After another busy period, with a number of successful visits to our partners in Africa, it is easy to forget that travel only resumed in March this year after a two year gap. In the last quarter, our team has travelled to Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia to support the delivery of current projects, as well as engage in the design and development of exciting new ones.
In September 2022, the team visited our long-term partner, Uganda Society for Disabled Children (USDC) to plan the delivery of two projects, visiting the northern Ugandan towns of Lira and Nebbi.
In Lira, our project supports the individual learning needs of 60 children with disabilities through the use of Individualised Learning Plans (ILPs). The aim is to boost the educational attainment of children with disabilities in primary school, whilst also seeking to build the evidence base on the effectiveness of ILPs to facilitate government uptake of them more widely in Ugandan primary schools. The team met with teachers delivering the ILPs in their schools and learnt how to improve the design of the tool to better support children with disabilities.
In Nebbi, our Inclusive Early Childhood Education Project – funded by Comic Relief – has set up 18 community learning centres across Nebbi and Adjumani districts in the northwest of Uganda which are providing pre-primary education to hundreds of children with and without disabilities, learning equally together. The trip provided important insights into the project which are now being used to improve the design of the curriculum as we enter the third year of funding.
Able Child Africa received a grant from Euromoney to deliver a three-year programme of work with our Rwandan partner, UWEZO. This programme specifically responds to multiple risks of abuse and neglect that children with disabilities face, in addition to the lack of appropriate mechanisms to prevent, report and respond to child protection cases for children with disabilities. The project’s holistic approach seeks to ensure that children with disabilities, as the children most at risk of neglect and abuse, can equitably access child protection systems.
The team travelled to Kigali to co-deliver project activities with UWEZO and met with the 12 young people with disabilities who will act as mentors and key implementers of the programme’s activities. The Able Child Africa and UWEZO teams worked together to finalise the project’s set-up, and to co-deliver a four-day inception training for the project’s mentors which covered mentoring, disability inclusive child safeguarding, child protection and positive parenting. We were pleased to see how the project had been initially set up and with the excellent processes which UWEZO have in place to manage the project effectively on the ground.
In September 2022 we started a new programme in Zambia, funded by Vitol Foundation. Working work our Zambian partner ZAPCD, we are implementing a 3-year inclusive early childhood education programme to support young children with disabilities to have greater access to quality, inclusive education. This programme involves working with children, parents, schools, communities, and the Zambian government in order to overcome the barriers that children with disabilities face in accessing the early childhood education which is essential for their development.
In order to support with the set-up of this new programme, the team travelled to Lusaka. During the visit we worked closely with the ZAPCD team, met with other organisations involved with the programme and also had the opportunity to visit one of ZAPCD’s Parent Support Groups. The Parent Support Groups are an amazing resource for parents of children with disabilities, where they can come together, share information and advice and help each other to support and advocate for their children’s rights. We were really happy to meet such inspirational parents on the visit, and are looking forward to seeing all the positive results of this new programme over the next 3 years.