Over 200,000 households get life skills

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Monthly incomes increased by 27% following the establishment of more than 1,600 community-based savings groups

PIC: Nakiwala addressing guests during the event at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala on Tuesday. (Credit: Shamim Saad)

SKILLS | TRAINING

KAMPALA – Sarah Amito, 14, is now able to fend for herself and support her family after obtaining life skills through the USAID SCORE-funded project in 35 districts across the country.

SCORE is the Sustainable Comprehensive Responses for vulnerable children project that was launched seven years ago. It aims at helping children, especially girls, to make the right social connections and improve the relationship between their families and care givers.

Through the project, Amito learnt how to make bags from beads and scarfs. She sells the products to friends, teachers and neighbours in the community.

She said she earns about sh60, 000 a month and uses part of the money for personal necessities like buying pads when she is her menstruation cycle and some for the family.

Before that Amito, who hails from Amuru district, was not sure of her survival. It was dependent on how much casual labour she and her family members would earn.

This exposed her to the high risk of dropping out of her primary school, being married off early or even forced into sex at an early age.

Such is the condition that SCORE sought to address among the 37 million Ugandans under the age of fourteen who are vulnerable.

The project, funded by USAID, designed plans that were tailored to the needs of individual members in the household. These included learning the best farming practices to increase food security and nutrition, child protection and legal trainings, trainings on financial literacy, family values, tailoring, knitting and craft making.

Rita Larok, the chief of Party for the SCORE project, said 200,000 households have been benefitted.

She said the project interventions have led to child labour reduction from 26% to 4%. Child abuse dropped from 38% to 6% and substance abuse dropped from 7% to 2 %.

According to Larok, school enrolment increased by 8% and absenteeism reduced by almost 80%.

At household level, she said monthly incomes increased by 27% following the establishment of more than 1,600 community-based savings groups, engaging more than 37,000 individuals, which resulted in savings of almost sh4m.

“This improved financial security, gives parents options to improve the wellbeing of their families and now the number of people consuming a balanced diet doubled with the SCORE population,” Larok said.

Districts that benefitted from the project include Buikwe, Kampala, Wakiso, Namayingo and Rubirizi. Others are Buyende, Busia, Otuke, Amuru, Bududa and Butaleja.

The minister of State for Youth and Child Affairs, Florence Nakiwala, called for more financial support towards such projects to extend their services to other parts of the country with vulnerable children.

She was speaking at the closing event of the project at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala on Tuesday.

Nakaiwala said the Government alone cannot address the big number of vulnerable children in communities, but that with support from development partners, this can be possible.

She added that the Government has already created a conducive environment through which donors can channel their funding to such projects.

“SCORE project has demonstrated its ability of sustainability in the absence of funding through the projects they have created in the communities. We are sure that projects created will not fail because they have the ability to carry even when funding has come to an end,” she said.

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