Dear Aninga Project Supporters,
It has been too long!
The Aninga Project teams in Canada and Uganda have been very busy over the last number of months and we think that an update is overdue.
To begin with, our girls are doing great. We have five girls in elementary and secondary school at this point and we are happy to report that they are all doing well. We are also proud to report that two of our girls have graduated from high school – Aninga and Viola – and we are currently investigating additional funding sources for their post-secondary endeavours. This will mark a new chapter for our organization.
The Aninga Project is very proud of the work that we have done to date. We have been extremely successful in supporting Ugandan girls throughout their elementary and secondary studies. The seven girls who we are supporting have been in safe, supportive school environments since we began funding them; this is a true rarity for girls in Uganda. With this in mind, we have been working extremely hard to find ways to expand our organization responsibly and sustainably without jeopardizing either the work that we have done to date or the integrity of our organization.
In our last update I shared that we have been looking at various options that would allow us to grow responsibly without increasing the burden on our Ugandan volunteers. One of those options would be partnering with other compatible organizations. I am very happy to report that after a year of netWORKing we found a well-established grassroots NGO in Kampala with whom we are currently negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding. We are hoping that this MOU will allow us to provide greater support for the girls who we are currently funding; keep our donors and supporters better informed of our operations through frequent data collection; and also allow us to support more girls in the future. In addition, it will give our Canadian team more time to focus on fundraising initiatives to fuel our expanding operations in Uganda.
This past week has been truly remarkable in bringing the need to educate girls to light on the world stage.
Thursday July 12th was World Population Day (#WorldPopDay) and the focus this year was on Adolescent Pregnancy. The UN reports that 90% of the pregnant adolescents in the developing world are married but that pregnancy has little to do with informed choice. Uganda has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world. By supporting girls in attaining their education in Uganda we are assisting them in being able to plan their future families. We are providing them with an education and a safe environment that their families (if alive) cannot. We are encouraging elders to see them as individuals and not simply potential commodities. Most importantly we are helping to instill values like dignity, respect and empowerment in young women who otherwise likely would not hear or understand such terms.
Another important event on the theme of educating girls was the UN declaring July 13th as Malala Day. Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban on a school bus in October, spent her 16th birthday addressing the UN Youth Assembly with a speech advocating for universal education, particularly for girls. This extremely brave girl has taken her tragic circumstance and used it as a platform to focus the attention of the world on the issues of girl child education and global access to education.
With days like World Population Day and Malala Day popping up on the UN calendar more frequently, we are trying to use them as opportunities to discuss The Aninga Project’s work and our contribution to empowering and educating girls who would not otherwise have such access. Not only do these days give us a chance to talk about the great work that we do (who doesn’t love bragging about themselves?!) but they also allow individuals and other organizations to see us in a more global context, contributing to the solution of a much bigger problem than the education of our girls.
In this light we are moving towards establishment of a Web Task Force. One of our biggest supporters gave us the inspiration to create a web task force to help us garner support through social media. The Web Task Force will be re-tweeting and re-posting messages from The Aninga Project’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and will also seek opportunities for us to showcase our organization online. It does not cost anything and will not take very much of your time but it has the potential to make a big difference! If you are interested please send us an email, Facebook message or Tweet.
Thank you so much for your time, consideration and support and I hope that everyone has a safe and happy summer.