Eyes may be a window to the soul, but it is through our mouths that we are able to express ourselves and take the decisions which guide our lives in our various communities.
Emerge for Africa is dedicated to ensuring that all people, particularly those whose circumstances have marginalised or silenced them, can lift their voice in their own lives and have a reason to smile.
An enhanced educational experience, welfare and life chances are ways that Emerge for Africa works to accomplish this goal. Each young person represents one more step towards UNESCO’s Education for All, and Emerge for Africa is honoured to work alongside young people in Uganda and beyond.
Emerge for Africa believes strongly in the idea that no child’s gender should stand in her way. No child’s life circumstances should halt her steps forward to her education and future.
In Uganda, where youth are the backbone of a quickly growing country, one detriment to a girl’s life chances is early pregnancy. If statistics were to introduce us to one hundred women and girls, 57 of them would have given birth before their 16th birthday. We would meet 22 girls who became mums before age 14, when they were children themselves. If the physical challenges of carrying a pregnancy for such young mums were not enough, the withdrawal of critical social and economic support due to the stigma is particularly harmful. From 12-18, girls most need the kind of social networks, skills development, and encouragement that access to a holistic education can provide to build their futures. However, it is at this critical juncture that young mums are in fact least likely to access those opportunities if they are not barred from them altogether.
Emerge for Africa is addressing this situation by leveraging the strength of these young mums and the very social support and training they are denied by their situation.
Our Mentor a Mum (MAM) project puts young mums in a position to take decisions about their own futures and those of their children.The MAM project engages with pregnant girls and young mothers through 'Safe Learning Spaces' at different locations, four afternoons per week, where young mothers are presented with three educational options, including our Alternative Education Programmes (tailored courses and training) if they do not wish or are unable to re-enter formal education.
Designed to be holistic and sustainable, the MAM project cultivates collaboration amongst young mums who are often isolated by social stigma. No matter which option mums choose, young mums are accompanied by trained local mentors and participate in the foundational Literacy and Numeracy and as well as Life Skills programmes. Utilising their newly honed skills, after one year young mums serve as mentors to mums just entering the programme. With this sustainable design in place, MAM can reach over 1000 mums in the first year with costs reducing by half after the first 18 months.
To date, we have fully operational premises in the Masaka district in partnership with ELITE-U (Education and Literacy Transformation Efforts Uganda) [Photos 1 to 8], and in the Wakiso District in partnership with CfEP (Centre for Equity Promotion, East Africa) [Photos 9 to 13].
20 young mothers have already enrolled in our Literacy and Numeracy programme in the Masaka district, with their number growing weekly.
However, remember the 100 mums we were introduced to before? The MAM project has the potential for widespread impact if it is scaled up with appropriate resources to reach young mums across Masaka District and Wakiso District. We cannot wait to see smiles on the faces of these young mums as they access the holistic education and go on to life chances that could never have been theirs. We cannot wait to hear their voices. Can you?
We welcome any kind of contributions that will allow us to reach more young mums aged 12 to 18 by opening access to our Safe Learning Spaces and mentoring.
Remember that all donations are tax deductible. Do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you wish to receive an official Donation Receipt for tax purposes. Beautiful handmade rewards for those who contribute!
Thank you in advance for supporting our cause.
Emerge For Africa's Team
(For further information about us and our activities in Uganda, please visit www.emergeforafrica.org)