“A story is told of a family where a husband gives his wife only 5000 UG Shillings at home for usage. This family also has four girl children, where one of them needs a sanitary towel at a cost of 3500 UG Shillings. The girl does not work as she is young and just hit her puberty, neither does the mother work. But the 5000 UG shillings is for food. If sanitary towels are bought, then what shall the family eat? Before you know it, children and women are using unhygienic and unhealthy means like the insertion of rags in their private areas, using all sorts of cloths and material, and in the long run, these methods backfire and sooner or later, result into menstrual health constraints, reproductive health problems, among other illnesses. This is where Ashwa Uganda comes in. The organization runs workshops in different villages both within and outside Busia municipality, teaching women how to make these re-usable sanitary towels. Think for a second. Is this only a necessity for the girl child and women in the remote villages of Uganda? No. Not at all, considering the fact that even within Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, many scenarios of this sort are still happening whether the women are coming together to address them or not.” – Now you know.
But hey, that’s not all there is: It’s not the core. Here’s
The What, Where, when, why’s and How’s you should know.
Ashwa is a short form to mean Alliance for Sustainable Health and Wealth in Africa. Ashwa Uganda is a Community Based Organisation, also it is a non- governmental, non-profit and it is a Voluntary Organization that was started in October 2015 with an aim of transforming lives or rather, making better livelihoods in the community.
Ashwa’s Vision, mission and goal as per the strategic plan/ the year 2018-2021 are as follows:
Goal: To improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups in Uganda in a well-organized and competent way by 2021.
Ashwa also has four major areas of concern which are;
- Health and care
Under this, segments like SRHR – HIV/AIDS interventions, TB, Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), Advocacy, Teenage pregnancy, WASH- Water harvesting, Sanitation HH, schools, Hygiene Promotion, MCHN- Malaria, Immunisation, and Nutrition are covered.
- Education and ODEV children support which involves (Sponsorships, Child protection, street children reach out and Co-curricular activities)
- Livelihood and Community development under which is (Agribusiness, Income Generating Activities, Entrepreneurship, development and yoga)
- Peace Promotion and Human Security: This intends to cover Peacebuilding, Cross-border collaboration, Gender-based Violence, Outbreaks, and Disaster. However, this is a new area.
Ashwa believes that through such interventions in people’s lives, the organisation is able to transform people’s lives and give them a more sustainable livelihood. How these areas of concern especially in Health are covered, is that Ashwa ensures that its teams and volunteers go out to local governments, communities and schools, to sensitize the people about various health concerns like mentioned above, and in case of challenges, how best the people can go about solution generation and problem-solving in general. Activities like condom distribution are also done in bars, motels and together with other partners, Ashwa does HIV testing.
Ashwa accepts individuals to work with them, as long as that individual knows what he or she can do. This is in regards to the skill set, passion, among other factors. The organization in most cases does not look first at Academic Qualifications, as it believes that sometimes, some people are more competitive, productive, passionate, and ready to learn and, for servant-leadership as compared to their Academician counterparts. The organisation also believes that everyone is naturally gifted with something different from others, and would thus love to create an opportunity for people from all walks of life.
Ashwa is partnering with a number of organizations in order to be able to fully implement all of its projects. In Health, the organisation is partnering with TASO- UDA. In Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR), Ashwa is partnering IPAS an International body that is behind the sensitization of communities on family planning, abortion stigmas, Male and female sexual rights, the LGBTQ communities etcetera.
- Impact: Ashwa values accountability and monitors its work to ensure a positive health change at all levels.
- Commitment: Ashwa commits to working with urgency and commitment to be successful from individual and organisational perspectives.
- Honesty and transparency: Ashwa says – ‘we are open and honest in all we do, open in our communication, maintain the highest degree of integrity at all times, and ready to be held accountable for the effectiveness of our actions.’
- Equity and justice. ASHWA will work to ensure equal opportunity for everyone, irrespective of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, disability, location and religion. We value equity, intentionally prioritizing policies and strategies to reach the poorest communities
Other values include; professionalism, personal development, teamwork and mutual respect, openness, local experience and knowledge, and participation of civil society in Ashwa’s engagements.
Now that you know about Ashwa Uganda, stay on the lookout for next posts concerning this organization, its founder, volunteers, partnerships, and so much more! Next post on Monday!