Dear Friends of African Women Rising,
I have been feeling a bit stuck lately. In all senses of the word. I’m sure I am not alone. We have all experienced unprecedented changes to our lives, changes relating to health, movement, finances and well-being.
Running a non-profit during these times have been a challenge to say the least. I know AWR is not an exception, many organizations are struggling to stay afloat. At a time when we need to step up our services, we are experiencing reduced income and strict regulations to keep Covid-19 under control. Over the last few months we have had to let staff go to lower costs. A hard decision and one that was difficult to make. I feel I have let my team down.
So I feel stuck, unable to join the AWR team in Uganda. Stuck as I am seeing our organization struggle to cover program costs and payroll and feeling powerless about it. Frustrated there are so many families that need our support and we are unable to provide it. It’s easy to get bogged down in all we cannot do and lose track of how much we have actually accomplished in a very short time.
The last number of emails I have sent out have all been about what we need to do, appeals for help to reach more at-risk households to alleviate the stress the Covid-19 shutdown in Uganda has caused for so many families. We still need this. But I want you to know, as it is a good reminder for myself, we are already doing good, amazing work in these communities. The Ugandan government consider AWR’s programs essential because they work and make a difference in people’s lives every day.
In addition to our regular work we have:
- Provided 8,750 families with soap
- Distributed 74 hand washing stations to areas where people congregate.
- Provided health centers in 6 sub-counties with disinfectants
- Provided sub-counties with fuel so they can transport pregnant and sick people to health centers
- Printed COVID-19 information in Luo, English and Arabic
- Supported a phone help line for COVID-19 questions
This year we are working together with 1,700 women and men in the Agricultural Programs, ensuring they have a reliable, year-round source of food; 600 of our participants are refugees from South Sudan.
There are over 8,000 women in the Micro Finance and Savings Programs. In 2020 we added 450 new women who are getting access to capital, learning how to manage and build businesses, become financially literate and independent.
Despite schools being closed we are continuing to work with the 1,500 girls in the Girls Education Program. Our mentors are providing girls with focused learning at home. In addition, we have provided 5,000 students with study materials they can do from home.
All this while following strict COVID-19 regulations, working with a reduced budget and making sure our staff stay safe and healthy.
This is possible because of you. You are making a difference.
Since 2016 we have been fortunate to collaborate with renowned photographer Brian Hodges. His work has provided us with an amazing portfolio of images that depict the strength and resilience of the women with whom we work. It is with great pleasure we can announce Brian as the first place winner in the Australian Institute of Professional Photography Silver Lining Award for a photo taken during a mentoring sessions in our Girls Education Program.
Linda and the AWR team