For many years Ascension has had links with Naminage village in Uganda. Teams from our congregation have visited over the years to support and encourage church leaders and communities, most recently in 2019. They’ve been involved in worship, training childrens’ workers, and supporting local schools and their staff. We’ve also welcomed and hosted church leaders and parishioners from Naminage here in Bitterne Park.
We continue to support Busoga Trust as a church, a charity that works in Uganda to provide sufficient safe and sustainable sources of drinking water. The Trust runs community education programmes and provides technical support to improve sanitation and hygiene.
In January 2019, we were privileged to be joined by Richard Rukundo, Children and Young people’s lead for the Church of Uganda. We were encouraged to hear about his faith and the work he is doing supporting and championing young people in Uganda. Later in the year we again visited our link parish of Naminage, Uganda. This was a successful trip, deepening our relationships, knowledge and understanding. Some of us went on to spend time with Richard and his team and we were pleased to have the opportunity to give practical support to his ministry across Uganda. We are currently hoping to host a team from Naminage here in the future.
Setting up Petal Enterprises
From 26 February to 9 March 2017, 7 members of our congregation visited the small rural community of Naminage, Uganda, our link parish.
Why are we supporting Petal Enterprises?
In October 2015 our then vicar, Rev. Andy Smith, travelled with a small team to Naminage, to re-establish parish links and assess where we might be able to add value in a practical and sustainable way to support our rural link parish. A key issue identified by our Naminage parish partners was how to keep girls in education, and particularly how girls can’t attend school when they have their periods but don’t have access to sanitary towels.
In too many communities around the world menstruation is a taboo subject. There is often little to no advice available for girls and, frequently, no access to affordable sanitary pads. This is forcing women and girls to use rags and, in some cases, leaves – often leading to the contraction of menstrual diseases. The stigma and lack of understanding results in girls feeling like they have to stay at home, missing out on 25% of their education or, in many cases, dropping out altogether.
The Petal Enterprise project helps the local community to manufacture and sell affordable, reusable sanitary towels within their local area. Having access to sanitary towels will help young women manage their periods and stay in school for longer. Our church, WSV and our Ugandan link parish have connected with community leaders in Uganda, church leaders, secondary school heads and members of the Mothers’ Union, to undertake a feasibility study on the community needs and potential economic viability of a micro-enterprise. The research showed that this project could make a big difference to girls and their education.
How does it work?
WSV and our church team worked with members of the local Naminage community to train the identified entrepreneurs in the setup and running of the micro-enterprise, providing training in business management, record keeping and the manufacturing process.
Alongside this, those involved in the micro-enterprise are trained to promote the health benefits. In Naminage the project focuses on the two secondary schools. The commercial profits from the micro-enterprise provide means for the entrepreneurs to sustain themselves and their families, whilst providing the funding and labour necessary to ensure that the sanitary towels the micro-enterprises deliver are kept available to the community.
The Petal Enterprise team aims to form a local oversight group which will help nurture the micro enterprises. We worked with senior church officials (from Busoga and Kamapla), the head of network 32 local (rural) community health centres and Family Life Education Programme representatives.
Want to get involved? – Donate now
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