Saint Ann Foundation (SAF) works in partnership with rural villages in Uganda to create and establish sustainable solutions for community development. Our staff members begin working in a community by asking a lot of questions, finding out what problems are seen by members of the community, especially the children. We then come up with a plan, decide on ways to evaluate and measure success, and get to work.
Through our effective volunteer service programs, we place volunteers in our initiatives and connect other volunteers from around the world with these communities along with our staff as we work together on projects implemented in areas as Childcare Support, Education, Food and Agriculture, Water and Sanitation, Healthcare, Sports, Music, Art and culture and Economic Development. We focus on one community at a time while maintaining a community-led committees monitoring each project stages, completion and its long-term impact.
At SAF, we place an important focus on the welfare of children by looking out for their well-being: ensuring that communities receive the needed resources to support children in need, such as a caring family environment, housing and essential care to improve their social and intellectual stimulation while advocating for their rights. Through our initiatives, we provide a platform for educational empowerment, especially for the underprivileged children in rural communities in Uganda. We work to encourage family-based and foster care to give vulnerable children or orphans hope for a better future through programs that encourage alleviation of poverty and eradication of diseases, providing healthy meals and basic health services, protecting and helping children achieve their full potential in life.
Children love school, at least at first. That is where they make friends, play and begin to explore the world. Going to school is a hallmark of childhood. Sadly, quality education remains a distant dream for many vulnerable children in rural villages in Uganda. Most of these children are either out of school, or receive inadequate education because there are not enough schools, parent’s inability to afford tuition, not enough teachers, limited or no learning resources and better infrastructure. About 60% of children living in rural villages in are missing out on primary school education or are having poor quality education. About 45 percent of these are girls. These children are at greater risk for exploitation, victims of child labor, early marriage, unemployment and lower income-earning potential.
SAF’s model focuses on factors that improve quality educational by working with volunteers to increase children’s access to equitable and quality early-childhood education, primary education and strengthening community involvement in education to improve learning. Whether it means building schools, donations of appropriate teaching and learning materials, such as library books, child sponsoring, notebooks, and other relevant school supplies, we address those issues in a sustainable way.
Food and Agriculture
With the right start, children can grow into healthy adults able to feed themselves. Children who don’t eat enough can’t grow feel, excel in school or live an active, healthy life. In the communities we serve about 85% of the population are farmers, who due to their low-income potentials are unable to grow enough food to feed their own families, much less sell for additional income. That is why we partner with these communities to address their immediate food needs. We work with volunteers to increase agricultural productivity through improved seeds and farming practices, improve access to markets so farmers can profitably sell their surplus food while integrating projects that often combine vegetable gardening, livestock management and nutrition education.
Water and Sanitation
Clean water means health, income and education – especially for women and children. When water is unsafe and sanitation non-existent, water can cause deadly illness and if not attended to quickly can cause a death. In many rural villages in Uganda waterborne illnesses affect’s lots of women and children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. The main traditional sources of water in many parts of rural Uganda are small ponds and unprotected wells, both of which are easily polluted, causing disease and ill-health. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely contaminated.
Hygiene education and tools such as hand-washing stations encourage critical healthy habits that reduce contamination and disease transmission. In fact, hand washing has been shown in most regions in Uganda to result in children growing stronger and healthier. SAF is working in partnership with rural villages in Uganda alongside the support of volunteers to promote safe hygiene practices in schools and communities, provide hand dug wells with pumps and constructing ventilated pit latrines.
Health and Medical Care
Over 60% of children in rural villages in Uganda under age 5 suffer from mostly preventable causes, such as diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia. When these children get sick, their parents don’t have many ways to help them get better. Most families who lives in villages without doctors or clinics, or doesn’t have the money (or insurance) to visit one can’t afford simple life-saving things like de-worming drugs, vitamins and supplements, without them children die.
Our approach focuses on improving the availability and accessibility of basic medicines and products used to prevent and treat illnesses at the rural level, providing medical equipments to understaffed healthcare centers, provide training and financial support as needed. When available, we distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets village by village, covering whole communities to reduce the spread of the mosquito-transmitted diseases. Our volunteer physicians and nurses’ works with the rural healthcare centers to treat patients, dispensed prescriptions, give eye exams and provided dental exams as needed.
Micro-finance and Business Training
The innovation of microfinance has allowed low income individuals, usually excluded from the traditional banking system, to obtain micro-loans to develop micro-enterprises and build savings. The aim of SAF’s microfinance project is to contribute towards sustainable economic development by providing local individuals, groups and communities with the proper skills training and micro-loans to grow their businesses, create new jobs and help break the cycle of poverty and hunger. Through working with volunteers we develop small business ideas, basic bookkeeping skills and conduct weekly workshops on topics related to financial literacy, Enterprise development skills, micro-credit, computer literacy and vocation skills training.