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Press release: Major grant from UK Aid Direct for Dignity for Girls programmes in Uganda

June 9, 2018:

Ugandan schoolgirl washing her hands

ARC and our partner organisation Faith in Water are delighted to announce the award of a major grant from UK Aid Direct for its Dignity for Girls project aimed at helping girls in Christian and Muslim schools in Uganda stay in education.

Currently, fewer than two thirds of girls complete primary school and an even smaller proportion complete secondary.

ARC, through Faith in Water, was one of more than 500 applicants to the second funding round by UK Aid Direct – one of the UK Government’s international development funding arms – for Community Partnership and Impact grants, of whom just 122 were invited to submit a full application.

Of these, fewer than 30% have been awarded a grant to work on projects targeting the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable populations.

Martin Palmer, Secretary General of ARC, said the £245,000 grant to work with Christian and Muslim groups on girls’ menstrual health in Uganda will have a significant impact on girls’ education, health and wellbeing.

Faith leaders at the Anglican menstrual health workshop, held in May 2018
“We’ve known for a long time that educating girls is critical to lifting communities out of poverty. But it’s only in recent years that we’ve realised that one reason why so many girls drop out of school early is difficulty in managing a simple biological function - their periods,” he said.

“According to UNICEF, babies born to women with little or no education are nearly three times more likely to die before the age of five than babies born to women with secondary education so it is critical that we help girls stay in school.

This is the first programme specifically to target Christian and Muslim faith groups in Uganda on this issue. Faiths are major providers of education, running thousands of schools in Uganda, but equally importantly they influence and shape opinion.

Together with our partner, Faith in Water (based in Bristol,UK) as well as partners in Uganda, ARC is helping faiths develop girl-friendly policies for their schools. We're also working with the faith leaders, women’s groups and youth groups to change attitudes towards menstruation and remove the stigma and shame that so many girls feel.

St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Hoima, Uganda
“This funding from UK Aid Direct will have a real impact on thousands of girls in Uganda, not just on their quality of life and self-esteem but also, by helping them stay in education, on their ability to earn more money as adults and lift themselves and their future families out of poverty.," said Mary Bellekom from Faith in Water.

"The Dignity for Girls programme works with three major faith groups in Uganda, the Catholic Church, the Church of Uganda and the Muslim community through the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council," said Susie Weldon, from Faith in Water.

"It targets faith leaders, faith education chiefs, teachers in faith schools, faith-based women’s and youth groups and, of course, the girls themselves."

The aims include:

  • enabling more girls to stay in education, thus improving their future economic prospects as well as their health and wellbeing;
  • helping faith groups develop girl-friendly policies and practices for their schools;
  • reducing stigma and ignorance about menstruation in the wider community.


Faith in Water, which developed out of ARC and was founded in 2015 – is the project’s main implementing partner.

Uganda-based partners include A Rocha Uganda, HEAR Uganda and Energising Solutions.

Links

More on Dignity for Girls

More on this round of UK Aid Direct grants

Faith in Water's first publication, Putting Clean Hands Together, made the case to both secular NGOs and faith groups as to why they should work more closely together.

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