The year 2014 is an important milestone in the relationship between the five Nordic Countries, consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as their autonomous regions Åland Islands, the Faroe Islands and Greenland
The year 2014 is an important milestone in the relationship between the five Nordic Countries, consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as their autonomous regions Åland Islands, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, language and social structure.
Denmark a friend of Uganda since independence
Denmark is a longtime friend of Uganda ever since it attained its independence and has stood by the people of Uganda in bad as well as good times. Billions of Danish tax payers money have been donated to Uganda without strings attached, other than the money should be put to good use for the development of Uganda as set out in various Ugandan national development plans. Aiming at this, Denmark cooperates with a broad range of Ugandan partners including government agencies, local government, private sector actors and civil society.
Norway supports Uganda’s oil sector
It is 45 years since Norway started the development of our petroleum resources. It is fair to say that our experience has far surpassed initial expectations. The successful development can be ascribed to a few key characteristics that have shaped the sector from the very beginning: a strategic state ownership, competent institutions, continuous build-up of technical knowledge and advanced regulations with high respect for health and safety and the environment. But perhaps most importantly, the petroleum resources belong to the Norwegian people and the revenues have been made to benefit everyone.
DANIDA’s support to road sector
By Brian Mayanja
The Mt. Elgon Labour Based Training Centre (MELTC) is a one of a kind capacity building institution in the country. It is the only national training centre that carries out capacity building by training personnel in the public and private sectors in the implementation of road works using labour-based technology
Stromme helps people live with dignity, hope
trueBy Brian Mayanja
Established in Uganda 20 years ago, Stromme Foundation continues to deepen its roots in rural and urban areas of the country, mostly empowering the disadvantaged through education and financial technical assistance
BUT, WHAT IS STROMME?
Stromme Foundation was established in 1976 in Norway, after the death of pastor Kristian Stromme. Pastor Stromme used to get money from newspaper adverts to support churches and relief work. When he passed away in 1976, money from newspaper adverts kept on coming in. To continue the charity he had initiated, Stromme’s friends and relatives started a foundation, naming it “Stromme Foundation”.
It was rebranded from being a relief organisation to development organisation. Currently, Norwegian and Swedish well-wishers are funding the activities of Stromme Foundation.
IMPORTANCE OF UGANDA
Although the foundation is supporting projects through partners in Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan, Stromme Foundation’s regional offi ces are in Kampala, Uganda. Globally, the foundation operates in the four main regions namely; West Africa, Asia, Eastern Africa and South America.
The foundation has evolved to be an organisation helping the world to be free from poverty. Its mission is to eradicate poverty through partnerships in education and microfi nance helping the disadvantaged people get to a recognised level of dignity and empowerment
HOW DOES UGANDA BENEFIT?
In Uganda, Stromme Foundation is involved in various projects, but mostly its interventions are seen in the education sector – both formal and informal training. Through partnering with local NGOs, Priscilla Mirembe Serukka, the Stromme Foundation regional director, explains that they work in poor and hardto- reach communities to revamp formal education in government schools.
Within the past five years, the foundation has renovated over 100 classrooms in various schools in the countryside and built dozens of new classrooms. “We are also championing quality education. For instance, we are asking parents to get involved in educating their children rather than leaving the Government to be the lone player,” says Serukka.
Stromme Foundation is also constructing teachers’ houses, aimed at making teachers more available to attend to the pupils’s needs. About 25 teachers houses were constructed by end of 2013. “The foundation does advocacy work. It helps schools get capitation grant from the Government. We are also involved in supporting early childhood development,” she says. Children living in slum areas of Nakulabye, Naguru and Kalerwe in Kampala are also benefi ting from social services provided by Stromme.
Children are kept in safe places, fed well and helped to assess primary education. Under informal education, Stromme Foundation is helping adolescent girls, who have either dropped out of school or never had opportunity to go to school. Adolescent girls from Kotido, Nebbi, Amuru, Moyo, Mayuge and Namayingo districts, access services from Stromme Foundation. “Most of them did not go to school because of poverty and domestic work, while others are looking after their siblings and or are pregnant,” Serukka explains.
She says they take them through a one-year programme, teaching them how to read and write. The adolescent girls also go through livelihood training skills, which include educating them to be aware of their rights, primary healthcare and reproductive education. Other livelihood skills the adolescent girls are taught include nutrition, negotiation skills as well as awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Adolescent girls have also been introduced to savings and business loans, says Serukka, who is also the chairperson of the Stromme Micro Finance EA Ltd. “For three months, they (girls) are given occupational skills. These include backyard gardening, tailoring, hairdressing and baking. So far, in Uganda, we have managed to reach out to a total of 2,111 girls,” she says. Serukka explains that this year, they will also be equipping boys with the same set of skills.
The beneficiary boys will include those living in Wakiso and Mpigi. Economically, Stromme Foundation empowers Ugandans through the services of Stromme Microfi nance EA Ltd. Stromme microfi nance was started 10 years ago, and offers wholesale lending to microfi nance institutions that target the low-income earners.
It also provides capacity building to help fi nancial institutions grow. The Community Managed Microfi nance is another intervention, which Stromme Foundation undertakes. It targets poorer people than those served by the Stromme microfinance. Sserukka explains that people organise themselves in groups of 30. They are facilitated to save and lend to each other from the savings. “These groups are also used as platforms to address other issues causing poverty in their communities,” she explains. By December 2013, this programme had reached over 91,000 members countrywide and the savings made amounted to sh11.1b.
In all the poor communities, there are a lot of expectations.People think of handouts, yet the philosophy of Stromme Foundation is empowering people so that they get out of poverty themselves. “We are doing a lot of sensitisation on this,” says Serukka. Some weaknesses are registered in areas of corruption, poor governance with local partners that Stromme Foundation is working with. Serukka says limited funding in relation to the demand for their services also impedes their activities.
LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
The foundation hopes to continue educating groups, ensuring that children from vulnerable and hard-to-reach areas enjoy quality education. It also wants to equip youth with vocational skills to earn livelihood skills. Stromme Foundation looks at improving the living standards of both the rural and urban poor.
One of the desired outcomes is for the youth to get involved in microenterprises. The foundation wants to direct much of its energy towards strengthening the public sector and civil society. It also wants to strengthen social protection for children and teenage children living in violent environments
Nordic cooperation: 200 years of peace and integration