Etatu identifies and supports the families and individuals who aspire to improve their lives but lack the resources to do so effectively.
Unemployment in Msambweni is high and prospects are few but Etatu strives to help by improving achievement at school and developing important skills that might be useful to employers or for starting a business.
It is vital that people find sustainable ways to support themselves, particularly as the life of a subsistence farmer or fisherman is precarious. Many shambas owners (smallholders) are under immense pressure to sell their most important asset; their land. Measures which improve the livelihood and prospects of smallholders are therefore invaluable.
Etatu aspires to set up enterprise initiatives which not only provide employment or secure an income for small holders but which also simultaneously improve education. A solar light business is an example.
A Home Grown School Feeding Programme links the provision of school meals with local small-scale farmer production. Smallholder farmers and owners of ‘shambas’, grow food for the local school children – in economic terms, they benefit from access to a market with a stable, structured, and predictable demand. The process can also create jobs for anyone involved in getting the food from the field to the classroom, such as the cooks, many of whom are women.
Such a programme would improve educational achievement. Healthy, well-fed children learn better. For some, it means the difference between attendance and absenteeism. ‘When I was a boy, I skipped school in most afternoons as I was going around and around looking anywhere for food’’ (Salim of the Mwaembe jigger-free clinic.)
The importance of school meals is clearly explained by the charity ‘Mary’s Meals’:
Many girls skip up to 20% of the school year because they cannot afford to buy mainstream sanitary products when they menstruate. This deliberate absenteeism and interruption to education has significant consequences on a girl’s achievement.
Etatu provides re-usable sanitary pads to the girls it sponsors, girls at Msambweni Primary School and the Msambweni Orphans’ Programme. We would like to do more.
‘Afripads’ is a wonderful organisation working in Uganda. Low-cost reusable pads are made locally, giving families the opportunity to work, raise an income, send their children to school. At the same time the pads provide all school girls with an affordable, environmentally friendly way to manage their menstruation, their work and their schooling. This further improves their academic achievement and ultimately, their future.
Etatu is working to develop an initiative of this kind in Msambweni.
Etatu has distributed 500 solar lights within Mwaembe. We are developing a sustainable business, whereby solar lights are made available across the wider area of Msambweni in a model which is preferable to a reliance on charitable donations only.
How your donation can help
£25 employs the tailor to make school uniforms, providing income for one family.
£40 funds a place on a business planning workshop
£200 sponsors a vocational training course for a year