Outreach Uganda began its activities in August 2007 when it began working with two groups of Ugandan women totaling about 90. Most of these women were Acholi women from northern Uganda who had either been displaced because of 20 years of internal war or who had lived in IDP camps during the war which ended about this same time.
To help these women, we determined that we would focus on helping them rebuild their lives using a holistic approach that addressed their need for training and generating income while also needing to access many sorts of resources to address health, medical, housing and other needs. Our initial efforts focused on marketing craft items that the women were making, and on helping them get their children back in school.
During 2008 and 2009 we expanded our craft marketing efforts, and also provided training to the women in the areas of English, literacy, computer and internet skills, bead making skills, tailoring and tie dyeing skills, and leadership and management training for the groups. This training was key so the women could govern themselves as well as begin operating their own small businesses to allow them to become self-sufficient.
Once we developed a successful model of intervention with the existing groups, we were ready to expand our model to more women. So in 2010 we began a third women's group in a rural northern Uganda area which had less access to resources. Cash crop agriculture is the most profitable business activity in this area.
In this northern Uganda location, we are working with the entire community of over 5000 people in 5 villages. We are assisting with the parent supported primary school which currently has over 500 students, 18 trained teachers and 8 support staff. In order to improve the women's lives, we have also helped the community develop its long-term community development plan, and in 2013, begin its own health clinic. We currently provide funding for two nurses at this clinic as well as provide a large portion of the clinic medicines.
During 2013 to 2021, we have been focusing on continued implementation and expansion of the above efforts, while also emphasizing sending all children to school and especially keeping older primary age girls in school. We want our students to excel in their studies, not just show up. We currently have over 150 girls in our girls' education program in northern Uganda.
We are very excited that a sense of normalcy has returned to Uganda in 2022 and that the school year was a "normal" school year where both students and teachers could begin to catch up on their learning and teaching activities. We were excited that OU's President and on teacher volunteer were able to resume volunteer activities in 2022 during their 6 week visit in August/September 2022. Because of food shortages, and high fuel and food prices, the school began growing crops at the school compound to help supplement the school food supply. We had over 56 6th grade students boarding at school to help in catching up on lost study time during 2020 and 2021.
With our first women's group located in Jinja, Uganda, we have been working on a home ownership project which will allow many of the women who meet eligibility requirements to own their own home and move out of the slums forever. We drilled a water well on the property in May 2018. We hope to begin home building with a first phase of 5 homes during 2023.