Reading is an essential skill that many parents, particularly young mums, are deprived of in Uganda. Often taken out of school and married early, they do not have the opportunity to learn.
When parents cannot read, their children are affected. They are unable to earn a decent wage, meaning that children must work to support the family. Those who are in school are unable to ask their parents for help with homework.
Change the Story gives young mums the literacy skills needed to support their children. They gain confidence in playing an active role in household and community decision making.
Mr Mugoya Paulo sits on the project’s advisory board, comprising local experts. He works for the Department of Adult and Community Education at Makerere University. On the day we spoke to him, the board was running through the young mothers' curriculum.
“Every parent wants his/her child to be the best. Empowering mothers with these skills will help them support their children to learn and be the best they can. You educate a woman, you have educated the Nation.”
One barrier has been overcoming cultural attitudes towards women’s education. Mr Mugoya acknowledged this: “Cultural norms are deeply rooted in our societies and on most occasions, men would wish the situation remains the same, since most of these norms put them in more privileged positions than women.”
To overcome this, we are involving wider communities in the discussions. Local stakeholders have proven invaluable in effectively communicating these ideas.
“The curriculum implementers need to be properly trained and equipped with social skills to very carefully deliver this curriculum. To uphold and promote those norms which promote women participation as well as tactfully condemn those that frustrate their participation.”
On the new curriculum, Mr Mugoya said: “This exercise has been very important to this project since we have all had the opportunity to share our experiences and expertise from our various disciplines. I feel honoured to be part of this process. And, on behalf of the Department of Adult and Community Education and my own, I pledge unreserved support to this cause.”
Thank you to DFID for funding this project.