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Economic Youth Empowerment (EYE) is a youth led community-based organisation registered with Mbale District Local Government and Bungokho Mutoto Sub County that envisions communities where youths are at the fore front of developing and transforming their communities through creating sustainable enterprises to eradicate poverty since 2015.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life of children & youth through educational and community socio-economic development programs that are replicable & sustainable thereby alleviating poverty and reducing the high dependency burdens that are asserted on parents and the government.
In an effort to fight hunger and nutrition related challenges, we thought of a program whose aim is to provide top quality balanced meals that promote healthy bodies and healthy minds in the pupils of the nation and in the long run lead to improved academic performance of the pupils (in the rural settings) through the level academic ground that has been created for pupils in rural areas to play against those in urban schools however this was not the idea in the beginning.
From the previous year, Bob Oganga and Augustine Wamalwa have been providing scholastic materials like books, pens, pencils, mathematical sets and school shoes hoping that this will create a level playing academic ground for the children who come from dire economic and social families. However early this year we made a decision to check in with the school and see the impact of the support we’ve been giving to the little ones but we were shocked to find that the books that children got were used for other purposes like
1) they were sold to get pocket money
2) they were used for lighting fireplaces
3) were used as toilet paper
4) were used for wrapping purposes or used as paper bags and
5) very few used them for school
We engaged the teachers, students and a few parents to find out why and below were the findings
For the teachers: They are unable to teach because the salary they are paid is little to enable them to live the life they want. Secondly, they are unable to manage the day to day family expenses like food and school dues for their children, so they opt for Boda Boda business which implies that the pupils have no teacher in class.
For the parents: They are small scale farmers, and some are business retailers while the majority are stay home parents. They face similar challenges that the teachers face
For the children: They have no food at school and sometimes at home. They move long distances to and from school. They don’t have fees. The kids told us they are happy with the scholastic materials, but they weren’t their biggest need
After conducting a few focus groups with teachers, parents, and students, we learned that HUNGER was also a challenge in obtaining a quality education because parents are unable to invest in agriculture to secure food to provide their children with breakfast and lunch.
We came to a harsh realization that providing scholastic materials is treating a symptom, not the cause which has resulted in us redesigning our program to introduce a Community School feeding program in which schools take a lead in producing food for children to eat while at school. Each class from P.4 to P.7 grows a different type of food and later the whole school feeds on the different types of food for breakfast and lunch.
This means that the Community School Feeding Program will be providing a sustainable source of meals for the children, staff, and non-teaching staff of the schools. This is because a healthy mind as well as a strong immune system encourages learning from the pupils and also motivates the teachers to be present in school and fulfil their obligations to their pupils.
Our future plan is to introduce a Community School feeding program in which schools take a lead in producing food for children to eat while at school. Each class from P.4 to P.7 grows a different type of food and later the whole school feeds on the different types of food and in the long the school will be having a sustainable source of meals for the children, staff and non-teaching of the schools. This is because a healthy mind as well as a strong immune system encourage learning from the pupils and also motivates the teachers to be present in school and fulfil their obligations to their pupils. We plan to do this by identifying schools that are badly off yet have resources like land & many pupils who are eager to learn. With these two, we provide seedlings for maize, beans, cassava stems, onions, tomatoes and potatoes that the school will grow, harvest and use as a source of food through the academic calendar for three terms. For the start we shall empower the schools on how to set up food protection sites but in the long run we shall actually physically get involved in the construction of a food storage centre, a kitchen, acquisition of equipment and utensils for the kitchen.
To make this a success, we are engaging the administrators, teaching/non-teaching staff, pupils, parents, the community and the local leaders of the given area to ensure there’s ownership and responsibility for the farm.
We anticipate challenges like lack of farm materials like hoes, wheel barrows, panga’s, slashers, and pesticides amongst others; theft of the crops if they are nearing the harvest period, lack of man power to weed and harvest.
We hope to train our partners schools how to manage the farm and value of the food crops in the long run. We also hope to involve/engage the community so that they own and protect the farm as it benefits their own children. Also with the right funding, we hope to set up a fence around the farm to keep away the thieves.
To support this programme please get in touch with Economic Youth Empowerment:
Social media presence:
Economic Youth Empowerment Mbale on facebook | Economic Youth Empowerment Mbale website | Economic Youth Empowerment Mbale on twitter | Bob Oganga on Linkedin | Wamalwa Augustine on facebook | Our GoFundMe Campaign
Official email address for the organization: email@example.com
Please note that the website link shared was developed before the learnings on the back to school program in which we were giving scholastic materials to primary school pupils. The learnings informed the decision to re-design our program model to address hunger amongst school children.
Name: Augustine Wamalwa (Co-founder & Executive Director)
Phone: +25677831056 / +25675460808
Name: Bob Oganga (Co-founder & COO)