African Evangelistic Enterprise Uganda (AEE-U) with support from Stromme Foundation is implementing a five-year program (2019- 2023) in Busoga region aimed at improving the livelihoods and education of communities. This is in order to realize transformative social action as one of our key strategic areas of focus. This programme has a specific focus on vulnerable groups such as out of school youths (boys and girls), men, women and disabled persons. The program is being implemented in Luuka and Mayuge districts. These districts have a combined total population of 722,100 people (2012 population census). The program interventions include Bonga groups, Bonga forum groups, Gender Integrated Basic Education(GIBE), Technical Vocational Education training (TVET), Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Community Managed Savings Groups (CMSG), Civil Society Organization (CSO), Covid-19 management intervention and Together For Inclusion(TOFI).

The Bonga project targets out of school adolescent girls and boys between 13-19 years. It equips them with social skills and numeracy, reading and writing skills. The program also empowers the students economically through vocational skills training programs.

Gender Integrated Basic Education (GIBE) is a new project which is being rolled out targeting pupils from Primary Three to Primary Seven with the main aim of ensuring a gender responsive school environment.

Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) Project targets poor out of school young people aged between 20-30 years aimed at equipping them with quality, relevant and appropriate skills training in different trades to enable them work in the formal economy hence improving their livelihoods.

Community Managed Savings Groups (CMSG). Community Managed Savings Groups (CMSG) aim at improving the livelihood of the poor in Busoga through enhanced income generation through local savings groups.

Civil Society Organization: This is aimed at building the capacity of the local civil society organizations in the program area so that they provide quality service to the beneficiaries.

Covid-19 management intervention: Uganda reported its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020. The government of Uganda responded by putting in place several measures in order to contain the pandemic. The Busoga program compliments government efforts by working with local government health officials to sensitize communities about COVID-19 prevention measures and also encourage them to go for immunization.

Together For Inclusion (TOFI). The TOFI project aims at addressing barriers to inclusion and facilitates change for persons with disability using the twin track approach that focuses on changing the education system. It also aims at changing the child on one hand and economically empowering people with disabilities through savings groups on the other hand.

Programs such as Bonga project have seen a number of youths get life skills including Sarah Kampi.

Sarah is a 19-year-old mother of three. She is a residence of Nakisenyi village, Masaka district in Busoga region. Because of the survival hardship in Sarah’s village, she became focused on farming to supplement on the household incomes by contributing to food supplies.

Being a woman who desired to see an improvement in her life and way of living for her family, Sarah joined the Bonga Program in 2021 together with 340 other out-of-school girls in the village (120 girls and 220 boys. Through the daily life skills sessions, she became vocal on the issue of early marriage. She even confessed that she regretted getting married at a young age and shared with her colleagues some of the challenges faced in such marriages. She is proud that Bonga has empowered her with public speaking skills and confidence which has enabled her to share her experience and express herself more freely. Being an ambitious lady, Sarah and 5 other girls opted to take on piggery farming as a trade in order to become financially independent.  They set up a pigsty on Sarah’s compound and Bonga project offered them 4 piglets as a start-up. The group’s main aim is to become the biggest piggery farm in Luuka district.

While Sarah and her friends are realizing their dreams, there are still hundreds out-of-school students who are struggling to survive and only dreams of any changes coming to their lives.