Friday, March 26, 2010

A matter of terminology

FSP Coordinator, Anne, was struggling with terminology but has finally found the answers.

Talk of the changing situation in the north. For a long time it was conflict and conflict and conflict. Now it is time for people to re-settle into their original homes. Over 70% of FSP beneficiaries were displaced into the municipality. And the FSP strategy of family strengthening provides for withdrawal of families who gain self reliance.

In the current situation, some families in Gulu are leaving the programme area to go back to their original homes. Will they also be reported to have been withdrawn? That can’t be. How about those who are uncooperative and all efforts to empower them have been received with cold hands?

This has been a battle in the programme and we finally settled for the following words:
Withdrawn for those who are phased off upon gaining self reliance.
Relocated for those who have gone back to their original homes.
Discontinued for those who are uncooperative or unwilling to work hard to gain self reliance as a family.

But that does not end the story; there are also those who have partly relocated but their children continue to study in town. They go to their village for holidays and this we refer to it as partial relocation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Children’s library opens at the SOS Social Centre Gulu

A new children’s library recently opened at SOS Social Centre Gulu. It is the only children’s library in Gulu and was opened following donations of books by various organisations including UNICEF, Vision in Action, and the Gulu Rotary Club. The Gulu NGO Forum donated a computer which, it is hoped, funds permitting, is the first of many that will be in the library and will one day be connected to the internet. Another local community-based organisation donated the all-essential book shelves.

The aim of the new children’s library is to allow children access to resources which will enhance their education and create a reading culture. Fittingly, children were involved in the planning process and will be trained by an SOS Social Centre co-worker as volunteers in the library when they are not at school, and particularly during the school holidays. It is intended that the library, which also contains educational toys, will be used by all the children of the Gulu community and by local schools.

The opening ceremony, at which children thanked the donors, was attended by the local community and leaders of the local district council who said that the facility will go a long way to helping local children.

Once the library was declared open several children dived into the book shelves and sat down at the reading tables, totally absorbed in the books. The only noise came from the adults who were being shown around.

The verdict was ten out of ten for five year old Nancy, a local child from the community who commented, “I have seen some good books – I will continue coming here”.