Absa Bank Uganda on Tuesday handed over proceeds from the inaugural Absa KH3 – 7 Hills Run to representatives from four humanitarian organizations and one school. The exercise took place at the bank’s head office at Hannington Road in Kampala.
The run that happened in May this year attracted over 2,500 runners and it generated UGX 200 Million in proceeds which will go towards key initiatives to keep the girl child in school through various projects.
The funds were handed over by Mumba Kalifungwa – the bank’s Managing Director – to representatives from Wakisa Ministries, The Association for Rehabilitation and Re-orientation of Women for Development (TERREWODE), Integrated Efforts for Youth & Women Empowerment (IEYAWE), World Vision Uganda and Mukono High School.
“We found it fitting to identify partners of repute…whose scope of expertise is aligned to the course and with whom we can partner to make a difference in the life of girl children. We strive to be an active force for good in everything we do and believe that education is a right that every child should have access to,” Kalifungwa said at the event before announcing the portion each organization will take.
“In the spirit of accountability, we are pleased to announce the allocation of funds through partners whose work is aligned to the overall cause of keeping the girl-child in school by playing a part towards tackling societal challenges namely reintegrating teenage mothers in school, providing skills training, and improving menstrual hygiene management to minimize school absenteeism and dropout rates among girls,” Kalifungwa added.
World Vision Uganda emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the proceeds as the organization was given UGX 90 Million. The funds are going to be used to boost water, hygiene, and sanitation initiatives (WASH) targeted towards strengthening proper menstrual hygiene management for girls in Northern Uganda.
Jeremiah Nyagah who is the Head of Programs at World Vision Uganda expressed his delight in this development saying that Absa’s commitment to make a difference in the life of girl children aligns with theirs.
“It’s not the first time Absa Bank is partnering with World Vision. Around 2019 we partnered for a project in Northern Uganda to ensure that people have access to clean water. This recent initiative will enable us tackle the challenge of girl child absenteeism and drop outs in schools due to menstrual issues and therefore we express our gratitude to Absa Bank,” Nyagah said.
Also, UGX 30 Million was channeled into existing initiatives by Wakisa Ministries targeted towards skilling and re-integrating young mothers into schools. Vivian Kityo, a director at the organization was happy with Absa’s commitment adding that it is a huge boost to the uplifting of teenage mothers who call Wakisa Ministries home.
UGX 30 Million was given to Integrated Efforts for Youth & Women Empowerment (IEYAWE) which will go towards the Girl-Child Support Program to give teenage mothers soft skills to enable them take care of their babies, as well as empower caretakers to protect the girl children from exploitation. Phiona Hadoto Bright who represented the organization at the event noted that Absa’s commitment will go a long way in supporting the youth and girls.
UGX 30 Million was handed over to The Association for Rehabilitation and Re-orientation of Women for Development (TERREWODE) targeted towards vocational skilling and re-integrating young mothers into schools. Lutie Kobusinge who represented the organization at the Tuesday event noted that the funds will help them give more support to women suffering from obstetric fistula and related childbirth injuries, most of whom are teenage mothers. TERREWODE skills over 500 teenage mothers and women from the Central, West Nile and Albertine regions of the country in financial literacy and other skills necessary for them to get employed or start businesses.
The other beneficiary was Mukono High School who received sanitary pads worth UGX 20 Million. Peace Nakitende who is the Deputy Headteacher at the school said that majority of their students are from low-income households hence Absa’s commitment to sanitary hygiene is a timely boost.
The 21km run spanning the seven iconic hills in Kampala organized in partnership with the Kampala Hash House Harriers, was an initiative intended to support a significant social cause: keeping the girl-child in school.
Despite high levels of enrolment, recent data shows that only 53% of Ugandan girls aged 6-12 complete the required seven years of primary education, and merely 22.5% of the female Ugandan population enroll in secondary education. This can be attributed to several obstacles that girls in our community face, including poverty, cultural barriers, early marriages, unwanted pregnancy, and difficulty managing menstrual hygiene.
The run compliments other initiatives established by the Kampala Hash House Harriers, an established club of runners.
“My heart is full from the testimonies I have heard. As Hashers, we are happy that through our programs, we were able to partner with Absa Bank to make a contribution to the lives of the underprivileged people in our societies,” Leonard Mugizi, the Hash Mash of the Kampala Hash House Harriers said.