Thursday, 11 November 2010

Uganda - Lunch4learning

Support to purchase 200 agricultural/gardening tools furnished to Lunch4Learning
EKYEMISANA becomes LUNCH4LEARNING on 1 October. We aim to improve the learning experience of Ugandan primary children by helping schools provide a lunchtime meal. The first pages of the new '' website should be available on 1 October. As Ekyemisana, we have been helping Ugandan primary schools start and maintain plots on which they grow food to feed their children at lunchtime. This is a completely sustainable activity involving schools and their extended local communities. Our work started in 2008 and we are already working with 37 schools and have 34,065 children in our programme. Attendance at school is considerably better - a first step towards accessing education. But the need to build upon our work is crucial and that growth is only limited by the funding that we are able to generate. We can include a child in the programme at a 'one-off' average cost of 59p/$0.90. We are currently working in the District of Jinja where there are 212,000 children registered in schools. To achieve our objectives, we are working with the Ministry of Education, Local Government and the Church of Uganda. Should we succeed in this Challenge, we could add a further 850 children (one school) to the programme.

In July, I visited Uganda, ran some workshops and with the help of some generous donors, we increased the number of children in the programme to 34,065. As that was also harvest time, it was very exciting to see crops ready to be picked.

During last week's visit, that number was increased to just under 50,000 across 54 schools. I am still putting together some important data I brought back but it seems we have increased the amount of land under our care from 121 acres to around 190 acres. I also opened talks with local government and the Church of Uganda. They are both much better informed about our work and have declared that they will release land for our programme. How much is something I will have to nail down in the weeks ahead. Similar conversations have started with the Madhvani family who run the biggest sugar plantations in Uganda. I have a meeting with them in London in mid-February.

We recognise an urgent need to collect data that will help us assess the impact of our work in the standards of learning across the schools involved in the programme. To that end, we have renewed to April 2011, the position of the District Coordinator whom we have put on a retainer to liaise with schools and report to trustees in Kampala. That brings me to the new administration structure in Uganda.

During the course of this year, Trustees recognised that using the 'Ekyemisana' name was creating obstacles in our fundraising efforts in the UK. So, on 1 October we became Lunch4Learning in the UK whilst we continue to use Ekyemisana in Uganda. We are now, therefore, effectively 2 organisations. Lunch4Learning will operate in the UK and will also raise funds in the USA and Canada. Ekyemisana will operate in Uganda only.

We have registered Ekyemisana in Uganda with a different board of 9 trustees, 7 of which are Ugandans. The memorandum and articles of association have now become our constitution in Uganda. This registration, has allowed us, in turn, to open a bank with Standard Chartered and will facilitate the flow of funds from the UK to Uganda.

The application process for NGO status is also underway. All these tasks are being undertaken on our behalf by Shunobi-Musoke Legal Associates. Mr Peters Musoke is a trustee of both the Ekyemisana board and the Lunch4Learning board.

Ekyemisana trustees have approved the job description for the appointment of a Programme Manager who will liaise with District Coordinators, fundraise locally and report quarterly to Ekyemisana trustees and to myself here in the UK. That position will take effect from 1 February 2011.

One of the trustees has generously given us office space in Kampala at no cost to the charity. He has also agreed to pay the Programme Manager's salary for a year.

You know about our order for 300 hoes that will go into schools on 1 February. I will try to edit the video (which is in 5 sections) before sending it off to you.

So, as you can see, we have been very busy but the challenge of fundraising continues in Oxford where administration continues to be cost-free.

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