1) Bikasave-VSLA modeling for improved HH Incomes
The Bikasave [VSLA Modeling] is a significant and impactful program that was initiated by Wilmat Development Foundation and being piloted in Kayunga and Mayuge districts, Eastern Uganda, since 2018. Through the program, the foundation has introduced Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) to empower the community, particularly women, young positive women, and youth to save and invest jointly, leading to transformative changes within the communities served. Here’s a closer look at the program’s implementation and its achievements:
- Bikasave/VSLA Establishment: WDF introduced the concept of VSLAs to the communities in Mayuge, Kasese and Kayunga district after engaging them through farmer groups on established Demo Farms. Members pool their savings, access small loans, and invest collectively in income-generating activities.
- Community Engagement: The foundation actively involved the community members in the process of setting up and managing the VSLAs, ensuring ownership and sustainability of the initiative.
- Capacity-Building: Training and capacity-building sessions were conducted to educate VSLA members about the principles of saving, loan repayment, and investment decision-making.
- Community-Led Approach: The program was implemented using a community-led VSLA methodology, allowing the community members to take the lead in managing their savings and investments.
- Sustained Operations: An impressive 87% of the 55 initiated VSLA groups in Mayuge, 5 in Kasese and 5 in Kayunga districts continue to operate, indicating the program’s success and the commitment of the community members.
- Economic Empowerment: Women and youth (2,285 savers) in Mayuge, Kasese and Kayunga districts have taken the lead in starting their own small-scale businesses and venturing into farming, leading to increased income and economic independence.
- Education Support: The program has facilitated 50 women in sending their children to school, ensuring access to education and improved opportunities for future generations.
- Housing Improvement: 10 (Ten) VSLA members mostly women have been able to build their own houses, demonstrating how joint savings and investment can lead to improved living conditions and asset-building at the grassroots level.
- Coping with Emergencies: By mobilizing local savings, 12 VSLA groups in Mayuge have developed a safety net to cope with emergencies and manage household cash-flow effectively through Parish Development Model cash.
- Social Networks and Trust: The Bikasave/VSLAs have enabled immediate community banking solutions to rural communities enabling members to develop a saving culture and access to revolving microcredits (given from the savings) in order to meet quick domestic needs and investments in agriculture and small businesses.
- Savings Culture penetration: Through the Bikasave methodology, 55 savings have increased and currently owning total saving portfolio worth Ush 325,000,000 an average of 142,232 per saver.
2) Tulime: Empowering Smallholder Farmers
The Tulime [Farmer-Field Schools] is a vital program implemented by Wilmat Development Foundation in the rural communities of Uganda, recognizing the significance of the agro-based economy in the country. The program addresses challenges faced by farming communities, such as climate change, malnutrition, food insecurity, and poverty, and aims to enhance sustainability and build resilient communities. Click to read more on the program overview and its achievements to date: –
Focus on Diverse Activities: The Tulime program involves community mobilization and engagement in various income-generating activities, including vegetable growing, poultry farming, and mushroom growing, among others. These activities offer opportunities for economic growth and diversification within farming communities.
Training and Capacity-Building: We provide Climate Smart Agricultural based training and capacity-building sessions to farmers, Pre and post harvest handling, empowering them with the knowledge and skills needed for successful and sustainable agricultural practices.
Community Participation: The program actively involves the community in decision-making and implementation, ensuring that the beneficiaries take ownership and actively participate in the initiative.
Market Linkage: We grow and mentor our farmers to produce safe and healthy food that consumers enjoy by linking them directly to potential buyers in high paying markets for their fresh high-quality produce.
- Impact on Beneficiaries: Over 4,800 beneficiaries have been impacted by the Tulime/Farm2Earn program, indicating its reach and significance in improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers in rural Uganda.
- Poverty Reduction: As smallholder farmers become economically empowered, there is a potential reduction in poverty levels in the targeted communities at household level with immediate access to markets for their produce through the Bikasave platform.
- Food Security: Through the Tulime program, 4,800 smallholder farmers in the communities of Kasese, Mayuge, Kayunga, and Kamuli have increased their focus on agriculture contributes to food security, addressing issues of malnutrition and food insecurity in farming communities.
- Economic Upliftment: The program has led to the economic upliftment of individuals, particularly women and youth, through income generation from agricultural activities. We have enabled set up of 2 demonstration farms in Mayuge and Kasese, 10 poultry farms, 5 mushroom demonstration farms in Imanyiro sub-county, Mayuge, and 250 household backyard gardens and more.
- Resilience Building: By promoting sustainable farming practices and resilience-building techniques, the program has enabled creation of 45 farmer field schools for smallholder farmers to cope with the challenges posed by climate change, poor harvest handling and other factors.
3) Twogere: Uniting Communities against GBV/VE
The Twogere: Uniting Communities against Gender Based Violence and Violent Extremism is a critical project implemented by Wilmat Development Foundation, with a focus on addressing Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and violent extremism by promoting community active participation and prevention mechanisms. The project aims to empower youth, especially young women and girls, to actively participate in GBV prevention processes and advocate for their rights and welfare. Here’s an overview of the project and its impact:
- Safe space creation: Through the “Twogere” program, WDF establishes safe spaces (GBV Prevention Forum) for survivors of gender based violence, young positive women and men, people affected by conflicts, natural calamities like floods, mud slides and displaced persons/refugees. We engage participants through our creative sessions of understanding GBV prevention, mitigation of early and forced marriages, teenage pregnancies, cyber crime, human rights, civic education and their impact on household development and community progress.
- Addressing Adolescent Challenges: Under this program, WDF engages communities through the G2G (Girl2Girl) initiative aim that is implemented through our 3R Approach of Rescue, Restore and Rehabilitate young teen mothers and adolescents in selected semi-urban and rural communities by providing life skills training and advocacy support.
- Youth4Investment: Through the “Twogere“ program, WDF engages young positive women, youth and women in universities, schools, and communities in promotion of knowledge alignment towards job creation, vocational skilling, and entrepreneurship.
- Countering Violent Extremism: We engage communities in addressing community socio-economic vulnerability of women and youth through creation of peacebuilding initiatives, promotion and adoption of alternative income generating venture.
- GBV Prevention Mechanism: Through the “Twogere” program, WDF has so far conducted 2 (Two) research publications on GBV status of sampled regions in 2020 and so far has successfully completed 2 interactive forums on GBV prevention, 25 community dialogues on GBV prevention, rescued 15 pregnant and sexually abused girls, and 10 mitigation sessions on Teenage pregnancies and early child forced marriages in Eastern Uganda and Western Uganda.
- Skills Training for Youth and AGYW: WDF has equipped at least 3,000 young positive women, youth and AGYW with a diverse range of skills, including business, life skills, and various vocational skills such as bakery, food value addition, seed variety multiplication, briquettes making, liquid/bar soap production, reusable pads, beading, and more.
- Menstrual Hygiene Management: WDF has conducted 35 sessions on menstrual hygiene management with 2195 girls and 869 boys. In addition, these have been trained on how to make reusable pads as a way to boost the confidence of Adolescent girls and young women in managing their menstrual needs.
- Formation of School Clubs: WDF has formed at least 30 with girls and boys in schools and 10 peace building groups in communities as a strategic approach for knowledge and skills sharing to the wider group in communities.
4) Right2Grow Program
The Right2Grow Program is a significant initiative funded by the Dutch government through The Hunger Project Uganda as the Lead partner. WDF is glad to be among the grassroot CBO partner Sub-Grantees of the Hunger Project Uganda and the MCLD Uganda Chapter implementing in the districts of Mayuge and Bugweri in Eastern Uganda to mobilize grassroot communities with a special focus on women, breastfeeding women, infant young fathers and other marginalized groups in amplifying their involvement in local government budgetary processes, demand for service delivery, strengthen community advocacy efforts, collecting data and sharing their experiences related to food security, nutrition, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in “Getting to zero undernutrition and zero people without access to basic WASH services” and holding key stakeholders accountable and reliable in delivering essential services in communities.
- Engaging Community Members: Through the R2G program, WDF actively engages community members especially AGYW, young positive women, mothers, breastfeeding women, young fathers, PWDS, marginalized groups, CSOs, and local leaders in various activities to capacitate them in articulating their needs and advocating for their rights and adoption of key Food security, Nutrition and WASH practices.
- Community Storytelling and Data collection: We engage communities through community-driven data collection and storytelling efforts, where communities are at the front of sharing their experiences, challenges, aspirations and identify areas of improvement related to Food security, nutrition and WASH services.
- Community-Led Dialogues: We engage community members through consultative dialogues as a platform for open discussions and interface meetings with local leaders as an enabler for community members to express their concerns and aspirations related to food security, nutrition and WASH services.
- School Engagements: We also engage schools through creative writing and debates as an enabler for Leaners (School going children) to express themselves freely on issues of Food Security, Nutrition, and WASH practices as a way to promote awareness and engagement among learners on nutrition and WASH topics.
- Good feeding practices: We also engage communities, health centers and schools on best feeding practices and how to prepare nutritious meals for children under 5 (Five), growing nutritious vegetables and more.
- Strengthened Local Voices: Through the Right2Grow Program, WDF has engaged over 1,500 community members to raise their voices and articulate their needs, ensuring their concerns are heard and addressed.
- Community Needs assessments: WDF has successfully conducted two (2) pilot household mapping exercises as a trigger to better understand the food security, nutrition, and WASH challenges at the community level for amplified evidence based advocacy efforts at Local government level.
- Accountability and Improved Services: We have engaged 240 community members (Religious and cultural leaders, community support groups, women and youth leaders, local council leaders and district leaders) through Community-led WASH sessions, community mobilization, District level dialogues, sub-county and parish dialogues, Budget monitoring and Expenditure tracking of public financing to hold community leaders, government agencies and stakeholders accountable for improvements in the delivery of nutrition and WASH services.
- School Championships: In 2022, WDF conducted a competitive School-based Easy writing competition with learners in 10 schools of Mayuge district as a way to trigger learners understanding and sharing of their experiences on critical issues of Food Security, Nutrition, and WASH practices from household level, school and community level.
- Child Feeding Practices: Through the R2G program, WDF has enhanced the feeding practices at household level through conducting practical (5 sessions so far) nutritious food preparation for children under 5 years, school meal enhancement and community-led feeding to break the cycle of malnutrition.
- Enhanced Community Well-being: Through advocacy and rights-based approaches, WDF has contributed to improving food security, nutrition, and access to clean water and sanitation services for communities in Mayuge and Bugweri districts through triggering community-led service delivery, shared costs modeling and rehabilitation of water sources.