AGFUND INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
FOR PIONEERING HUMAN DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
THE WINNING PROJECTS 2011
FOURTH CATEGORY PRIZE 2011
For projects by Individuals.
||US$ 50,000 |
|The Winning Project
||The Association of United Efforts (ASUNEF) (Selected winner from 14 projects). |
||Mr. Tayebwa Allan. asunefuganda.weebly.com asunefuganda.weebly.com
||Integrated Youth Employment Creation (IYEC) (Selected winner from 46 projects). |
“I often remind my students that academic excellence does not necessarily mean success in life. However, Tayebwa Allan has managed to excel in both, simultaneously. He holds the highest GPA in the Department of Development at Kabale University, and is president of a grassroots organization in his village, called The Association of United Efforts. Tayebwa is a humble individual, so I learned of his project through another student, who was extremely impressed by Tayebwa's innovation and dedication. I began to ask Tayebwa more about his association, and over this year, have found that it encompasses every element of development that I emphasize as a lecturer. The Association of United Efforts is sustainability, community involvement, and balanced growth for the youth members, not only in the area of vocational skills, but in personal development, as well.” Mr. Sendegiya Robert - Kabale University.
ASUNEF - The Association of United Efforts, is a non-profit youth organization devoted to guiding the youth of the community on a path of integrity, education, self-sustainability, and compassion. It provides after school programs as well as programs during school breaks that mentor, teach vocational skills, and offer recreational activities for the youth in the village. The idea of ASUNEF was dreamed up in 2005 by Mugume Nicholas, Kwesiga Arthur and Tayebwa Allan. This trio had grown up in the village of Mahwa and watched in alarm as they saw the youth getting sucked into the cycle of poverty. "We had a dream to give these children a second chance, but how could we make it a reality?" they asked themselves.
The young men agreed that the first step in creating a foundation would be to form a solid base of support. So, each of them recruited a trusted friend to join the cause and, within two weeks, three became six. On December 22nd 2005, the six proudly founded The Association of United Efforts. Each member contributed one-thousand Ugandan shillings, which totals to approximately $3 USD. With this money, they printed 40 letters asking for support, and traveled door to door in the village seeking assistance. Many villagers were unable to help, but some were so overjoyed with the idea, so they gave what they could to join in the effort to change the circumstances of the youth in Mahwa. Today, ASUNEF has fifty youth members from the village. Not every child attends the programs every day, but they know that the ASUNEF doors are always open.
Poverty breeds a multitude of additional societal problems. In the village of Mahwa, children from impoverished families were dropping out of school, begging for money, entering into early marriages, participating in underage drinking, and committing crimes such as theft and drug use. Many of the youth were lacking purpose. They had been born into poverty, and they accepted that life. However, the ASUNEF Founders know that by providing them with opportunities to get involved in the community and interact with each other, they can become empowered to reach for higher goals. The other part of the problem is financial. All of the children at ASUNEF come from poor families and several have lost one or both parents due to disease, accidents, or abandonment. But ASUNEF Founders don't believe that these circumstances should stop anyone from achieving their dreams. Project Philosophy
Like the Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime," ASUNEF believes in providing the youth with skills to make an honest living so that they can put themselves through school, take care of their future families, and never have to rely on outside aid in order to thrive. Self-sustainability is one of the most valuable gifts we can give these children. Project Vision
The youth of Mahwa growing into educated individuals who begin a new cycle of prosperity by teaching their own children the importance of education, self-sustainability, compassion, and integrity. Project Mission
Through recreational activities, vocational training, mentorship, and a whole lot of love, support and encouragement, the project will guide the youth of the village down a path of integrity, compassion, and education so that they are able to take responsibility and ownership over their futures, with the comfort of knowing that they will forever have a family in ASUNEF. Project Objectives
- To mentor and teach the youth to be self-sustainable, compassionate, and valuable members in their communities.
- To empower the youth by equipping them with vocational skills that will allow them to generate their own incomes, sponsor themselves through school, qualify for a variety of jobs and careers, and fully provide for their future families.
- To eradicate idleness, abuse, intolerance, illiteracy, crime, and poverty in the village of Mahwa.
- To encourage and foster creativity and critical thinking among the youth of the village of Mahwa.
- To provide a safe place in the village where the youth can meet, share, and unite efforts in order to create better lives for themselves.
While there are numerous mentoring and development organizations serving impoverished youth throughout Africa, AUE has an intriguing model. The project’s main advantage is its mandate to promote self-sustainability amongst Mahwa youth by training them to generate income through goat raising, farming, and craft production, in order to finance their school tuition. This aspect greatly reduces the need for the youth beneficiaries, and for AUE as an organization, to constantly rely on local or foreign donations for ongoing support. The project is not just a “one-off” event. It appears to successfully grow deep roots in the Mahwa community and achieving its objectives. While it is a small scale project working with only 10% of the children in the village (30 out of a potential 300) it Is obviously having a big impact. The major innovation appears to be the use of the web page as a way of attracting international support and donations, rather than the project itself. It is very cost effective with the children using their entrepreneurial skills to fund their own education. From the referees and descriptions of the project the President and young person nominated for the award appears to be a very worthy candidate for acknowledgement. He is implementing the theory he is learning as part of his studies, using his networks to create awareness as well as supporting a very worthwhile locally based program for young people in his own community.
The webpage covering this project is well designed and structured with relevant information supporting the value of this project. It also expends the influence of the project beyond the village in Uganda by appealing to the extensive market of ‘experience travelers’ as well as students seeking a “gap” year experience. Via the web page volunteers are encouraged to come and visit and to be part of this project through a contribution of $400 to cover meals, accommodation and some support.
The innovation in the project lies in the use of small scale community based empowerment processes and linking them to an international volunteer base, using the web and blogs. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this project is its potential for replicability and scalability to other Ugandan communities and beyond. The project’s combination of training, mentoring, and community participation is a service model that can likely be easily reproduced.