Nwoya District in the Gulu Region of Uganda is without power, communities are very spread out, and the roads are full of potholes. But there is hope.
Geneva Global, a global philanthropic development firm, is introducing the successful Speed School program that is currently operating in Ethiopia and Western Africa into this region in Uganda that has a large concentration of refugees and a high percentage of children not in school. To address this critical issue, the Speed School initiative provides dropouts and non-entrant children with an accelerated learning program to complete their primary cycle of education. Offering a comprehensive approach to Africa’s out-of-school challenge, the Speed School initiative encompasses pedagogical innovations, economic empowerment, early childhood development and school readiness for preschoolers, and teacher training in mainstream schools.
Through a new partnership agreement, Village Enterprise will be implementing the economic development component of the Speed School model. We will work alongside partners such as ZOA, CHARFORD, and African Revival in the in the sub-counties of Alero, Koch Goma, Koch Lii, Lungulu and Anaka. The new schools will be introduced in communities within walking distance of government primary schools (approximately 2.5 kilometers).
The goal of Village Enterprise’s intervention will be to help parents and caretakers create a sustainable income and savings stream to support their children’s education. Village Enterprise will work with 30 parents group from the vulnerable households to transforming their Self Help Groups (SHGs) into Business Savings Groups.
This is the first time Geneva Global has outsourced the economic development aspect of its Speed Schools, and will be used as an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of working with a partner focused on the self-help savings element. Effectiveness of the partnership will be assessed on caretakers’ ability to continue to pay for school fees beyond graduation from the program.
Since April, Village Enterprise has successfully hired and trained 10 Business Mentors and officially launched operations across five sub-counties in the Nwoya District of Uganda. Training has been completed on our savings curriculum and most groups have already started saving. In Nwoya town today, there are noticeable signs of power coming and hope continues to flourish!
Thanks to our authors:
Ellen Metzger is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation.
Steven Onekalit recently joined the Village Enterprise team as a Project Manager with over 7 years of experience in community development, project implementation and programs. Most recently, he served as a Livelihood Officer for Community Development Initiatives in the districts of Gulu, Amoru and Nwoya in Uganda.