Our Current Programmes
Click on the links below to find out more about our current programmes.
Act4Africa aims to provide gender equality and health education, skills training and leadership opportunities to enable vulnerable girls to escape poverty.
Through this over-arching, cross-cutting, programme agenda, we are committed to the aims and objectives of the global Girl Effect movement, and seek to address gender inequality in everything that we do.
Adolescent girls in East and Southern Africa experience poverty through gender relations that leave them powerless and vulnerable. This forces them into lives of low-paid work, early marriage, unwanted pregnancy and sexual and domestic violence. This gender injustice denies these girls their human rights and prevents the nation from benefiting from the invaluable economic and social contribution that young women can bring.
Applying the Girl Effect agenda across our projects releases the untapped potential of adolescent girls through the provision of comprehensive training, education and leadership opportunities. We work on a Train the Trainer model and when these young women have received training, we call them our ‘Peer Educators’ and they’re then mobilised to share the positive messages they’ve learnt to others in their peer group, families and wider community. The girls grow in stature, know their rights, and begin to exercise positive leadership roles that bring positive change not only to their lives, but the lives of people around them. This is the Girl Effect.
GRAINS FOR GROWTH
Location: Mayuge, Uganda
Dates: 2019 (on going)
Supported by the Souter Trust
Grains for Growth will provide food security for 35 poverty-stricken communities in Mayuge District, Eastern Uganda. In sub Saharan Africa, approximately 30% of all crops are lost due to poor harvesting and inadequate storage facilities.
Act4Africa Uganda, working with World Food Programme (WFP) approved trainers, delivers high quality training for effective crop storage for these communities as well as providing airtight storage containers. Each WFP approved container stores more than 1000 meals in a safe, secure, insect and rodent free environment. In these robust, containers, food spoilage, including fungal contamination, is reduced to a minimum. This increases future availability of food when crops are scarce and market prices high. Containers are expected to last 20 years and resulting crop losses are reduced from 30% to approximately zero.
WFP experience has shown that training in good harvesting, correct handling and storage of dry crops can deliver skills which are embedded for life. By using Act4Africa’s existing network of Community Mentors, embedded in our Health, Empowerment and Livelihood (HEAL) groups, together with our “train the trainer” approach, Grains for Growth will improve food security and relieve poverty for 35 Mayuge communities.
HEAL (Health, Empowerment and Livelihoods)
Dates: 2014 – present
Initial project supported by: Department for International Development (DfID) (2014-2017)
In April 2014 we launched Act4Africa’s innovative HEAL programme in Mayuge District, Uganda. HEAL stands for Health, Empowerment and Livelihoods. Initially a 3 year project (2014-2017), HEAL Mayuge was funded by UKaid, as part of DfID’s Global Poverty Action Fund. We worked in partnership with Five Talents on the initial project creating improved life-chances and livelihoods for 3000 out-of-school adolescent girls and young women in Mayuge District. The project was backed up by the provision of HIV services for a further 6000 men and women in their communities.
Act4Africa’s HEAL programme has since been rolled out in Western Uganda and Malawi. The programme provides life skills, financial literacy and business enterprise skills to disadvantaged women and girls in rural African communities. HEAL combines HIV prevention training, testing and counselling with savings and business enterprise coaching, helping young women to secure access to higher earnings. Higher earnings means more independence, which in turn has been proven to have a direct positive impact on health outcomes.
HEAL provides women with skills to set up and run their own or cooperative group businesses and a means to regularly save with others, safely and securely. They are also able to take out loans for business development or expansion. Women gain economic independence and gain increased respect as a result. They become empowered to influence decisions in their homes and gain increased status in their communities.
HEAL supports beneficiaries by providing basic finance and business training and helping to establish structured savings groups with formal constitutions and bank accounts. The Act4Africa team visit the groups regularly to provide on-going support as women set up and run their own businesses (e.g. by helping to identify potential markets) and regularly reinforce the benefits of saving, even the smallest amounts of money, for longer term gain.
Many women have developed and grown thriving businesses from scratch as a result of the programme. For example, one of the groups started a successful brick making business, employing two male workers, enabling them to save 1million Uganda shillings. As the successful HEAL groups expand their businesses there is also a positive impact on suppliers of local raw materials. Women in the savings groups are also able to share their knowledge with other community members, encouraging them to save and set up their own businesses, however small. This then impacts the economic growth of the community as a whole.
The long term sustainability of the HEAL programme is provided through a co-operative goat breeding programme at Kathy’s Centre. Goat kids are allocated to selected groups, providing members with a shared asset which provides an income stream, any profit from which could be shared or used enhance savings.
The economic impact of the HEAL projects have been significant for many of the beneficiaries. Participation in the project has demonstrably changed the womens’ mind-set about savings and rebuilt trust in the process. Livestock ownership, with access to the goat breeding programme, has raised the profile of the women and this, together with training in animal husbandry has increased their status in the community. The impact of basic book keeping training with a track record of saving into a bank account has also enabled the beneficiaries to start up enterprises, control costs and profitability and demonstrate credibility to access government enterprise funding schemes.
To date our HEAL programme has provided Health, Empowerment And Livelihoods to almost 9 thousand beneficiaries in Mayuge, South Eastern Uganda alone.
Through the HEAL project, 1,553 women in Mayuge gained economic independence and remain active members of HEAL Savings Groups.
1,203 business enterprises have been set up by women and girls as part of the HEAL project in Uganda.
With thanks to Soroptimist International Manchester, our HEAL ‘light’ project continued in Malawi until 2017 and 78 enterprises were set up by young women there.
With thanks to a Global Giving Community Development Grant a HEAL programme for adolescent mothers helped many vulnerable young girls in Kasese, Western Uganda, gain access to an independent income to sustain them and their young families.
GROW A GIRL
Dates: 2014 – to present
Supported by: Supporter donations
Act4Africa’s Grow a Girl programme developed as a response to requests from our teams in the field and from our supporters to provide individual teenage Peer Educators with ongoing support to access formal education. This programme is designed to help girls remain in education, maximize their opportunities and to realize the ambitions they’ve identified as part of their Peer Educator training. Grow A Girl secures the futures of individual young women, investing in their ability to create positive change for their community, both now and for future generations.
Grow A Girl is supported entirely by individual donations. You can sponsor a girl who will be provided with the essential support she needs to help her continue with her education. This includes the provision of a refillable back-pack, equipped with educational supplies, pencils, notebooks, and crucially, sanitary protection to afford her the dignity she needs to attend school that one week in the month that many of her peers are forced to remain at home. Act4Africa has mobilised well over 300 trained Peer Educators across our areas of operation – bright, hopeful young women who have the potential to drive great change in their communities. Without support, their chances are drastically reduced. Just £25 per month from you can help them succeed. Find out more HERE.
Dates: 2017 – to present
Kathy’s Fund was set up in August 2014 in memory of our late co-founder Kathy Smedley. Three years later, in September 2017, we officially opened our first community, health and education facility, Kathy’s Centre. The centre – based in Uganda – aims to address all the issues that mattered most to Kathy under one roof, a wonderful way in which we found to celebrate her life.
Kathy’s Kindergarten first opened in February 2018. It provides an early year’s education to the children of Mayuge – aged 3-6 – including AIDs orphans and children of adolescent mothers. With a play-based approach to early years learning, the young children can explore, learn and consolidate their discoveries through play. The kindergarten provides a formal education that is developmentally appropriate for their age. The aim is to increase the years of education these children receive, which gives them better economic prospects, allowing them to escape the mother-infant poverty cycle and have the chance of a brighter future. For themselves and their own future children.
The Youth Club in Kathy’s Centre, aims to engage with out-of-school girls and young women in Mayuge, providing them with life skills, health education and social/communication skills which allow them to avoid health problems and obtain meaningful employment. They also learn vocational and enterprise skills to enable them to access an independent income.
Kathy’s Centre provides a permanent base for the HIV & STI testing and counselling services of Act4Africa, increasing knowledge of HIV & STIs, improving health and literally saving lives.
Find out more about activities at Kathy’s Centre including model farming and brickmaking HERE.