Supporting Parents With Agricultural Inputs Within The ECD Communities

Supporting Parents With Agricultural Inputs Within The ECD Communities

To promote positive livelihood and nutrition for children and communities hosting the ECD program in the Lamwo district, APPCO introduced an initiative to supply parents with agricultural inputs. This was meant to enhance the feeding program within the ECD schools.

SCHOOL FEEDING:

The school feeding program is one of the programs that had not ever existed in some of the ECD centres at the time that APPCO started implementing the project which was identified during the re-assessment of schools for the re-opening.

However, through parent participation in meetings and community discussions, a strategy for supporting the school food program was developed. Parents were asked to contribute to the campaign through an action plan. Some of the supplies donated by the parents included maize flour and sugar for porridge. This made it easy to kick start the feeding program. Because the parents championed the effort and demonstrated a willingness to support the program, APPCO provided support to them, including agriculture inputs and technical experience, to address the feeding program as well as to improve the family’s economic condition.

SEED DISTRIBUTION

As the farming season began, parents were overjoyed when they receives the seeds. The seeds were delivered to parent support groups in the communities to help them increase their income-generating capacity at the family level while simultaneously providing a long-term solution to the ECD centre feeding problem.

“Now that APPCO has supported us with seeds, we assure you that in the coming terms, our children will be having porridge and lunch at school as it will also help us to concentrate in the gardens as it was previously hard because we could leave gardens early to go and prepare food for our children.” One parent stated during seed distribution in Aoi ECD centre. Over 500 homes have benefited from the agricultural seeds support, which included introducing parents to new ways of smart agriculture, such as the use of nursery beds and kitchen gardens to increase the productivity of their produce.

Supporting The ECD Centers With Building Materials

Supporting The ECD Centers With Building Materials

APPCO’s community-building strategy is critical in advancing the idea of self-sufficient and sustainable community-based initiatives. The initiative was a follow-up to fill the gap within the ECD host schools that didn’t have facilities for the ECD program (These facilities included classroom blocks, toilet structures and a feeding program).

APPCO organized the parents and other community members to embark on the construction work. The parents availed their resources as part of their contribution to kick start the work. this intervention has encouraged the community to construct a permanent structure as they have realized the benefits of the ECD program. This is witnessed by a high number of turn-ups at the Centers. The community is eager and willing to participate in the construction project for more blocks to support the program ECD (Early Childhood Development).

 

DISTRIBUTION OF THE CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

During the distribution event, APPCO invited parents, community leaders and the district officials to witness and representatives from all invited stakeholders were welcoming the initiative as they made positive remarks about the program.

We like the strategy of first seeing what we can be able to do using our locally available resources with full support through continuous encouragements, monitoring, mentorship among others to make us self-reliant, sustaining and above all, owning our community initiatives.” One parent commented during the event that was organized to distribute building materials to the ECD centre that were under contraction.

The chairperson centre management committee (CMC) outlined all the activities APPCO has implemented at the ECD centre which included needs assessment of the ECD centre, constituting parents’ households into parent’s support groups, training of parents’ support groups on good agronomic practices, agricultural input distribution, building materials distribution among others. “Trust us even if we are told that the APPCO project is ending, we shall continue with the activities and the knowledge we have gained from APPCO for the sustainability of what we have started implementing. I am very proud to say from today, our ECD centre has classroom blocks under construction nearing completion, and we shall still as parents now start planning to construct more blocks for the primary section. ‘’ one of the parents said during the delivery of building materials.

By the launch of this event;

  1. The Community constructed permanent structures in the various centre that are needed by the ECD facility.
  2. The play up sessions are being conducted using the play up model guide for the ECD Facilitators and the play up model chart
  3. Children are feeding at school
  4. ECD centers has a permanent structure for the toilet
  5. Parents of the enrolled ECD children have formed groups and are receiving livelihood training and monitoring which will improve their yields and this will support the school feeding programme as well as household feeding and income.
  6. Psychosocial support sessions conducted with children and some parents

 ‘’it is one thing for an organization to implement a project in a specific community and another thing altogether for the community to realize the project impact, but we have already seen and felt the impact of APPCO’s different interventions in our community’’

Returning the ECD program to the classroom following the end of the Covid-19 lockdown

Returning the ECD program to the classroom following the end of the Covid-19 lockdown

The government of Uganda announced the opening of schools in January 2022. The ECD project strategy has been switched from a community to a school context, with schools hosting ECD programs. For the communities, the program has reported an inflow of up to 1200 children. The influence of the ECD community structures that occurred during the lockdown was partly responsible for the strong turnout. All stakeholders embraced the ECD program and commended APPCO for the effort once the schools were operational.

PLANTING SIGNPOSTS:

The Signpost planting was a success as we were welcomed by the different school administrators. They also helped with the planting material and tools but also more help came from the ECD facilitators and the caregivers we got on the ground. In total all the 15 signposts for the ECD schools were planted in the communities to identify the ECD host schools.

PREPARING THE CLASSROOMS FOR ECD SESSIONS

When the government of Uganda opened up the schools on 11th /January 2022, a team of APPCO staff conducted a needs assessment of all the ECD centres under the Appco area of operation. Parents from three ECD centres teamed up with APPCO to ensure that the ECD centre host schools got the resources they needed to keep the program functioning. Because some ECD centres lacked facilities for the ECD portion, most of the class sessions were held outside under the trees.

we attended the meeting where the main issue for discussion was how to address the need for classrooms that were scattered. The chairperson centre management committee Mr Okot stated that “Due to the strong winds a few days back, the roofs of the classrooms were blown away from another ECD centre”. Parents agreed by mobilizing resources together and also lobby from different stakeholders like APPCO, AVSI, Windle international and others, they would work together to build this classroom. As a result, the parents agreed to start digging the foundation the next day and to buy and deliver bricks the next week.

The construction activity began, which demonstrated the community’s devotion, and we urged them to continue with the same attitude.  In this article, we recognize the efforts of the Parents of the Kapetta ECD centre and St. Andrews Paloga ECD centre seen engaged in the process of constructing decent classrooms as part of a community-led initiative to promote inclusive ECD learning in their community given the prevailing constraint of ECD focused infrastructure.

What parents heard to say

“The classrooms we are building will last longer so that even those who are not yet born will gain the benefit from the program, so this will give us a long time of education and make our future better in the community”
Mr. komakach joseph ochaya
Chairman ECD kapetta
"I want to thank APPCO so much for considering the children and parents of the Kapetta community by coming up to support the ECD centre. . . ECD learning is the foundation of a good modern society therefore parents should embrace and support this very important program by actively participating in all activities and bringing their children to the ECD centre"
Aol Josephine
Lamwo District
"I have one child enrolled at the ECD centre and it has created an opportunity for me to support community development by actively participating in all activities that target the development of children and livelihoods"
Lumumba Patrick
Lamwo district

Keeping Children in School While They’re at Home during Covid-19 Lockdown

Keeping Children in School While They're at Home during Covid-19 Lockdown

Our Early Childhood Development initiative in the Lamwo district modified its strategy of operations from a classroom environment to a community setting as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, which resulted from the closure of schools. This emergency response choice led to APPCO and the community leaders to identify people inside their communities to lead the community ECD centres. ECD facilitators were the name given to these groups of persons.

The ECD facilitators are the link between APPCO and the communities. They hold sessions at the communities’ homesteads where children between 0-8years from the neighbourhood participate in various play and learning activities. The initiative is designed to encourage youngsters to value education while they are at home and to look forward to when schools reopen.

The impact of this method was felt throughout the communities, as evidenced by the high turnout and testimony from parents who reported various good changes in their children’s behavior as a result of attending the sessions.

IMPROVING FACILITATOR MOVEMENT

Because of the great distances between these centres, ECD facilitators were given bicycles to help them get to and from them. All the members were enthusiastic about this effort and praised APPCO for taking it.

Empowered to become an Entrepreneur

Empowered to become an Entrepreneur

Meet Munyunyu Brenda, a senior 3 student at St. Johns Namuyenje, in 2020 she moved from Busia where her parents are based, and came to live with her elder brother in Mukono District where she met the opportunity to obtain baking skills that she is currently practicing.

“ At the beginning of the AGE  project, we were invited for dialogues together with our parents, guardians, and peers and told the objectives of the project among which was to help skill the vulnerable girls for socio-economic transformation in the face of Covid-19 in Mukono district, I was among the many girls who participated in the on-going skilling sessions and was able to benefit in various ways, given that we have been in the lockdown and we have been staying home for a while, I would always allocate my time well and make sure that I seek permission from my brother to come to attend the skilling sessions at the safe space in Namuyenje.

I always practice what we would be taught at the safe space and that’s how a few months back I started my small business of baking, I make snacks and sell to people within our trading center and that is how I manage to purchase scholastic materials that I use at school. At the resumption of school learning, all I asked my brother to do was pay school fees since I had saved some money that would help in meeting other school-related costs from my snacks business.

And as I speak today my business venture is growing since, I have continued baking and selling the snacks at the school canteen something that has earned me the nickname “Munyunyu snacks” among my peers in school funny it is but not deterrent of my goal which is to be the largest baker in our trading center here. I am happy though that I have been able to inspire many young girls in our community and school who have also embraced the idea of engaging in income-generating practices as I do, now that we are being trained in various skills courtesy of this intervention.

Munyunyu and her peer are among the many girls who have and are currently benefiting out of the AGE project interventions being implemented by APPCO and cluster partners in the Mukono district as a response to the COVID-19 inflicted challenges and aims at contributing to the empowerment of girls in and out of school with SRHR and socio-economic friendly services