Children of Hope Uganda: Support appeal for creating shared value

Children of Hope Uganda: Support appeal for creating shared value

Lorna Pitcher, Founder and Director of a not-for-profit organization Children of Hope Uganda (COHU) has established a classic example of Michael Porter’s popular concept of creating shared value (CSV). Simply put, excerpts of the article discussed below gives an insight as to how COHU’s income generating activities or IGAs aim to provide a sustainability framework for the communities that COHU has intended to build and nurture, thereby creating an impact on the global society!

Background:
In northern Uganda from 1986 to 2006, Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) abducted over 20,000 children and forced them to be child soldiers and sex slaves. One such atrocity was the abduction on October 10, 1996 of 139 girls from St Mary’s College, Aboke. Kony released 109 girls, but kept 30 of the most beautiful girls to be ‘bush wives’ to LRA commanders. Most did not escape for 8 years. COHU has received funding from the Rotary African Women’s Education Fund to send 13 of those 30 young women to university. COHU has also given school fees support to the 18 young children of the “Aboke Girls”, born of rape in LRA captivity.1

As a response to make an impact to the affected community, COHU built the Barlonyo Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) in July, 2010 to train formerly abducted youth in carpentry, bricklaying and tailoring. BTVI was funded at its inception and for 6 years by Danier Leather Co, thanks to the generous compassion of Danier President, Jeffrey Wortsman. COHU built the Barlonyo Early Childhood Development Centre in 2012, with the original intention of providing child care to young mothers taking BTVI tailoring classes, but the enrolment has grown to serve the whole community. A Ryerson University intern from Toronto started the ECDC program under the campus teaching tree in May, 2012 before the double classroom was built in Dec, 2012.

Before starting the Barlonyo schools, from 2007, COHU was paying partial school fees for 165 orphans and vulnerable children, including 10 Barlonyo orphans. Three girls sadly died (2 of AIDS/born HIV+, 1 of malaria). Two of the original beneficiary children are now in medical school.

Since its inception, the Ugandan founder and current Executive Director of COHU, Esther Atoo, has stressed that “We can not create dependency”. The school motto echoes this; “Skills Development for Self-Reliance”. The COHU Canadian Board and the COHU Uganda Board have long agreed that all efforts must be focused on achieving school/project self- sustainability.

To this end, COHU initiated several Income Generating Activities [IGA’s] ie school piggery, tilapia fish farm, goat and poultry rearing, sale of carpentry and tailoring products, school truck hire, oxen plowing/crop farming. The two most successful IGA’s in terms of turning a profit are the new tree nursery and the crafts production.

In July, 2016 COHU was awarded a $15,000 Social Enterprise Demonstration Fund grant from Ryerson University, contingent on COHU raising a matching $15,000., which was funded by the Rotary Club of Kitchener-Conestoga.

Over the years, COHU in Uganda has benefited from the efforts of interns from U of Toronto, U of Toronto Scarborough, York U, Simon Fraser U. Other support in Canada has been given by students from George Brown College, Humber College, Upper Canada College, De La Salle College, and many schools in Toronto District School Board and York Catholic District School Board.

Significant funding is earned through COHU’s social enterprise: the sale on college and school campuses, at church bazaars and charity tables of the crafts made by COHU artisans. These crafts are recycled paper bead jewelry, stuffed animals and baskets.

Children of Hope Uganda

10 Years of Supporting Recovery in Northern Uganda

A Proud Record – 2007 to 2017

COHU Canada is proud of funding the accomplishments of the COHU Uganda team over the last 10 years, including:

  • paid school fees for 163 orphans and vulnerable children (two now in medical school)
  • distributed IGA’s to the caregivers of the beneficiary children – oxen, bee hives, livestock, etc.
  • built Barlonyo Technical & Vocational Institute [BTVI] in 2010 – current enrolment 120
  • built Barlonyo Early Childhood Development Centre [ECDC] in 2012– current enrolment 135
  • sponsored 20 formerly abducted young women at university – Rotary African Women’s Education Fund [RAWEF]
  • funded school fees for 18 children of the RAWEF young women
  • collaborated in a major water and sanitation project on Barlonyo campus – Rotary International
  • funded 8 school Income Generating Activities [IGA’s] on Barlonyo campus – piggery, poultry, fishery, block making, goat rearing, tailoring products, carpentry products, tree nursery.

To further contribute to COHU’s cause and partake in its efforts to create a socio-economic sustainable environment, please feel to connect to Lorna Pitcher at lornapitcher@hotmail.com or you could also write to Net Impact Ryerson at netimpact@ryerson.ca. We look forward to your support!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *