Rehabilitating & meaningfully employing victims of domestic violence, exploitation & marginalization in Uganda

Rehabilitating & meaningfully employing victims of domestic violence, exploitation & marginalization in Uganda

Uganda
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Many people are victimised worldwide especially in third world nations like Uganda.Some give up with life in general&working in particular. We turn despised persons who are victims of violence, exploitatin Ugandaon & marginalization into community vital service providers by not only rehabilitating but occupying them in meaningful employment. We establish, guide and sustainably support teams and individuals; thereby institutionally, structurally, resourcefully and legally enabling them to offer services that empower and improve their lives and those of their communities and environments. We essentially turn social human rubish into sellable gold; and challenge victimization by the power of non violent ecconomic psychology.Those owning nothing become owners of businesses and enterprenuers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Violence and marginalization are a world menace (UN, 1992; WHO, 2002; Council of Europe, 2002; Garcia-Moreno, 2005; Walby & Allen, 2004). In Uganda, over 68% of couples experience or report it (DHS, 2006, Uganda Law Reform Commission, 2007); over 8000 youths are forcefully married or raped annually (APPCAN, 2009). Uganda is a Sub-Saharan country with a high level of precipitation. With over 31 million people, increasing at 3.3% (UN data, 2008), its post-colonial history is characterized by civil conflicts and armed rebellions. While some parts enjoyed relative peace, north and north-eastern suffered conflicts, violence and marginalization disproportionately. In individual families and communities, violence and marginalization of especially women and youths is widespread. Consequently, many have lead and still lead miserable lives. Our education prepares children for white-collar jobs at the expense of community realities. Drop-outs have survival dilemmas. Technical institutes take few who manage completing required levels. African Community Team Support (ACTS) has mobilized some of them in teams and supported them to determine their destinies and those of their environments.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Most efforts tackling violence, marginalization and exploitation address effects at the expense of causes. The judicial system may punish offenders as health institutions treat the physical and medical effects on victims. NGOs such as APPCAN advocate for and psychosocially rehabilitate victims. Nothing is done about causes like unfair attitudes and low socioeconomic statuses of victims, who are always left as vulnerable as before. Even punished offenders (ex-prisoners) find them still helpless. Yet there exist opportunities to transform their helplessness within their own communities. Uniquely, I envision addressing both effects and causes. I rehabilitate and empower victims by turning them into service providers, business partners and indirectly paid by communities themselves. This gives a psychosocial vaccine against violence and victims’ vulnerability through peaceful changes in socio-economic power relations and indirectly incapacitating unfair cultural beliefs.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Identify, defend and counsel victimized community members, selecting some for further training and possible engagements/employment in teams; Facilitate referrals of those with peculiar psychosocial, health and legal cases to relevant institutions or other support systems; Organize comprehensive trainings for selected beneficiaries to gain practical skills (nursery teaching, child care, hair dressing and farm management) to work in teams; Mobilize community members to support the established integrated community centers (integrated with clinics, pre-primary schools and farm stores); Organize trained individuals into teams and register them into ACTS’ structures to operate as affiliates in the established centers; capacity build teams on institutional, structural and operational frameworks; Publicize and/or market teams’ services in the media, website or otherwise; Create linkages and collaborations for teams to learn from each other and/or others.
About You
Organization:
African Community Team Support
About You
First Name

Nathan

Last Name

Muwereza

Twitter
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

African Community Team Support

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

As an early victim, now turned a psychologist and anticorruption activist, Nathan Muwereza is troubled by the misery of victims of violence, marginalization and exploitation. In 2005, as a locally elected political leader, he individually supported and accommodated some in his house. Because he lacked enough income to sustain them, he hurtfully sent them to their homes. ‘Will I ever get a lasting vent to my suffering’, lamented one of them as she left. This moment exposed gaps in Nathan’s individualized charitable efforts. He wished they had acquired employable skills or had projects to occupy them. Unable to end their misery or get employment to sustain them, he saw how he lacked sustainability. The corrupt and exploitative institutional leaders who made him jobless; the lack of economic power that limits his inherent charity & activism; and the victims’ powerlessness to face abusive partners, corrupt decisions or repressive cultures all pushed him to ACT in this long term venture with hope.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

We have so far established and are supporting 3 grassroots teams. Starting with the identification of a community need for foundational child education (which government doesn’t provide); we informally initiated a village community-led nursery school. We recruited and inducted some school drop out youths to handle its daily operations as a team. The parents and community support them by providing some school necessities. Five of them, who were psychosocial misfits are now productive carers and teachers of over 150 (4-10 year olds) under our guidance. We acquired a sewing machine and four computers to help train and/or occupy restored victims; and a 10 of them are being trained. The above school and its management is now an integral team of ACTS. One of ACTS’ guarantees also operates a clinic which is hopefully expanding to help occupy some of the restored victims. However, victims need full psychosocial rehabilitation and skills acquisition before such responsible engagements. We measure our success by looking at our set objectives (how many persons we have defended, rehabilitated and occupied; how many community centers we have initiated and supported; what services restored victims are offering and to how many people). Besides, we also consider the qualitative aspects of the life the victims lead compared to that before we existed as an organization.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101-1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

After fully establishing institutional support systems within ACTS in this year, meetings with collaborating local groups in more locations shall be held. We will identify more direct beneficiaries and support the establishment of more centers. We will defend and periodically counsel victims of injustice such as domestic violence, defilement and divorce, as well as those devastated by other social ills. A network of individuals in churches, police and local councils shall be requested to refer cases in each of the selected locations to facilitate the identification process. Thus, more direct beneficiaries shall be enrolled into the project. In 3 years, more 3 centers will be operating; offering child education and care to communities; and with personnel whose rights were earlier violated.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Ugandans have developed a begging culture resulting from prolonged NGOs work, characterized by handouts. Many cannot think creatively to live independently especially in the face of marginalization and exploitation. Changing this begging mentality among direct beneficiaries and communities is hard. We are proactively sensitizing team members and grass root groups. Using ourselves as live examples, we tell them our stories of how we struggled to attain education. I was personally orphaned by peasant parents at age 8 before but worked hard in people’s fields and paid my fees. Many in my own village community agree because they saw me struggle through such life. This has encouraged them to join my efforts enthusiastically.
Prejudices and attitudes that limit women empowerment exist. Men treat their wives as properties. Independent salaries earned by wives are treated as men’s earnings since women are properties. We are tackling this by our example. Many now seek our counseling on the same because they see us very happy and progressing well.
Corruption is yet another problem that makes work a huddle because officers want bribes. We have stuck to ethical principles and this has earned me a name, so much so that when I go to any office, I am served with respect.
Members’ small incomes make us unable to employ staff to implement our plans or even run the organization as envisioned. This is worsened by the fact that most funders want established agencies to extend their financial support. We use volunteers in this regard.
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Tell us about your partnerships

Our major partnerships are those we have with community teams and the local leaderships in the catchment areas. Such groups include Bulumela Community Farmers Association, Christian Community Foundation, WED Uganda and the Town Eye Clinic. We also continuously dialogue with friends in Europe, though at individual level. Of course, we also partner with government agencies such as the local councils, education, judiciary and health institutions. However, there are no formal partnership agreements with them per se. We only inform them of our interventions and seek their moral involvement and authentication of our existence therein.
Grassroot teams are initially helping us to occupy those we rudimentarily counselled and restored to lead meaningful lives. They are actually our pilot project centers. When we begin full training programs, we will initiate similar teams (of victims) to work as entities. The local councils provide us with legal audience after we contact them to link up with community members(without such permission, we may have problems resolving any conflicts that may arise due to our interventions say by husbands whose wives may be empowered to challenge their cruelty). The same is for police and judicial personnel. The education sector provides us with information on numbers of drop outs and other information relating to education needs and the health are important in attending to health needs of rehabilitation.

Explain your selections

Women and youths who have been domestically bartered or violated, defiled, divorced or school dropped outs due to pregnancy or academic incompetence are the basic direct beneficiaries. Women are particularly targeted because many of them have been bartered but kept quiet either due to cultural dynamics (taking them as properties) or due to the laxity of the justice system and corruption. Many don’t have meaningful occupations, neither do they own or have easy access to land to practice peasantry (the major source of livelihood in the area). They are mainly at the mercy of men in as far as their livelihoods and rights are concerned. Similarly, many youths have been defiled; others have been unfairly dropped out of school because of early pregnancy or poor academic performance. Yet those who fail complicated subjects at high school can still be good store keepers, child carers and nursery teachers.
Female beneficiaries are proportionately higher because of their high vulnerability to these injustices. 140 females thus benefit from the project as basic direct beneficiaries and the remaining 40 are males. Females include those already characterised above. Males comprise more of young school drop outs and fewer of divorcees or devastated men. Out of the total 180 basic direct beneficiaries above, 100 are selected and equipped to work in communities as advanced direct beneficiaries.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

In 3 years, more 3 centers will be operating; offering child education and care to communities; and with personnel whose rights were earlier violated. We will recruit more beneficiaries and employ them into our established centers and business establishments such as saloons, food joints and farm or drug stores. Other shall be given seed money to start working as independent entrepreneurs under our guidance and institutional frameworks. Each restored and employed victim will make an agreed contribution to the programs so that others can also be support and the multiplier effect will apply. In this way, we will expand our organization into a conglomeration of teams carrying out various business and charity activities, thereby making us a hybrid organization in Uganda and beyond.

Challenges
Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of skills/training

SECONDARY

Inadequate transparency

TERTIARY

Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

After rehabilitating victims psychosocially, we impart them with skills in areas like child care and nursery teaching, hair dressing, food preparation and simple business skills. There will be no skills dilemma among victims. We then transparently select those we can offer work in our small business as partners or as employees. We sensitize all beneficiaries and catchment communities to realize the need for equity and fairness regardless of sex. Seeing the valuable services being offered by formerly despised persons will psychologically challenge the traditional prejudices and cultures. This is why women are given priority since cultures disportionately disfavors them in employment terms

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

SECONDARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

TERTIARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

We are currently supporting and training victims and children through small seed funding and small scholarship respectively. We are to establish more centres and initiate more small businesses to occupy those completing the trainings. Such business will include saloons, restuarants, farm products stores and drug shops. We are operating only in the districts sorrounding Mt. Elgon but will be expanding to cover northern Uganda and indeed the whole Uganda.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Government leaders provide us with opportunities to meet masses. They help in mobilizing communities for action. THey thus, accord us with required audiences. Technology providers are in form of internet and computers. It was actually due to internet and computers that I am able to make this application. NGOs help in interlinking us to others in the field of charity work. Information on how they are operating help us understand what is missing. For profit companies help in providing us with services and goods such as banking and office supplies respectively. It is important to note here however that all the collaborations described here are not formal. We only benefit from them by default.

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