A brief about RGCM Uganda
Rural Girl Child Mentorship Uganda (RGCM Uganda), a project under a grassroots NGO– Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation (PCE-Foundation), is a one on one girl-to-mentor project aimed at empowering Ugandan girls through financial assistance for continued education, shared knowledge and wisdom, and creative thinking. Each rural Ugandan girl is connected to a mentor who helps nurture their vision for a brighter future.
PCE-Foundation is a national grassroots Not for Profit Organization operating under the legal instruments governing NGOs in Uganda. It is registered under REG NO: S.5914/9510, currently operating in Eastern Uganda, mainly in the Tororo and Buteleja districts.
We would like to recognize the achievements of some of the girls who surprisingly excelled beyond our expectations. They are;
Senior one was Abbo Martha of New Horizon Secondary and Vocational School, Ritu. She was the overall winner of all, classes and schools, scored distinctions in science subjects. Awor Hilda from Muyenga High school, ranked second.
Senior two was Akoth Cissy of Daban Senior Secondary School. The second highest ranked was Akello Jane Doreen of Muyenga High School.
Senior three was Achola Anna of Muyenga High School.
Senior Four was Alowo Catherine of Daban Senior Secondary School, Nyaburu Nantalie of Muyenga High School, ranked second.
Senior Five was Athieno Irene of Muyenga High School.
The girls are enjoying their holidays as they help their families with work in and around their homes. Thanks to the efforts of their parents/guardians, they are also receiving additional tutoring through the school break to ensure they are ready for the start of the new term.
Next term begins on May 13, 2012 and ends in August 14, 2012.
RGCM Uganda Achievements:
In November 2011, the mentorship program was initially established with seven girls who were paired with mentors ready to provide financial assistance, guidance, and emotional support. Word spread quickly, and within 45 days, an additional 33 girls had been matched with mentors from around the world. These 40 girls have just finished their first term at boarding school and are currently back home with their parents/guardians for the holidays.
Thanks to social networking and the excellent communication between the mentors and the RGCM Uganda personnel, the program is now globally recognized. Mentors from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom have spread the word about RGCM Uganda in their own communities, schools, and workplaces.
RGCM Uganda is also becoming increasingly well known in the rural communities. A few months ago, we only had a handful of girls who were aware of the possibility of mentorship and able to take advantage of the opportunity. Today over 400 girls have already preregistered for next year’s intake.
Even so early in the program, we are seeing the impact on communities and families. For example, one girl’s father had abandoned his family of 9 for a widow in the nearby Koi village. After realizing that his daughter had been selected for this project and was already in school, he decided to return back home. This is the same case with another girl’s father who had left her mother with 6 children. He is slowly returning back home, sends support to the family, something he had neglected and abandoned for the past 4 years.
Cases of child labor in the community at large, where children are forced to do household work and gardening in the course of the term instead of going to school, are also being reduced. Parents and guardians are struggling hard to keep their girl children in school, as well as providing them with the necessary school requirements, in the hope that they too can benefit from the mentorship project in the near future.
Through sensitization, the community is beginning to realize the importance of education as an essential tool for rural community development. Families are working so hard, in unity, to support the girls’ education. To this effect, this holiday (April20 – May 13, 2012) parents managed to raise sufficient funds to employ a team of 6 teachers to coach the girls in Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The girls are confident that through this tutoring, they have gained a better knowledge of these subjects. Our newly established Community Development Activist Team is assisting in this endeavor.
Another exciting initiative is our Mangoes and Oranges Rural (MOR) project. This is a two-pronged program. First, we are designing a model garden which will be in Amor village, Kisoko sub-county. This will serve as a demonstration and experimental garden where different, non-traditional crops can be tried. We are also assisting our girl students in establishing small mango and orange trees in their own family plots. By engaging them in viable economic ventures of this type, it is possible to improve household food supplies, generate income, promote the production of nontraditional cash crops, and incorporate environmental conservation methods to combat climate change.
Many thanks to those who specifically supported the Mangoes and Oranges Rural (MOR) project, especially Julie K. Thompson and her office colleague; Nina Hahn, Ruth Beedle and Shelby Young.
We would like to acknowledge the generosity and extra financial support we got from non- mentors such as Lindsey Young, Rebecca Howard, Shelby Young, and Vicky Haining [before she became a mentor]. Lisa Blackwood, Akello Mary’s mentor, also sent additional funds that helped us meet extra costs. This money has been essential in paying for things not covered by the school fees, such as transportation and medical expenses. Thank you so much everyone!
We’d also like to recognize one of our mentors, Gisela Raabe who won us 1900 Euros for medical checkups for 35 girls after connecting RGCM Uganda with AWD Foundation in Germany. We shall complete the process during the first week of the second term as it was too expensive to transport and accommodate the girls in Kampala during holidays. So thank you, Gisela! If anyone has a connection with organizations that might offer similar funding opportunities, we would appreciate your support.
Our current challenges are outlined in the mentor correspondence, for more information about the challenges we face and how you can assist, please contact Beatrice directly.
Future plans/Long term goals:
Our future plans include:
- Campaigns to increase awareness in schools and communities of the importance of education to support community development. [On hold at present due to lack of funding available]
- Teacher training. This will enhance instructors’ capabilities to educate their students and improve academic performance. Special emphasis will be given to the importance of ensuring that the education of girl children is equally addressed.
- Promoting community outreach, where youths, parents/guardians are taken for tours so that they are exposed to life beyond their communities [99% of these parents/guardians and their children have never been to a major city.]
- Acquiring dedicated transportation. Hiring a vehicle to transport students and teams is very expensive, especially at a time when we don’t have dependable sources of funds to cover such expenses.
- Utilize opportunities offered through education and teamwork to promote food security and income generating activities.
We welcome any suggestions, from mentors or supporters of this cause, of ways to raise additional funds to achieve RGCM-Uganda’s future goals.