Bega kwa Bega Supports Education Projects in Uganda

Bega kwa Bega Supports Education Projects in Uganda

Education is one of the primary areas of Bread and Water for Africa® partner, Bega kwa Bega (BkB) work in Uganda.

One of the important education projects that BkB does is to provide textbooks and reading materials to schools in remote areas of the country.

“During 2018 and 2019 this was done in collaboration with two other organizations – Bread and Water for Africa® and Books for Africa,” stated BkB founder and director Conche McGarr who founded the organization in 1998.

Bega kwa Bega means “Shoulder to Shoulder in Kiswahili, and that is exactly what Bread and Water for Africa®, BkB and BFA have been doing for the past two years providing more than 22,000 books to 177 schools benefiting 54,878 students and 2,297 teachers – and that is in 2019 alone.

The way our partnership works is that BFA collected the books ordered by BkB, sorted them by category, packaged them and placed the books into a 40-foot sea-container. They also arranged all the shipping and government documents to get the books to Uganda.

Teachers attending a training in Uganda

Thanks to our supporters, Bread and Water for Africa® assumes the cost of actually shipping the books where they are received by BkB for distribution to the schools.

But BkB does more than simply give out books, the organization conducts periodic free Teacher Development Workshops where teachers from the rural schools attend and attend workshops and provided instructions on how to use the books and include them in their lesson plans.

During the four-day workshop in August, registration was limited to 100 trainees, but demand was so great that it was increased to more than 110 teachers who received training in topics including child development, how children learn, daily writing activities for students, effective teaching methods, math, and more.

Students using new textbooks in Uganda

Upon “graduation,” each teacher received a certificate of completion, at least two boxes containing hundreds of books and an assortment of teaching supplies.

“Thank you so much, this project could not have been done without your help and support,” said Conche. “Special thanks to the management, staff and supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, Books for Africa and Bega kwa Bega for their help and consideration.”

Let There Be Light for Lerato

Let There Be Light for Lerato

At the Lerato Children’s Home in Zimbabwe, schoolchildren do their homework in the evenings by the light of kerosene lamps which are widely used for lighting in rural areas of Africa where there is no electricity.

Not only does the low light damage the children’s eyes, but exposure to the kerosene fumes can cause toxicity if inhaled and may cause respiratory irritation, as well as being irritating to the eyes and skin, according to the World Health Organization.

In fact, acute and chronic exposure to kerosene may result in CNS effects including drowsiness, convulsions, coma, and even death, according to the WHO.

Kerosene is also an extremely volatile, flammable liquid that can quickly cause an out-of-control fire if a burning lantern is knocked off a table.

The orphaned and abandoned children and youth ages 3 to 18 who have been living at Lerato since it was founded in 2016 know how fortunate they are to have found a loving home operated by long-time Bread and Water for Africa® partner Margaret Makambira, executive director of the Shinga Development Trust.

Boy outside Lerato Children's Home in Zimbabwe get Solar Panels

At Lerato they have the basic necessities of life to be healthy and thrive, and are grateful to have the opportunity to go to school.

In the evenings after they have eaten their dinner by the light of a kerosene lantern, there is nothing more these dedicated students want to do is to be able to study and read – but under the dim light their young eyes are easily strained.

Zimbabwe is currently facing its worst economic crisis in 10 years. According to the International Monetary Fund, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate from August 2018 through August 2019 was at 300 percent, the highest in the world.

This summer, Zimbabwe experienced what has been described as “an economic and social meltdown” with the Zimbabwean dollar in freefall and the Reserve Bank printing excessive amounts of money. Meanwhile, there are acute shortages of water, fuel, and electricity across the country where power cuts of up to 18 hours a day have destroyed daily life and what little is left of manufacturing. Residents and businesses are experiencing 18-hour blackouts daily, and Lerato is no exception

So what’s the solution? Solar panels on the roof of the children’s home, says Margaret.

Even the Zimbabwean government is seeing the light after earlier this year removing barriers to solar energy expansion by removing import duties on solar-energy related products – and even mandating that all new construction in the country include solar systems to address power shortages such as what is happening there today.

After partnering with Shinga to construct the Lerato Children’s Home, Margaret turned once again to Bread and Water for Africa® for help in having solar panels installed on the roof of the building ensuring that the children there would have plenty of bright light in the evening to do their homework, instead of straining their eyes to read and do their homework.

The cost is $2,700, a large amount of money in the impoverished country where inflation is rampant, but a small sum when considered what it will purchase – free unlimited electricity for the children at the Lerato Children’s Home.

Our goal is to raise these funds by the end of the month and we are asking you today to contribute what you can – it’s past time for the children of Lerato to be studying by the light of the 21st century, not the 19th century.

22,000 Books on the Way to Ethiopia to Provide Knowledge to Tens of Thousands Eager to Learn

22,000 Books on the Way to Ethiopia to Provide Knowledge to Tens of Thousands Eager to Learn

In the Bahir Dar region of Ethiopia, there are 31,904 boys and girls attending primary and preparatory schools and are in desperate need of current text and reference books.

And thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® 22,000 books in a 40-foot shipping container are on the way.

Bahir Dar University, a public university founded 56 years ago, is among the most prestigious in the country, is partnering with Bread and Water for Africa® to distribute the books to 20 schools in three different towns.

“Although these 20 schools have libraries, they are not fully furnished with contemporary books that would expand students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes,” says Bahir Dar University spokesperson Abiy Menkir Gizaw. “As their libraries are not fully furnished, students are not using the libraries as expected. With the coming of these books, it is expected that the number of students using the libraries will increase significantly.”

Executive Director Visits Partners in Kenya and Uganda; Seeks Potential Additional Ones

Executive Director Visits Partners in Kenya and Uganda; Seeks Potential Additional Ones

Bread and Water for Africa® Executive Director Beth Tessema recently returned from an extended visit to Kenya to meet with Phyllis Keino, our international spokesperson and founder and director of the Lewa Children’s Home, to evaluate its progress and conduct a needs assessment.

From there Beth visited Uganda where she evaluated forming potential new partnerships with children’s homes and brought Phyllis with her “because she knows how children’s homes should be managed and can quickly evaluate whether there is a good standard of care at a children’s home.”

While she was in the country, she also visited our current partner Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder) which Bread and Water for Africa® has worked with to support its education program through the donation of books.

In the past two years, Bread and Water for Africa® has provided 44,000 books to Bega kwa Bega which distributed them to 120 impoverished rural schools benefiting more than 15,000 students.

In addition, Beth visited its organic farming training center and the farm manager who is very well educated in organic farming methods and is a strong advocate for food sufficiency at both the family and community levels.

Beth came away very impressed in the training center, which is used by Makerera University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in all of Africa, as an organic farming internship facility.

And she was equally impressed with the model farming sites she visited where she met farmers who are being trained in the best ways to make use of their very small plots of land utilizing every spot possible and learning to plant and harvest throughout the year using crop rotation among other things.

“The Bega kwa Bega program is a great example of how food self-sustainability at a grassroots level benefits family and, eventually, whole communities,” Beth commented. “It is always true that when every family’s needs are met at the grassroots level, the whole community changes.”