About the Beersheba Community Development Programme
Oasis Uganda has been working in peri-urban community of Musoto, Mbale through the Beersheba programme since 2005. During that time, our work has included life skills and "Catch-up" education to support vulnerable girl children back to school, functional adult literacy, training for family members in agricultural methods and home management, and sexual health training.
Oasis believes in working alongside community members, empowering then to identify and address their own problems, and working in partnership with other agencies including churches to create sustainable solutions to the issues affecting people living in poverty.
Beersheba works in partnership with a local church, The Redeemed of the Lord Evangelistic Church (Maluku), a partnership which helps to build in community ownership and long tern sustainability. Through this partnership, Beersheba reaches out the local slum community of Musoto, where there is high unemployment, prevalent alcohol abuse (its main industry is brewing alcohol), where a few children attend school and where many girls are married by their mid teens.
Beersheba carries out its work through the following departmental areas;
- Health and Well-being
The Education Department aims to see children excel in school, confidently participating in class and less likely to drop out. To meet these aims, we teach the Oasis catch-up curriculum in schools, helping children who have fallen behind and are at risk of dropping out to reach better levels of performance and consequently build their self-confidence. Children and teachers are also supported in their work through access to a resource library at the Beersheba site, and children and their families receive home visits and holistic support through the work of our community mentors. We also train teachers in "Equipped to Teach", a programme designed to help them identify struggling children, understand good methods of class management, and ultimately to teach more effectively. Training also takes place with parents, teachers and community leaders on the values of education, child rights and child protection. In addition, life skills lessons are taught to children in schools and through school holiday programmes based at the Beersheba site. Functional adult literacy has also taken place at the Beersheba site and future plans are for this to be carried out within the community by specifically trained community members.
The Health and Well-being Department
The Health and Wellbeing Department addresses issues of physical, spiritual and emotional heath and wellbeing through a variety of complementary activities. Oasis Esteem is a sexual heath and relationships course that is taught to children and youth in schools, churches, and other organisations; the course particularly addresses issues of HIV and AIDS, the risks of early pregnancy and areas of personal self esteem. Between its inception in 2008 and the end of 2011, Esteem had reached over 3,000 children with this important information. A Peer Education programmme has also recently been introduced to empower and support school children to support their peers in issues taught through Esteem. The Health and Well-being Department has also trained and supports 25 Community Health Promoters (CHPs) in partnership with the Mbale District Health office. The 'CHPs' work in the community imparting important and practical health information as a preventative measure against the spread of disease and sickness. HIV/AIDS testing, with pre and post counselling is carried out in partnership with expert organisations and a pastors fraternal meets every regularly for support and fellowship. Beersheba Boys Football Club meets every Saturday with 60 boys aged 11 to 19 registered in three teams; matches are played against other local teams and the boys receive life skills training and support, alongside the football training sessions.
The Livelihoods Department
The Livelihoods Department works towards the goal of vulnerable people being empowered to have increased financial stability through training in principles of money management and saving and loan schemes. Self Help Groups, consisting primarily, but not exclusively, of women, meet regularly to save money together which is then given out in the form of loans for the purpose of Income Generating Activities. Beersheba works to set up and oversee these groups and provides training in areas such as organic agriculture, entrepreneurship and creation of business plans and Income Generating Activities, helping members of these groups to successfully establish and maintain a small business. The Livelihoods Department also runs the Beersheba Demonstration Garden and Poultry Project which is used to train community members in areas of organic agriculture and sustainable farming methods. Members of the Self Help Groups are also responsible for setting up and running tree nurseries with around 2,000 trees planted in the community in 2011.