What we do
The problem PELI-U seeks to address
PeerLink Initiative Uganda (PELI-U) works to contribute to efforts to address the challenges of low literacy levelas and a poor reading culture, unemployment and youth sexual reproductive health related challenges by implementing the following:
A: Strengthening the Nyarushanje Community Library and Empowerment Center Program
Nyarushanje Community Library and Empowerment Center was set up by PeerLink Initiative Uganda (PELI-U in 2013 with support from MISEREOR Germany. The library and empowerment center serves as a one stop point through which children, youth and community members access information, education services, vocational skills training, sexual reproductive health education and linkage to health service providers.
Ongoing initiatives under Nyarushanje Community library and empowerment center include:
Library Scholar Reading Program 2019-2020
This a one year project under implementation by PeerLink Initiative Uganda (PELI-U) in four parishes (Bwanga, Nyabushenyi, Kisiizi and Ibanda), Nyarushanje Subcounty, Rubabo County, Rukungiri District. The project is supported by Pace Able Foundation. The project targets parents/care takers, primary school pupils, school administration and management and teachers. The goal of the program is to promote a culture of literacy in households, schools and communities. Project activities include weekly household based reading sessions, provision of reading materials and promoting household improvement activities (hygine and sanitation). The school based activities include provision of a reading scholarship to 20 primary school pupils selected from primary 2, engaging school stakeholders in dialogue over literacy promotion, guiding schools on setting up functional libraries/reading spaces and encouraging schools to put in place a supportive environment for reading.
School outreaches: Under this PELI-U is working with 14 community based primary schools to implement school based reading promotion activities. These include lobbying and advocating for inclusion of a weekly reading hour in the school schedules with school administration and management, providing reading materials, working with teachers to facilitate the reading hour, coordinating spell bee competitions, revolving book bank activity and stakeholder capacity building on reading promotion and improvement in schools.
Early Child Care and Development (ECCD) initiatives focuses on education activities that target 2 to 8 year old children aiming at reaching out to them during the stage of growth where children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them. We will focus on activities that aim at holistic development of children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs. These activities include but are not limited to drawing and painting, music dancing and singing, blocks, jigsaws, running, jumping, climbing and swinging, basic board games.
Read and Play Children’s Activity: This is a weekend readingprogram forchildren aged 3 – 10 held on Saturday afternoon. It entails engaging children in a reading hour held in the children’s library where children read silently individually. After the reading the library facilitators engage the children in a reflection session where the children share their experiences and lessons. Then the children are taken through another hour of play where they are taken through different games and sports ( football, volleyball, playing with toys, legos, sack race, face painting, tag of war, hoop rope, swings, bouncing castle).
Read and Dance Children’s Activity: This is a weekend readingprogram forchildren aged 3 – 10 held on Sunday afternoon. It entails engaging children in a reading hour held in the children’s library where children read silently individually. After the reading the library facilitators engage the children in a reflection session where the children share their experiences and lessons. Then the children are taken through another hour of dance where they are taken through African indigenous dance, twist, waltz and hip hop. Add picture
Early Child Care and development (ECCD) day. This day brings together children aged 2-8 and their parents/care takers. They engage in a wide range of social interaction activities (play, dance, story- telling, reading, parenting skills sessions for parents).
There are 8 parish/community based satellite libraries ( Kisiizi, Bwanga, Nyabushenyi, Bunono, Burora, Ihunga, Ndago and Ruyonza in Nyarushanje Subcounty. These libraries are linked to PeerLink Initiative Uganda’s (PELI-U)’s main library Nyarushanje Community Library and Empowerment Center a one stop point that provides holistic services in the field of education, health and socio economic empowerment to Nyarushanje Subcounty community members. The idea of starting satellite libraries was derived out of distant community members’ desire to access library services offered by Nyarushanje community library and empowerment center. The community members donated space in each community setting (parish) and had community members volunteering as staff (community based library volunteer coordinators). The community based volunteer library coordinators identify library space, operate the day to day activities of the library, participate in monthly library meetings for coordinators, publicise library activities in their respective communities and lobby and advocate for a reading hour in their respective community schools’ schedule once a week. Through the satellite libraries children, youth and community members from the 8 parishes of Nyarushanje Subcounty access reading materials and other services offered by PELI-U.
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Cultural Library Unit: Through the cultural library unit Uganda and Kigezi region indigenous cultural artefacts are collected, documented and preserved for future use. Other cultural related activities such as around the fire sessions, elder-children dialogue sessions and an annual cultural gala are organized. During the cultural gala community members exhibit different indigenous cultural foods, cold and hot beverages, seeds, herbs and medicine, dressing code, music, dance and drama, household utensils, proverbs, riddles and fold tales. The aim of the cultural library unit activities is to preserve indigenous culture for future generations.
Youth Corner Unit: This unit was set up by in and out of school youth as a space in the library through which the youth can access sexual reproductive health information and engage in dialogue session on the challenges of growth and development that they face. Through this section the youth access information on menstruation and menstrual hygiene, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and existing support structure and referral pathways.
Candidates Days: These are four days (2 days in May holiday and 2 days in September holiday) organised during school holidays that bring together learners in primary and secondary pre-candidate and final year (primary six & seven, senior 3 & 4 and senior 5 & 6) to learn collectively and prepare for final exams. The students converge at Nyarushanje community library and empowerment center and some of the satellite libraries. On this day candidates interact with different subject teacher facilitators who guide them on how to prepare for the final exams. They also access reading materials and interact with students from different schools sharing notes, tips and experiences.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) resource unit. Through the ICT resource unit students, teachers and out of school youth skills development trainees are equipped with computer literacy skills, access internet and link and coordinate with other students and teachers. We work with primary school teachers to type their notes and turn their subject content notes from handwritten to soft copy materials. We then print and share the materials with children in households utilizing the community libraries structure. The teachers are also trained in the use of participatory learner centered methods of teaching and learning. Students and out of school youth are trained on how to integrate ICT in their day to day lives (writing curriculum vitaes, letter writing, application writing, presentation, participating in zoom meetings, sending emails etc).
B: Skills Development Training The skills development training is an 8 month training that focuses on providing vocational and technical skills training to out of school youth in the fields of tailoring, multimedia art and crafts, catering, baking and housekeeping, entrepreneurship and job readiness skills.
Alongside the mainstream skills development training PELI-U provides staff and trainees with skills training in liquid soap and sanitizer making as part of improving sanitation and hygiene at organizational level and household level. The trainees are also trained in environmental conservation, nutrition and gardening and tasked to set up vegetable, fruit and environmental friendly trees in their homes.
PELI-U runs a tailoring production unit that is linked to the training and run by the alumni trainees. Through the tailoring production unit PELI-U produces assorted bags which are sold and the proceeds are used to procure materials to train more out of school youth and facilitate production staff. The tailoring production unit was transformed into a mask making as a result of Covid19 pandemic. PELI-U intensified the production of liquid soap and sanitizer that have been distributed to key service providers (health center workers, boda boda riders, shop keepers, District and Subcounty task force, prison and police units, religious institutions and teachers).
C: Sexual Reproductive Health/HIV/AIDS Program:
Through the Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH)/HIV/AIDS Program PeerLink works to equip youth with knowledge and skills to enable them cope with sexual reproductive health challenges/challenges related to growth and development. This is done through enhancing the capacity of education stakeholders (school administration and management, teachers), parents/care takers to provide sexual reproductive health education and supportive environment for children and youth in schools, communities and in households. Through this program health service providers are also trained to deliver youth friendly services. The capacity of PELI-U staff and volunteers to deliver quality sexual reproductive health education and linkage to service provision is enhanced.
Activities under this program include SRH dialogue sessions with school administrators and management, dialogue sessions with parents and health workers, strengthening the youth corner, radio based SRH sensitization sessions and SRH training workshops for teachers. SRH sensitization seminars for in and out of school youth, training peer educators, organising a youth health camp, training in making of reusable sanitary pads are also held. PELI-U staff and volunteers are trained in SRH, child protection and sexual and gender based violence prevention and management.
D: Get on Board with Campus Life Project: This is an annual event that brings together first year University/tertiary institutions students and engages them in a dialogue session to brainstorm and share information on how they can prepare and cope with university/tertiary education institution life. The event focuses on a wide range of topics that include a dialogue session on the sexual reproductive health challenges faced by fresh university students and coping strategies, highlights from various employers on what employers want/look for, tips on excelling at campus and community service participation/volunteering while at campus. The students are also taken through employability and soft skills (cv writing, job application, ICT skills training, communication skills, team work, interpersonal skills and customer care, multitasking, problem solving, adaptability, phone etiquette, creativity and reliability. The students are provided with information on the existing support structures.
E: Institutional Strengthening
PELI – U focused on building a strong institution able to provide quality sustainable services. PELI-U team engages in resource mobilization so as to increase her financial base. Team leadership sessions are ongoing aiming at building a strong team engaged in collaborative leadership for better management and sustainability. PELI-U team is engaged in strategic plan review, policy review and operationalization, continuous staff capacity building and learning, networking and partnership building. The team is focusing on mobilizing financial resource to build a community library and empowerment center complex which will create organizational stability.
PELI-U Covid19 response
In March 2020 Uganda was hit by the corona virus pandemic just like the rest of the world and everything came to a standstill. Amidst the turmoil that came with corona virus PeerLink Initiative Uganda (PELI-U made a number of changes and adjustments. We have continued to navigate the delicate situation and reach out to the community members that we serve.
Our covid-19 response highlights include sensitization of village health teams (VHTs) and provision of information, education and communication (IEC) materials in English and Rukiga.
We have produced masks through our tailoring production unit, produced liquid soap and hand sanitizer which have been distributed to key service providers providers such as district task force, health center workers, VHTs, subcounty administration, staff, police and prisons unit, boda boda riders, shops keepers, PELI-U staff and volunteers and household members. Washing soap has been distributed to households and tippy taps hand washing points set up in households. Households were provided with essential commodities (food stuffs, maize meal, beans and sugar).
Through our education program PELI-U is empowering and guiding parents/care takers to facilitate household based reading activities in households through engaging in the reading sessions with their children, holding oral literature transmission sessions and guiding children in reading story books and school curriculum notes and learning materials. We have selected children readers from reading A to Z online reading program and African story books website, printed and distributed to households. We are translating story books from English to Rukiga (local area mother tongue) and distributing to households and satellite libraries.
Nyarushanje community library and empowerment center is lending books from the library to school children who are at home during this lock down. We have printed harmonized and standardized self-study packages for core subjects for primary and secondary learners. We are supporting Form Six leavers to submit their applications to tertiary education institutions (universities and colleges) online.