Monday, March 26, 2007

SOS STAFF GET TRAINING ON CHILD PROTECTION

Children’s rights have been greatly violated due to the ongoing 20 year civil war between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the government forces in northern Uganda. Stressed or traumatised adults pay little attention to the need to protect children. As a result many children suffer, which makes it hard for the people working closely with them to offer quality service without good knowledge on child protection.

From 12 to 23 March, four SOS Children's Villages staff participated in a ten-day Child Protection Training organised by Christian Children’s Fund (CCF) which attracted over 10 child welfare agencies operating in northern Uganda. The four SOS participants comprised mainly child protection contact persons from the three SOS Children's Villages of Kakiri, Entebbe and Gulu.

The training packages were designed in 5 modular training courses which included communication skills with children and youth and legal aspects, amongst others. Each module comprised one day of theoretical participatory learning of child protection concepts and another day of applied practice or field application.

The trainings were timely and of great benefit to all participants and most importantly to the SOS staff as they got excellent knowledge, skills and best practices needed to provide better services.

There is a plan to organise trainings in which the four participants will share the knowledge, skills and best practices acquired during the trainings, with SOS mothers and other co-workers in their respective projects.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Let's hear it for girls' football in Gulu

SOS mothers team up for a photoThe 17th and 18th March weekend was exciting for the Gulu community when students from Concordia University of Montreal Canada (CVAP), in partnership with SOS Children's Village Gulu, organised a two-day girls' soccer gala that attracted thousands of youth. The event, the first of its kind in the region, was held in Pece Stadium, in which 12 teams from Gulu municipality competed for a trophy. The theme of the gala was 'Equality for all'.

students and children have fun for the cameraOn 18th March, before the final match, SOS mothers from Gulu played a morale boosting match with the female students from Concordia University. The match ended in a goalless draw but was really full of fun and excitement.

the t-shirt given out on the dayAfter the catalysing game between the SOS mothers and the students the final match started between Red Cross and Anaka Pope Paul 11 Secondary School which emerged the best teams. There was a lot of non-stop chanting and clapping as the match progressed. The Red Cross players were wonderfully skilled and played tirelessly to take the trophy. They emerged the winners after walloping Anaka Pope Paul 11 Secondary School nine goals to nil.

During the prize-giving, all speakers appreciated the initiative by CVAP and SOS to promote women in sports. They urged that the event becomes an annual tournament not only to help the youth grow up as youth, but also to advocate for peace, unity and equality in northern Uganda.

Monday, March 19, 2007

CANADIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ARRIVE

The first group of 10 Concordia University students from Montreal Canada arrived in SOS Children’s Village Gulu on Thursday 8th February, following the signing of the Partnership Agreement between SOS Children’s Villages Uganda and Concordia Volunteer Abroad Programme (CVAP) in Kampala.

CVAP is a non-profit organisation by students and teaching staff at Concordia University that creates avenues for students to give volunteer services to disadvantaged communities in the developing world. It is aimed at alleviating the effects of HIV/AIDS and poverty and promoting education.

On 9th February, the group, composed of 10 students, was warmly received by SOS Children's Villages staff. As soon as they arrived at the village, they toured the project and met various staff at their workplaces. After the tour, they gathered in the main administration building, where we gave a brief presentation on 'Who we are', the background of the project and the activities that SOS Children's Villages Gulu is involved in. The visitors kindly gave a donation, mainly of sports equipment, to the children.

After lunch the students were entertained by a youth group and SOS children. Some students became so stimulated by the Acholi cultural dances that they could not remain seated. They danced to the rhythm of the drums as the spectators enjoyed watching young whites jumping high and higher.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Developing the Culture of Reading

Owing to the twenty-year LRA insurgency (Lord’s Resistance Army), the children’s academic performance in most of the schools in northern Uganda has significantly deteriorated. Overcrowded classes, lack of homework, poor facilities and poor teaching methods are some of the hindrances to good academic performance in Gulu district.

Faced with the above challenges, SOS Children’s Village Gulu came up with the idea of employing external teachers to mainly help to supervise evening prep and give homework to the children. We also created space for a small library in one of the two dormitories and stocked it with a few textbooks and readers.

At the beginning of February 2007, we engaged two teachers and assigned them with the responsibility of helping SOS mothers to supervise prep every week from Monday to Saturday. Evening prep begins at 8.00pm and ends at 10.00pm. Immediately after supper, children clean the dining hall, collect their books and get ready to begin evening prep. Due to lack of space, some children in upper primary classes carry out their evening prep in the administration block. SOS mothers do the supervision while the teachers give homework and move around helping individual children.

With this programme, SOS children have started developing the culture of reading, the first step on the road to a good education.