The aim of the coaching visits to each of our CBO partners was to be the audience and they the “performers”. We wanted to hear from them how the implementation of their activities was going, the challenges they were facing and the new innovative ways they’d come up with to tackle these challenges. With the mindset of listening, learning and offering advice and support where needed, we hit the road!
First stop was in Wakiso at the home of Kyuka Youth Outreach. The vibrant arts performers were eager to tell us of the planning and preparations of their community outreach that was slated to happen in a few days. A hint of trepidation from them was clear as they were venturing into uncharted atmospheres (It’s not everyday in Uganda that a church group of young people advocates for contraception methods in the community). They highlighted working with the area authorities to notify them of their activities and garner their backing. Looking through their administrative documents and financial systems, we noticed a significant improvement from when we first interacted with them, what with their petty cash book duly filled in. Kyuka Youth Outreach’s visit set a steady pace for the other districts.
Next in line was Muduuma Youth Network from Mpigi who’d conducted their baseline survey of the area and trained the data collectors. From this survey, a key health challenge they encountered with the young people there was the absentism of young girls from school during their menstruation periods. This was due to inadequate supply of sanitary towels. On asking how they sought to address this challenge, they highlighted looking out for partners who can supply re-usable sanitary towels for the girls. The Muduuma team was excited with their group of Peer Educators who were already reaching out to different communities within Mpigi. To boost their communication and visibility, the Muduuma team created a Facebook page with 40 followers from the region but showing potential growth for the following.
Off to the Eastern town of Jinja, the home of the Nile, we went. In new premises, Child Awake Initiative was elated about our visit. After concluding the “Youth Day” celebrations in Jinja, one of the highlight events on the Jinja calendar, organized by CHAIN, they had gone through various administrative, financial and organizational planning processes. Bringing together different partners such as Red Cross Jinja to support the day’s activities, the team considered it a tremendous success. Team CHAIN was able to create and replicate their youth corner activity in 5 government based health centers where they created a schedule with each center to meet and interact with young people on issues of SRHR. They highlighted their vision of digitalizing their financial system which was still a work-in-progress, however their hard copy books of accounts were fairly well kept. The accounting system seemed thorough and reliable.
The last leg of the coaching visits was in the western district of Mbarara where we met with the team from Real Agency of Community Development. Having completed their community outreach, they had so much to tell us about the whole process; the preparation, implementation and post event activities. We were pleased to hear that the team managed to garner support from Health service providers within to carry out services such as HCT and cervical cancer screening, a detail that made their outreach even more successful. They noted some challenges that included agreements with the local partners on what each one’s role in activity was despite stipulating the roles of each party in an MOU.
Maureen, Gilbert, Janet (RAHU) and Inger (Double Loop), despite pointing out areas that needed more improvement from the CBOs such as Fundraising, communications, partnerships, were impressed by the progress exhibited by the four grass root partners in implementing the activities set out in their work plans.