News from Uganda: Mama  & Family project updates

Looking back on an exciting and challenging past year, we have just released our annual report that covers SOGH’s entire journey through an entire year of global health action in 2021. Today’s post is going to take you through the most important updates from our on-the-ground project in Uganda, the Mama&Family project.

Initiated in 2014, the Mama&Family project in collaboration with our Ugandan partner UDHA, has been our biggest project, empowering Ugandan women to safeguard theirs and their children’s health. COVID-19 complicated the coordination of the project, however, we are proud to have been able to maintain our maternal and child health services amid the pandemic. Against all odds, the project recorded a significant increase in antenatal care visits, home visits, and distribution of safe birth kits when compared to the previous year (2019-2020).

This achievement could not have been achieved without the work of on-the-ground community health workers supported and lead by Joshua Mwebaza, our coordinator at UDHA. To make the work of our community health workers easier and safer during the pandemic, we enforced bicycle repairs, as well as provision of helmets, and personal protective equipment for their door-to-door visits. According to our COVID-19 assessment, which was initiated in 2020, community health care workers with adequate training are getting more knowledge on infectious diseases and are able provide information on COVID-19 prevention to their communities within the existing infrastructure of the Mama & Family project.

In addition to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 held other unforeseen challenges for us. One major setback was the loss of the main grant provider and funding source for the Mama & Family project during the past four years, which we have not yet been able to replace. This means that the Mama & Family project is currently not supported by any official grant and funding relies mainly on fundraising. SOGH’s grant management team continues their busy work to secure future funding for the project by submitting new applications to alternative grant providers, but in the meantime, donations are vital to maintain the project’s activities. If you would like to support our work in Uganda, we warmly welcome   your contributions. As little as 40 SEK / 4 USD enables SOGH to provide a Ugandan mother and their newborn with a safe birth kit.

Behind the scenes, our Mama & Family management team led by Zin Min Thet Lwin and Linet Mutisya, are constantly working on evaluating and improving the project. Currently, they have been using Theory of Change as a methodology to adapt, manage, and evaluate the project in extensive internal discussions. Linet tells me that working on a theory of change enables the management team to critically think of areas that may need to be incorporated into the project. Based on this methodology, the managers hope to update their logical framework and come up with comprehensive questions for future evaluation that will help to improve the project.

 

Activities focusing on partnerships, collaborations, and sustainability are areas that Linet and Zin intend to extend as they take the project forward. The managers are not lacking innovation but without funding, they cannot achieve as much as they would like to. “Our hands are tied but we are very hopeful,” says Linet. She further stated that limited funding is currently the main challenge they face as project leaders. “Once we get funds […], we also need to think of ways that will cushion the project in the event the donors withdraw in the future,” says Linet  who is ambitious in securing sustainable continuation of the Mama & Family project in Uganda.

Interested in supporting our work in Uganda? Please get in touch with our research and grants management team via grants@sogh.se or directly with the project management team via mamaandfamilyproject@sogh.se 

BY: Fiona Koeltringer