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For many years, global inequalities and conflict have defined the time. Today, these inequalities are as prevalent as ever, and their focus is frequently the poorest continent on the planet, Africa, where about 20% of the world’s population lives and whose countries produce on 3.7% of the world GNP. In Uganda, a country smaller than the state of Oregon and home to 34.6 million, poverty, hunger, and disease are a daily struggle for many. The country is ranked 9th in the world for HIV/AIDS related deaths, and 52% of its citizens live on less than $1.25 per day. Sixty-seven percent of Ugandans are literate. However, men are 10% more literate than women, and only 56% of students go on to complete primary school once they begin.
Recognizing these global issues, members of the United Nations convened in 2000 and signed the Millennium Development Goals Agreement. Among their objectives were: eradicate poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; and combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases. HIV/AIDS is the most serious health problem in Uganda today and the leading cause of death for adults. About 1.5 million people (10% of the total population and 20% of sexually active men and women) are estimated to be infected with the HIV virus.
Before the United Nations’ global commitment in 2000, Miriam Gonza of Kampala, Uganda, took up the task of confronting the challenges facing affected children and families. Ms. Gonza, a homemaker, devoted all her energy, time and the little money she had to mobilize families affected by HIV/AIDS and started Women with a Mission (WOWAMI). WOWAMI is a not-for-profit organization which is now registered by the National Association of Women Organizations in Uganda (NAWOU) as No. 45/06/A.
Miriam Gonza donated land and a building for the office on her family land, just outside Kampala, Uganda. Having witnessed an exodus of children from public schools due to their inability to pay school fees and families having not enough food, Ms. Gonza looked for a way to help the most impoverished children and their widowed mothers by starting a micro entrepreneurship program. From its establishment in 1999, when the idea was conceived, until its official registration in 2002, WOWAMI has attracted 50 members and help 85 orphans. The organization has also been a sanctuary to women and children from broken homes and homes of domestic violence. WOWAMI has provided counseling, emotional support, basic needs and a place of peace.
Women with a Mission relies on members’ contributions, all people of the community who have low income themselves and are barely able to sustain their families financially. The organization started a poultry farm to boost their income and give people work. There is a readily available market for poultry products. The poultry project has been running for the last three years. They are able to rear between 100-350 birds (broilers) at any given time, depending upon the availability of finances.
A group of young people from Arusha, Tanzania and Adjoining Town Moshi Province have set up an NGO
Their aim is to establish a Resource Centre, in Arusha, from which they will work on a number of initiatives to tackle the impact of HIV/AIDS, particularly on the live on young people.
They have identified three main target groups they propose working with:
Primary School Children.
The initiative will focus on children in a small number of primary schools and Key government staff at various levels (key stakeholders). This will be achieved by working closely with key government staff such as the District Education Officers, District Medical Officers and Health Officers. It will also target primary school teachers.
HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.
This will be achieved by working closely with street children and supporting orphaned children who are being cared for by extended family networks. The number of children living rough on the streets has increased dramatically in recent years. The aim is to work with these children already on the streets and with extended families to help prevent their numbers from increasing further.
Their current plan is to develop a Resource Centre will act as a base from which the organization and the projects can be run.
The Centre will be built up over a three year period. It will provide a base from which all of the organization’s programs are being run. Eventually it will have:
- An administrative Centre for running the organization
- A drop-in Centre providing support to street children projects
- A training Centre (regular seminar rooms and ICT facilities)
Funding for the Centre will initially come from money raised by volunteers taking part in the program. Part of the money raised by volunteers will be used to cover their costs (i.e. food, accommodation). Of the balance around half will be used to build and develop the Centre whilst the other half will be used to run the program (in particular the street children project).
A small team of volunteers (maximum of 4 at a time) will be based in Arusha;
Volunteers will work at the Resource Centre. Their main activities will include:
Assisting with an after-school club / drop in Centre for HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children;
Assisting with the preparation of materials and accompanying staff working on Child to Child projects in the villages;
Assisting with the administration of the Centre, including helping to prepare fundraising proposals;
Volunteers will participate in the program throughout the year (i.e. not just in the dry season);
Volunteers will be well supported by the permanent staff of WOMEN WITH A MISSION.
Volunteers would be 'starting from scratch' - assisting in the actual set up of systems and identification of potential target groups; setting up 'Child to Child' systems and accompanying literature etc; also ICT systems - volunteers could be involved in training aspects of ICT i.e. training local people in ICT skills.
This program will particularly suit volunteers with some previous experience of organizational development, fundraising, training or health education or those looking to start a career in community development or working small charities. In view of the nature of the Program, and the limited number of places available, participation will be restricted to volunteers who can commit themselves to spending 11 or 12 weeks (depends on start date).
This program will not suit people who want a structured experience. There is little that we can guaranteed about the program other that it will provide an insight into the issues involved in running a small NGO in Africa, and as such is likely to give volunteers a fairly unique opportunity.
Before leaving home you will be provided with comprehensive pre-departure support from our Volunteer Coordinator through our extensive Travel Manuals via emails.
Once in Kenya you will be provided with a four day course introducing you to the language and culture of East African. At the end of the course you will travel with your fellow volunteers to the designated areas. In Uganda, volunteers will live in one of the villages being supported by the Program. As a group you will prepare your own meals, using food purchased on a weekly basis at the market in town. In addition to working on the projects you will have plenty of time to get involved in local life and culture. In Arusha, the smaller volunteer teams will live in specially rented houses.
You will need to budget for some spending money (for luxury items, stamps, etc.) and the cost of traveling in East Africa after you have finished in the village (with places like Maasai mara, Tsavo, Mt. Kenya, Queen Elizabeth park in Uganda and Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro and some of the best safari parks in the world its worth allowing some extra time at the end). You also will be expected to provide your own personal kit (i.e. sleeping bag, boots, and backpack) and to pay for vaccinations and anti-malarial tablets (recommendations will be provided nearer the time).
Apply to Volunteer with Women With A mission
Applications must be made using the on-line application form that is available on this site.
In order to use the application form you must first register. You can do this by going here. We have just launched a new system to manage the volunteer application process - if anything goes wrong whilst applying please contact " firstname.lastname@example.org" with details.)
On completion applications are sent first to the Volunteer Co-coordinator for initial assessment.
The next stage will be for you to be interviewed by one of our international volunteer co-coordinator. Interviews may be done on a face-to-face basis but, given the geographical spread of applicants, are more likely to be by telephone or an email questionnaire
You will be contacted, initially by email, to arrange a mutually convenient time for the interview. Therefore it is very important that when completing the application form you ensure that your email address is correct.
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