The Youth and Women Empowerment (YAWE) Foundation won two awards including the overall accolade at the NSSF Torch Awards which were held at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel on Thursday.
It won the award for Health Project for making a difference in the lives of underprivileged children and youth in the west district of Kabarole.
YAWE also took home the overall award for CSR project of the year and received Ugx 20 million from NSSF for organising HIV positive women and youth into groups for psycho-social support and income generation touching over 100 beneficiaries’ lives under its care.
YAWE director Gerge Akora William who received the awards was commended for uplifting some of the underprivileged in his community with uncertain funding.
“We at YAWE are humbled that our community project deep down in Kabarole is receiving national recognition,” he told RedPepper Online in an exclusive interview after the ceremony.
“We would like to dedicate the awards to everyone out there who strive to increase access to health knowledge and life skills among the underprivileged,” he added.
Speaking at the Awards, NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba said, “The prize money from the awards, the Fund’s flagship CSR initiative, will support projects that are making a difference in the lives of underprivileged communities in Uganda”.
The NSSF Torch Awards was launched to recognize and support projects run by institutions or individuals that have made a positive difference in their communities.
The Awards were unveiled on October 4, 2012, and attracted more than 100 applicants for the various categories. The panel judges for the awards included; Dr. Noerine Kaleeba, co- founder of the Aids Support Organization, former Daily Monitor Managing Editor, Mr. Daniel Kalinaki and Ms. Rosemary Ssenabulya, the executive director of Federation of Uganda Employers.
“The panel combed through the projects and selected the top 15. We thereafter undertook a verification exercise of these 15 projects to ensure that they actually exist and are making the impact we are looking for. This verification informed the panel’s selection of the 4 winning projects,” Mr Byarugaba said.
The Nnabagereka lauded the Fund for supporting disadvantaged sections of society. “I have committed much of my time to such causes through the Nnabagereka Development Foundation and it is gratifying to see the impact such support as this is having on people’s lives,” she said.
“I share the belief that businesses have a responsibility to be good citizens and to care about the communities in which they operate. The private sector can play an important role in uplifting some of our underprivileged communities,” she added.
Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties) Hon. Fred Omach commended the Fund for taking a community based approach. “This is a realization that Government’s efforts need to be supplemented,” he said.
Other winners include Mbale Maternity Home, Kisozi orphan support center – Gomba, and Children of Uganda- Mukono. The projects emerged winner in the categories of Youth, Disadvantaged and Education respectively.
NSSF Torch Awards winner profiles
Overall winner: Youth and Women Empowerment Foundation
Winner in the health category
• The foundation started in 2004
• Has organized HIV positive women and youth into groups for psycho-social support and income generation
• Has touched over 100 youths and women’s lives under its care
• Has provided counseling to HIV positive youth and mobilized them to share their experiences and this has helped boost their esteem and reduce stigma
• Has economically empowered women and youth with vocational skills such as tailoring, making crafts, music, dance and drama
• Started a music group that is used to carry out sensitization on HIV/AIDS
• Supports youth with scholastic materials to help them in school
• Lack music, dance and drama equipment plus uniforms
• Lack scholastic materials for at least 100 school going HIV positive youth
• Want to extend counseling services to people and families infected by HIV and AIDS to increase access to health knowledge and life skills among HIV positive youth through training of the youth in music, dance, drama and life skills training.
In the Disadvantaged category: Children of Uganda‐VSLA‐ Nama, Ggoma, Mukono
• NGO started in 1995
• Intervenes in Education to OVCs
• In 2009, had an evaluation to see how interventions were doing ‐ education was not treated as important
• Working in 3 districts but applied to operate only in Mukono
• Started with a pilot group, in 2001 and identified some families to see if the intervention would work
• Started with 11 families. Training started in 2012
• No revenue to run this project
• Cannot provide everything that the OVCs require
• Guardians/ parents cannot afford the basic needs
In the Education category: Kisozi Orphan Support center‐Maddu, Gomba
• Started in 2010 – community based
• Mainly helps educate orphans and provide scholastic materials
• Started with 25 orphans in 2010, now caters for over 86 orphans
• School lacks basic needs (classrooms, teaching materials) – now has 270 pupils as of August 2013
• Children study in makeshift classrooms and under trees
• Boarding facilities are lacking
• Project on church donated land
• Caters for 86 orphans and 270 pupils
• All beneficiaries from the local community
• Providing education to a community that would otherwise have no schools
• Community based – orphans are identified by the local authorities, who have to sign forms. Guardians/ caretakers also have to sign these forms
• No school structures
• No scholastic materials
• Lack of basic boarding facilities
• Orphans lack basic needs/ requirements