Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Program:
In communities where we work, unwanted pregnancies and early marriages are a major cause of school drop outs among adolescent girls and boys and one of the biggest contributors of poverty among families. At CCUg, we believe that empowering adolescents with knowledge/information about HIV/AIDS has a great effect on their immediate and long term sexual behaviour and choice. In addition, we also equip primary and secondary school adolescents with information about their sexuality. The aim is to enable them to easily understand their growth patterns and also have realistic expectations of their bodies and sexual feelings. Although we prefer to encourage them to abstain from sex as their primary choice, we also teach them about other safe-sex methods like contraception. We also aim at reducing school dropouts and thereby increasing school retention rate of girls and boys. As of August 2013, we were able to visit 12 primary and secondary schools and had the opportunity to reach about 3023 adolescents.
This is a program that is directly related to the Group Saving Program (GSP). Under this program, CCUg buys materials for making crafts for members, teaches them how to make them and then buys back the crafts at subsidized prices from the members after they have partially or fully finished the craft products. It is then the obligation of CCUg to find market for the crafts. Most of the funds members attain from making of the crafts is used in their GSP where they meet 2-4 times a month depending on the group’s convenience.
After selling of the crafts, this money is ploughed back into the community through enrolling more students into the Scholarship program. Currently we have 4 groups involved in the crafts program, 2 groups in Nakalanga village, Mayuge district comprising of over 30 members, 1 group in Magamaga on the Jinja-Iganga Highway made up of 10 members and lastly 1 group involving 7 membersthat works from our offices in Wairaka, Jinja district.
Group Savings Program (GSP):
CCUg Group Savings Program (GSP) is a savings and loans program catering to the capital acquisition/expansion needs of women in the communities we operate in. Resembling a village banking system, it includes each member of a Savings Group (10 members) bringing in savings every meeting and then members taking loans from the pool of savings for capital acquisition/expansion at a monthly rate of interest of 10% to be divided evenly amongst the group members. Community Concerns also has a stake in each group pertaining to money that they inject in order to meet the credit requirements of the group. Money is neither deposited with nor borrowed by CCUg. In addition to this, each group attends 2 workshops prior to the first round of savings where they are introduced to record keeping and various basic entrepreneurial concepts like capital, inventory, profits and the need for saving. Since its inception in April 2013, the GSP has been immensely popular with the community increasing its reach from 10 members to 30 in just 3 months and is expected to reach at least 50 in 2 more. In addition to this, it boasts a 100% repayment rate and our reports indicate that profits made from the amount borrowed vary between 50% and 75% of the money borrowed. The GSP also often works hand in hand with the CCUg Craft Project and women invest their earnings from making crafts into the GSP. Despite being relatively new, the Group Savings Program has shown promise to be one of our most impactful projects.
Education Empowerment Program:
In line with the Millennium Development Goals, we understand that it is every child’s right to attain education. Many young girls and boys in Mayuge district don’t realize this right. Low or no formal educational attainment is related to increased levels of poverty and disease. Our holistic approach to poverty reduction includes a scholarship program for the children in our community with special priority to the girls. The Scholarships include school fees and scholastic materials.Currently we have 10 children 5 in Nakalanga village and 5 in Magamaga in this program.