The Community Outreach & Empowerment aims at enhancing communities and parents’ reflective and action competences, information sharing and transfer of knowledge, skills and values.
- This is focusing on four main pillars:
- School Community Cooperation
- Micro Projects replication
- Social Transformation
Under the Community Empowerment & Networking the Eco-Schools Programme in Uganda provides opportunity for supporting environmental education as a means of equipping communities with skills and competences to address real life problems with adaptation skills to prevent future adverse effects of environmental degradation and climate change.
In each project school, parents are empowered to establish Eco-Parents’ Association referred to as ‘ECOPA’ basically meant to interpret the Eco schools concept in implementing the programme as a tool that provides a mechanism for schools, communities, the parents themselves, to understand the importance of establishing and putting in practice appropriate environmental sustainability policies at school/ community and also at personal level.
All the established ECOPA executives in a given Sub county in the program periodically convene to elect gender balanced Eco School Sub-County Networks as a leadership structures that monitor the programme implementation of all the ECOPAs at sub County level; and its from these Sub County Networks that ToTs and RBA- CORPs are drawn for capacity building and empowerment.
The selected Community Owned Resource Persons (CORPs) are oriented on data collection, information dissemination and awareness creation on situation analysis; problem solving and team work in addressing the identified problems in their community e.g. the school dropout rates in the operational area, analyze causative factors and the redress
Building the power of 38 CORPs / ToTs has enhanced promotion of Sustainable Natural Resource Management techniques with emphasis on Energy conservation; Forestry & Woodlot Establishment, Waste Management, Fruit tree growing and Organic farming concentrating on the 200 communities that surround the project schools in 04 districts (Isingiro, Mbarara, Sheema & Bushenyi) in 32 Sub-counties respectively.
Building the power of communities in the programme area has increased adaptation to poverty, climate and natural disasters while promoting the Eco Schools Program best practices through trainings on Sustainable Natural Resource Management (SNRM) techniques that enhance better utilization of natural resources for sustainable livelihoods fostering active citizenship
In the ESP-RBA programme Community Empowerment & Networking emphasizes community mobilization, sensitization and capacity building of School-communities and their own resource persons (CORPs) has proved to be an effective approach to facilitate skills acquisition and mentorship for sustainability of human resource, knowledge and information sharing at community level to accelerate children’s access their right to quality education and meaningful community development
The empowered ECOPAs, Sub-county and District Networks are utilized as entry points to establish formal working collaborations with CECOD to reach out the Eco School – community mentors and the duty bearers in respect to children’s right to access quality education in the project area geared to engage and influence:-
o 200 ECOPAs
o 200 Eco Pupils’ Parliaments
o 38 Sub County Eco Schools Networks RBA –CORPs from within the four districts
o 31 Sub –Counties in the 04 operational districts
o 04 District Eco schools Networks
o 15,000 households
o 60 CORPs i.e. 15 CORPs per district as the Capacity Building Group that is further trained as Trainers (ToTs) in the Eco School–RBA concept. The department coordinates and provides technical backstopping to the Eco Schools Right Based-CORPs depending on the identified needy areas.
For effective replication of Micro projects established in project schools, the ECOPAs and Networks are empowered on village saving and Loaning principles (VSLAs) established as formal legal entity associations that work as economic safety nets for the community. The money generated through these VSLAs is used by members to support one another in establishing family income generating projects and conservation projects that would have been difficult to implement independently.
The VSLA concept has enhanced social transformation among our communities and improved on their saving culture and promoted active citizenship and parents’ participation through people centered advocacy using duty bearers’ engagement meetings and radio talk shows to influence a wider community.
Continuous Sensitization of communities helps people to change their mindset and their attitude towards life and issues affecting them,