Nageeba has been a passionate partner of NITEO for over 10 years. As the Executive Director of Restoring & Empowering Communities (REC), she has dedicated her life to community development.
During school mid term and semester breaks she opens her library and life to investing in the children and youth in her community. During our recent NITEO visit we were able to observe this literacy leader in action!
When we arrived, the younger children were choosing their book to take home and read while the youth were gathering around tables ready to put their head and hearts to work addressing the topic of the day. Nageeba called the group’s attention and divided the youth into table groups and tasked them with discussing the topic of child abuse.
What have they observed in their community?
What are the root causes of it?
What are the solutions that would break the cycle?
Nageeba assigned each of us from the NITEO team to be a table host, to listen and record the answers from the group. At first some of the youth were hesitant to share around these Canadian strangers, however they began opening up and had many things to say!
What captured my attention was their recommendations for how to address the issue of child neglect and mistreatment. Across the board, the response was that many families wish to provide for their children but they struggle to do so because they do not have work.
Want to end child abuse?
According to the youth gathered around each table: end poverty and the issues will decrease.
According to 2019-20 statistics, 12.3 million people in Uganda (30.1% of the population) live below the poverty line of US 1.77 per person/day.*
Linked to this is the fact that approximately 90% of those who are employed work in the informal sector (without a formal contract or social security).** This includes entrepreneurship driven out of need rather than opportunity. This type of work also often results in the challenge of the “working poor” where the wages earned in a day are not enough to provide for the needs of the worker and his/her family.
It is for reasons like this that we need the Nageeba’s of the world. When youth return to school, Nageeba works with educators to provide training and support to keep youth in school. She works to make schools a safe place by speaking out against corporal punishment in schools and empowering students to be leaders and to use their voice to create change. And she works tirelessly to promote and develop a reading culture in her community. At times her home seems overtaken by books as she sorts and delivers books to schools (literally over 100 schools have received books through Nageeba’s coordination) and children in her community.
NITEO is proud to partner with Nageeba and our partners as we take the long view of poverty alleviation.
Education is a key component of the journey out of poverty. And one of the crucial building blocks of education is literacy, the ability to read.
According to a 2018 government survey, only 50% of Ugandan children in Primary 3 were proficient in literacy and numeracy.***
NITEO’s model of community libraries and literacy centres allows for all children to have access to books and to continue their learning regardless of economic factors.
We know the journey is far from complete, in many ways we feel like we are still just beginning, but we remain committed to building bridges of literacy through partnerships and community.
We believe the future is bright and hopeful for the youth in Nageeba’s community and for all that we have the privilege of serving.