Trust for Africa's Orphans

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A typical example of TAO’s approach to major projects

This project to support the widows and orphans to return to their homes after the 20-year conflict in Northern Uganda ran over three years and was a two-pronged approach. Among the poorest people in Uganda, these children and their carers returned from Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps to find that, in many cases, they had been dispossessed of their land in the Lango region of Uganda.

With a £210,000 grant from the Baring and John Ellerman Foundations we worked with our partner FAPAD to resolve land disputes.

Concurrently, with a £550,000 investment from the UK Big Lottery Fund, La Chiesa Valdese and Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, we worked with our partner UWESO to enable these returning IDPs to re-establish productive agricultural production.

In total, 525 households were involved – 95% headed by widows, the rest by widowers – directly supporting a total of over 4,000 people – mostly children.

Establishing access to land

Women receiving guidance

Women receiving guidance and training

We worked with our Partner, Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD), to help the returning women to re-gain access to their land where there were disputes.

FAPAD raised community understanding of the issues and women’s land rights through a local publicity campaign, including posters, radio and talks. Local chiefs, church leaders and other opinion formers were involved in the campaign, which was especially important because 90% of the land in this region is held under the customary tenure system.

FAPAD taught volunteers to work as Community Legal Aid Providers and gave specific training to clan leaders and community law enforcement officers. They also helped to form community land advocacy committees. These four groups were then all able to provide advice and help to mediate and solve women’s land cases.

In total, about 280 land cases were resolve, mostly through mediation or the involvement of clan leaders.  Twenty cases were resolved through FAPAD’s legal support services.

Self-sustaining farming ventures

Oxen ploughing

One of 110 pairs of oxen for ploughing

Concurrently, our then-partner, UWESO, enabled all the 525 households involved to set up sustainable farming ventures.

Each household received seeds, livestock, bee-hives and equipment. The community also received 110 pairs of oxen for ploughing. Each pair is shared between five families, who co-operate in looking after them.

UWESO employed skilled agricultural workers to train the beneficiaries in sustainable farming, including crop production, goat- and bee-keeping.

The combination of food for families’ consumption and sale of surplus equated to an aggregate value of £300,000 during the three years of the project. Once well established, each household should be able to produce annually, on average, around £400 worth of food for consumption and sale.

The communities have also set up their own savings and loan associations. These are enabling people to set up other small business, pay for children’s schooling and build basic houses for their families.

UWESO also provided training on hygiene and sanitation, which has greatly reduced the incident of disease – not only among those participating directly in the project, but among the wider community which has also learnt better hygiene.