I recently received a message from a friend of mine in Uganda who asked if I would consider writing about an organization with which he is associated. I had not previously heard about the organization and was happy to take a look at their web site.
When I went to the site, my first reaction was "Gee, this is a pretty small organization, I am not sure how much I can say about it." But the more I read, the more I came to understand that the Mmanze Centre For Rural Development and Training -(MACERUDET) is just the type of organization I should be writing about.
MACERUDET is a community-based NGO that was founded in 1987 by a group of local people in the area of Mmanze Parish, Masulita Sub county in the Wakeso District of Uganda. After the Bush War that took place in the area from 1981 to 1986 the social infrastructures and agricultural sectors were left devastated. So, "the community organized themselves to address these problems and causes through self help initiatives."
The principal objective of MACERUDET is to contribute towards the rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the social infrastructures and agricultural sectors that were devastated by that war. By 1993 the organization was officially registered with the National Ngo of Uganda.
The issues faced by the people in the area served by MACERUDET are complex. And MACERUDET takes an integrated community-based approach to these issues. They include:
Promotion of culture
Youth and child rights
Training and education
Sustainable agricultural development
Functional adult literacy education
Rural savings and credit program and
Lobbying and advocacy
All of these many efforts are aimed to enhance and promote the human resources capacity building along with the synergy of providing a comprehensive approach to sustainable development.
MACERUDET is particularly proud of its program to promote and protect the rights of the girl child and to extending girls' access to, retention and completion of, basic education in the poor rural communities of Uganda
Through the generosity of individuals, families, companies, communities and organizations, support for girls through Primary and Secondary Education and beyond has been marshaled and resources provided to enable them as young Educated women to lead the regeneration of their communities.
MACERUDET says that its vision and mission regarding the Girl Child is so that each and every child is educated, protected, respected, valued and grows up to turn the tide of poverty. The organization states that: "In a world where girls have least access to education, MACERUDET'S mission is to empower communities in rural areas to fulfill their aspirations to:
Enroll and keep every girl in school.
Place the protection of the girl child at the centre of community life.
Tackle the threat and impact of HIV/AIDS.
Enable young women to lead change.
Support rural communities to demand their rights and services.
Share lessons widely to multiply the benefits."
MACERUDET's Primary Education program is designed to meet the problem that arises due to many factors. Because of the lack of money in many families, they are often unable to meet the costs of educating every child in family regardless of gender of the child. But because the perception among many families is that an educated boy is more likely to find paid work than an educated girl - and also the possibility that a girl is likely to marry and take her skill and labour to her husband's family the decision is often made to educate sons rather than daughters.
MACERUDET's Primary education program respects the constraints families face and work in partnership with parents, guardians, families, communities and girl child advocates to provide the necessary materials and resources to enable girls attend school. These materials and resources include:
Shoes and bags
Having these items also builds a girls self-esteem in addition to being necessary for school attendance. MACERUDET says that they help each of the girls "walk to school with pride in her appearance and sit in her classroom feeling confident about the way she looks and can participate fully in the educational process with pens, pencils and exercise books for her personal use."
Social support provided by trained school counselors complement the wider benefits of the program and also provide role models in the community.
In Uganda, where unemployment rates can be as high as 95% among young people, education does not guarantee a job. Because of this, MACERUDET supports young women in achieving economic independence by training them to become entrepreneurs in both the social and business sectors. This also affords them the freedom to make choices in their lives. In order to foster this independence, MACERUDET intends to initiate the APENTAGON BUSINESS AND SAVING / CREDIT SCHEME to finance business ventures that these women choose.
MACERUDET says that its Ultimate Goal is to Catalyse the regeneration of rural communities. And it believes that the education of girls is vital for this to take place. Working hand in hand with the girls who are supported by the sponsorship program as they leave school the organization wants them to become Young Change Makers.
They also state: We shall establish a sponsored girls as a support system for rural girls and young women and as a frame work for their activism. Our success and evolution will be to demonstrate the potential of rural girls and young women to lead change. We shall therefore provide training opportunities channeling resources, including finance and support them to step up to local , national and international platforms and challenge the world to invest in girls access to education and young women's leadership.
MACERUDET is truly an organization of a group of people who intend to help themselves, help others and help their Community. It is an inspirational story, and you can read more about them at: MACERUDET