Skills Plus, Uganda is a voluntary, not for profit, Community Based Organization that was formed by persons with a vision to support, unite and promote community development in vulnerable communities in Jinja and the neighboring districts. Our goal is to promote community empowerment through building local capacities to handle HIV/AIDS prevention programmes, support and care services; handle self-help and income generating activities and education for the marginalized children. We are a voluntary, not for profit community based initiative operating in Jinja and the neighboring districts. The organization has so far mobilized over 130 members within the districts of jinja and Iganga. The majorities of these are either in subsidiary farming or involved in micro and small-scale business activities. To a great extent many are dealing in survival activities characteristics of informal sector operations. They include small holder farming, cattle keeping, market vendors, housemaids, brick making, tailoring, briquettes making (production) and handcrafts to mention but a few.
As development partners, non-governmental organizations are proving to be more effective at grass roots where government hands cannot satisfy/ reach. Skills Plus, Uganda is one of the few voluntary not for profit making organization partnering with grass roots organizations/local leaders based in the Eastern Uganda offering educational, medical and nutritional services to the rural communities as well as helping them to facilitate their social, spiritual, Educational and economical well being.
We derive our support from the valuable services of volunteers, friends, sympathizers, well-wishers, Christian and non-Christian resources as well as our dear partners in-country and abroad who offer financial, moral, educational and material support to facilitate our activities.
The founders of the initiative are much concerned about the increasing poverty levels, high prevalence rate of HIV/Aids, increasing number of orphans without any assistance, high unemployment, lack of respect of human rights and high illiteracy levels within the community. This was realized after carrying out a baseline survey in mafubira sub-county as a sample project in 2007 and the following were realized;
- Eight-nine out of every 10 homes have been affected by HIV/Aids such as increased number of orphans and family members without any assistance.
- The most vulnerable and affected are the women and children because of the African family setting yet they are the core of the households, at the centre of hunger, malnutrition, diseases, illiteracy and all other effects of poverty.
- Four out of every ten of school going age can not attend school even when there is free universal primary and secondary school seemingly because they lack scholastic requirements such as books, uniforms, school fees, meals, etc
- Even the free universal schools are few, in long distances, congested and poorly facilitated.
- Most of these disadvantaged livelihoods often fall sick but don’t get proper medical treatment because they cant afford the medical bills in the recommended hospitals/medical centers, which are often in long distances despite the fact that the roads are in poor conditions and the means of transport is expensive.
- The old going age (Elderly) is also in the centre of poverty, hunger, diseases, malnutrition, and all the other side effects of poverty as they are totally dependants.
- Four out of every ten homes are single mother/children/widow/grand headed families without any support.
- Eight out of every ten persons with disabilities (PWDs) are seen as a curse to the community/family, neglected under certain circumstances and even themselves are not aware of their rights as citizens of their mother country.
- The rate of HIV/Aids tend to increase because of the high poverty levels within the communities for instance young innocent girls are enticed with smaller items like snacks/chapattis in exchange for sex.
- Even older people going for sex end up going for unprotected sex because they can not afford to buy condoms, ignorant about condom use and the government free aided condoms are poorly distributed.
- Eight out of every ten youth have lost hope and continued being vulnerable as they are un employed, uneducated, lack life skills, lack capital to set up businesses hence resorting to agriculture which is domestic and un productive due to poor soils, poor markets of their agricultural produce, landless, etc
- Children’s rights are not properly observed in the rural communities due to ignorance of these rural livelihoods about their rights such as forcing young girls to marry at tender ages.
The majority of these community fall under the most productive age group and sexually most active. They are either employees, employer, self –employed or just a member of the wide community. It is important to note that the workplace is not separated from the community where they live although some may work in an atmosphere that is separated from the community. The relatively high financial need of some people has led to situations of sexual exploitation of women and school girls who need money because of their desperate situations and domestic demands. The exchange of gifts for sex has also added pressure on young people allowing the acquiring of HIV/ AIDs. Cited examples of women/girls pressured into sex with older men are often their sponsors. Poor feeding, inadequate housing and lack of hygiene has made HIV/AIDs infected persons even more vulnerable to AIDS related diseases.
Vision Our vision and mission is to promote community empowerment through building local capacities to their own activities for self sustainability.
Mission The mission of the initiative is to achieve an economically, self reliant and empowered community through networking with other partners in development while targeting all vulnerable groups without discrimination. Skills Plus, Uganda serves as a mobilizing, networking, information, advocacy for improved livelihoods, quality health and better education, promoting economic empowerment for community particularly women and youth to improve self-reliance, building their capacities to manage their own income generating activities.
Aim Our aim is to improve the standard of living of the marginalized groups by promoting sustainable development through provision of socio-economic activities, good health and accessing them with quality educational services.