Advantage Africa has been working in partnership with the Single Parents’ Association of Uganda (SPAU) since 2004. SPAU’s founder and Director, Paul Lwanga, was brought up solely by his mother and knows firsthand the struggles, discrimination and poverty experienced by single parent families in Uganda.
Social breakdown, conflict and HIV & AIDS have led to millions of parents and grandparents in Uganda raising children alone. Many also care for orphans who would otherwise be homeless. These single parents and carers, most of whom are women, face immense challenges to earn money to meet their families’ needs. This lack of income, combined with poor nutrition, ill health and stigma, contribute towards a cycle of extreme poverty which causes many parents to break down emotionally.
Advantage Africa works closely with SPAU’s small team of field workers, including Paul, based in Kampala. We design and plan projects together and Advantage Africa helps build SPAU’s capacity to ensure the work has maximum reach and impact. Our practical work in the poorest communities shows how the well-being of vulnerable families is transformed through single parents joining together in groups and learning new skills to earn an income. The parents gain renewed hope and confidence through the camaraderie and friendship they find in the groups and they learn and work together, sharing successes and challenges in raising an income. Depending on whether they are in a rural or urban area, their income-generating activities may include pig or poultry rearing, shoe, jewellery or candle-making.
Many of the single parents and carers we support are living with HIV. Our work with SPAU helps ensure HIV positive single parents can access the medication they need to manage their condition and supports them in coming to terms with their status and planning for their families’ future through ‘Memory Work’ training. We also enable hundreds of vulnerable families to protect themselves from malaria through provision of treated mosquito nets and ongoing training in their effective use.
People in Uganda believe passionately in the importance of education and a further key aspect of Advantage Africa’s work with SPAU is helping orphans and vulnerable children to access good quality early childhood care and primary education.