these issues in some of our schools, including Maro-Awobi Primary School, one of our model schools located in northern Uganda’s Amuru district. When we first began working with Maro-Awobi many years ago, the tiny rural school consisted of one classroom block. However, over the years, we have worked with the school to build two more classroom blocks, a staff room and provided furniture. In addition, we have built three separate latrine blocks (one for teachers, one for boys, and one for girls), two wash and changing rooms, and drilled a bore hole on the school grounds.

patricia

Why did we choose to invest specifically in these areas? Ensuring a fresh supply for water helps facilitate good hygiene practices – such as hand-washing, and cleaning – which can promote the good health of pupils and teachers. In rural schools, un-sanitary practices such as open defecation remains a common issue, which can lead to serious medical repercussions, including cholera. As such, the provision of private latrines is key to promoting the health of students, as well as the wider local community. Moreover, providing gender-segregated toilet facilities reduce instances of sexual abuse in schools, which can led to pregnancies and drop-outs. Indeed, the retention of female students remains a common issue in Uganda.

The investment of washing and changing rooms has proved to be particularly beneficial to Maro-Awobi’s female pupils; in the school’s rural setting, sanitary items are largely unavailable and expensive, and so effectively managing periods is a real challenge. To avoid any potential embarrassment and discomfort, in the past, many girls opted to stay home during their monthly period. Unfortunately, missing so much teaching was detrimental to their learning, and stalled their academic progress.

rsz_agriculture_clubAs such, the washing and changing facilities have greatly helped the girls to manage their periods with dignity in a private space, and has thus reduced school absences during this time and in turn, promoted the retention of female students at Maro-Awobi Primary School. The school’s head-teacher, Justine Law, has already found that girls’ drop-out rates are decreasing year on year because of these facilities, and girls’ daily attendance has improved. Justine’s hope, which we wholeheartedly echo, is that through these facilities and frequent community sensitization, all 193 of her female pupils will complete primary school.

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Koch Lila – WASH

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Koch Lila Primary School is located 15km off the main road from Koch Goma sub-county leading to the Nwoya district head-quarters. Although we have been working with Koch Lila Nursery School as part of our Jumpstart programme since February 2015, our partnership with the school actually goes back a little further.

Koch Lila student drinking from water tankSeveral years ago, we wanted to ensure that every aspect of a child’s school experience at Koch Lila was a positive one, and that included making sure that their most basic needs were met. We recognize that providing clean and private toilet facilities is crucial to promoting the good health, and dignity of all pupils. As such, one of the ways in which we invested in this rural school was through building separate latrine blocks for boys, girls and teachers, as well as drilling a bore-hole and constructing girls’ changing and washing rooms. 

happy happy k3sHere at African Revival, we value the education of boys and girls equally, but we focused on building the girls’ washing facilities for one very good reason. In Uganda, because of late enrolment and repeating classes, girls often begin their periods whilst still at primary school; this has ultimately become a leading cause of girls dropping out of school, because many girls struggle to practice effective menstrual management. However, by constructing the changing and washing rooms, girls are better able to manage their periods at school, which reduces absenteeism from class during their monthly cycle.

The school is also committed to ensuring that girls are able to enjoy school in comfort and dignity, and even supply soap and smelling oils for the girls to use.  The school’s senior woman teacher, Judith, is also teaching the girls to make sanitary towels using local materials, like cotton cloth. Judith has been in her role for two years now and really enjoys being able to support the girls in this manner, and help combat the challenges which may keep them away from school, including early marriage, and the heavy burden of domestic chores – particularly during planting and harvesting seasons.

k3 dancingJudith told us that thanks in part to the changing and washing facilities, more girls than ever are attracted to the school. Indeed, when constructing these facilities, our Construction Project Co-ordinator Vincent really had the girls’ best interests in mind and thought through his plans carefully; he ensured that the washing and changing block was private, secure, and far away from the boys’ latrines. In fact, girls’ enrolment has even just (by 9 pupils!) surpassed that of boys at the school, which is almost unheard of in northern Uganda. We are delighted that the school have closed their gender gap, and we hope that both boys and girls continue to enjoy these clean and hygienic facilities throughout their time at Koch Lila Primary School.

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Victory at Sony Mobile!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

We’ve recently been receiving pro bono marketing and branding support from the team at Sony Mobile and HeyHuman Agency through Pimp My Cause.

Today, all the charities involved gave their final presentations on what they’ve been working on….AND WE WON! As well as a cash prize for African Revival, this is also fantastic news as those who worked with us are keen to continue their already brilliant support :)

Thank you to all thoseColleen and Chris Presenting 1 involved for their support, and well done to our amazing CEO Colleen for giving such a fantastic presentation about our work and our brand.

Watch this space for more exciting announcements in the future!

 

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African Revival needs YOU!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Holly BucketsIf you’re a passionate, motivated and enthusiastic individual, then African Revival needs YOU! Team AR is looking for volunteers to help us organise and carry out successful bucket collections in local streets, stores and tube stations in October 2015. We will provide you with everything you need, including African Revival t-shirts and buckets. Once we know your availability, we will fit you onto a rota and give you a full introduction to collecting.

Shifts are available from 7.30am-6.30pm for tube stations, 9.30am to 6.30pm for supermarkets, and 10am-4pm for street collections:

  • Tuesday 6th October – Sainsbury’s Kingston
  • Tuesday 6th October – Vauxhall Tube Station
  • Thursday 8th October – Brixton Tube Station
  • Wednesday 14th October – Sloane Square Tube Station
  • Tuesday 20th October – Highbury & Islington Tube Station
  • Monday 26th October – Pimlico Tube Station
  • Monday 26th October – St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction
  • Wednesday 28th October – Richmond High Street
  • Thursday 29th October – Oxford Street
  • Friday 30th October – Hammersmith Tube Station

What does it involve?

  • Attending street/store/tube collections and collecting money from the public to support African Revival’s work
  • Helping recruit other volunteers e.g. family, friends, students
  • Counting and banking cash
  • Supporting the publicity of the collection by liking/sharing posts on social media

Don’t fret if you haven’t done this before as no experience is necessary. However, this role would suit someone who is looking for short term volunteering experience, who enjoys talking to members of the public, has good organisational skills, is happy to speak to other volunteers on the phone, and is good at cash handling. An interest in international development and education would also be a bonus. Most importantly, volunteers should be enthusiastic and organised.

If you are interested in getting involved, email us at info@africanrevival.org

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Koch Goma P7 – Girls’ Washrooms

Posted on by Elaine Miller

As part of this month’s focus on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), today we’d like to tell you more about the water and sanitation situation at Koch Goma P7 Primary School in northern Uganda. Last week we told you about the impact the latrines we built at the school are having.

Washroom blockIn addition to building latrines, we have also constructed a changing and washroom block for the girls at Koch Goma. This block consists of two shower cubicles, a changing room, and a storeroom. Why did we decide to build these facilities for the girls in particular? One of the main reasons girls drop out of school in Uganda is because managing their periods without the appropriate supplies can be a real struggle, particularly at school. Because of this, many girls abstain from school during their monthly cycle.

spare underwear for girlsHowever, girls at Koch Goma are now able to make use of these new WASH facilities as – to bathe, clean their clothes when necessary, and they are even able to keep spare under-wear in the changing room store. The school has also equipped the store with sanitary pads, soap, cloth towels, and smelling oils (which of course, the girls love!). As such, should girls be surprised by a visit from Aunt Flo at school, they have everything at their disposal to retain their dignity and confidence within the school environment.

The washing and changing rooms are private and quiet, and are located far away from the boys’ and teachers’ latrines, to ensure that girls’ privacy is respected. We are delighted to report that the school is now retaining more and more girls each year, thanks in part to these facilities! We’d love to introduce you to two girls who are benefitting from the changing and washing block:

Florence and FionaFlorence is in P7, and is 13 years old. Like all the girls in Koch Goma’s P7 class, Florence boards at the school so that she can concentrate on her studies and pending PLE exams, which will determine whether she can progress to secondary school. Florence is a strong advocate of the washroom because “it helps girls – sometimes they have problems like menstruation, but they can use the washrooms to clean themselves. That is the main reason we use it. So, we can still come to school and not stay in our rooms. When it (your period) happens suddenly and you aren’t aware – you used to go home, but now we just use the washing room and sanitary pads. We clean and wash and go back to class. So now we don’t get behind in our studies.Florence is a dorm captain, which means that she is in charge of monitoring her peers: “When the girls are sick, before they go to the teacher, they come to me first. If someone is menstruating, I open up the store and give the girls the things they need.”

Florence’s good friend is Fiona. Also in P7, Fiona is 15 years old and her kind heart really shines through as she tells us how she looks out for other girls in need: “I like looking after the other girls. We always help each other – like fetching water from the bore-hole or well if someone needs to bathe. Because we all have a time when we need help during menstruation”.

young lady with her booksThrough combating the barriers which can keep girls out of classrooms,  the 19 girls currently in Koch Goma’s P7 class are, more than ever, able to excel academically. Both Florence and Fiona dream of becoming doctors one day, and we don’t want any aspect of their gender to prohibit them and the 651 other girls at Koch Goma from getting the education they deserve! 75% of girls who enrol in P1 will fully complete primary school at Koch Goma, and we hope that with these improved facilities, this statistic will continue to improve each year.  So, as you can see, toilets and showers are well worth talking about!

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Uganda says Goodbye Jade!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Today is a sad one for African Revival, as we say goodbye to our wonderful Fundraising and Communications Volunteer out in Gulu, Jade Beakhouse.

Jade in GuluJade joined us in February, after completing a Masters Degree in Humanitarian Studies at the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine and having completed her dissertation research in Chad, where she grew up. From the minute she arrived in Gulu, she has been an absolute inspiration to all she’s worked with, with her amazing work ethic, infectious enthusiasm and all-round positivity!

Jade getting paintedShe has filled her time in Uganda undertaking numerous field visits out to our partner schools, interviewing students, parents, teachers and many more members of communities we work with, writing brilliant reports and updates, and generally providing the whole AR team with top-notch stories and photos from our work in the field. Not only has she been a brilliant volunteer, she has also been a brilliant friend to fellow volunteer Alex, and to the whole Uganda team who welcomed her so warmly in Gulu.

Nicola and JadeJade will be sorely missed, both by the team in Gulu, and the team in the UK (especially her bouncy e-mails, constant culinary delights and her fantastic photographs), but we also have some good news – from the 18th August, Jade will be continuing her position with us in our Kalomo office in Zambia until early October! We’d like to thank Jade for her fantastic contribution to AR from Uganda, and cannot wait to see her work from Kalomo over the coming months.

Keep an eye on our news page and social media for all Jade’s latest content from the field :) Here are some top moments from Jade’s time in Gulu:

Car Selfie - Abim

interviewing_students

Jade and Jon crazy dancing

Jade at Anaka for International Day of the African Child

The team with the hoe!

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Commissioning of Juba Road Teacher House!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

As the local saying goes, teachers are the pillars of tomorrow’s Uganda; we are in full agreement with this proverb, which is why we constructed a twin teacher house at Juba Road Primary School in northern Uganda, located just 30km from the South Sudanese border.

completed houseOver the past few months, our Construction Co-ordinator Vincent has diligently visited the work-site every single Wednesday to check up on the progress of the building, and we are happy to report that all the work-men completed the house in good health with no injuries! As you can see, all their hard work has paid off, and we were delighted to commission this fantastic twin house on Thursday 6th August 2015.

Fall the visitors!or the occasion, we were joined by district officials including the District Education Officer for Amuru, the PTA, the school management committee, the school’s teachers, pupils, and the local community to hand-over the building, cut the ceremonial ribbon, unveil the plaque and have a good look around the completed house before enjoying refreshments together to mark this important moment for the school. At the event, the school’s Head Teacher Fred O’Kot told us: “on behalf of the community, you should know that we really appreciate all your assistance which is helping us develop the school. We want to protect everything you have done at the school and not abuse (any of the resources) you have provided. We are so thankful for your help despite not being located too close to your offices”.  

The teachers who will be moving in the new twin house are Millie-Grace, the Senior Woman Teacher and Richard, the Deputy Head Teacher, who travels a considerable distance to the school every day. Mr O’Kot, chose these teachers because Millie-Grace’s role is: “paramount – and living on the premises will enable her to attend to the girl children more fully”.

Milie-Grace outside her new home!We caught up with Millie-Grace during the commissioning and she told us: “I am really happy about the house! I think I am even going to move in straight after the commissioning; my children are also very excited, and they like the house a lot. The house will really help me in my job. Although the girls here are doing well, it is nice for them to know that I am here now so they can come and see me because we have power in the house, so I won’t need to spend so much time away from school to do things like charging my phone in the village.” We are so pleased to hear that the house has freed up Millie-Grace’s time to be more available to her students!

As part of African Revival’s memo of understanding with Juba Road Primary School, the school has also established a maintenance committee who will be responsible for looking after the building, so that it stays in tip top condition for many years, and can benefit as many teachers as possible. pupils with the plaqueAs the building belongs to the school, we were keen to encourage the local community to take ownership of the building. The maintenance team of five includes teachers and parents who are eager to maintain the school’s facilities so that children can learn in a clean, functioning, and welcoming environment. The committee have taken this role seriously, and have already planted seedlings around the school, and are planning to spruce up the classrooms by painting them!

Lovely smily boy

As our Country Director for Uganda, Peter, mentioned during the commissioning, it really is worth celebrating mile-stone moments in schools, because new facilities like these are helping to break down barriers between pupils and teachers, which contributes towards making learning a more enjoyable, supportive and, dare we say it, fun experience. The pupils at Juba Road Primary School wear bright blue school shirts, and our hope is that with the dedicated support of their teachers, their futures will be as bright as their uniforms!

We hope Richard and Millie-Grace settle in well to their new homes, and we look forward to hopefully partnering with Juba Road Primary School again in the future!

 

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