Friends of older persons
These are people from all walks of life that love and care about older persons’ isues. They are involved in mobilizing economic and social activities aimed at enhancing the welfare of elderly and orphans living under their care.

Home visits and counselling
The visiting program is very important activity of the organization.  These visits provide friendly companionship, and assistance of all kinds.                                             

Agriculture
Lack of food and food insecurity is a key challenge in our community. Food harvested often lasts for less than 3 months and buying food is not an option for the majority of these vulnerable families. This has resulted in malnutrition, with the majority of older people eating only once a day.

 

A total of 100 older people-headed households caring for over 350 OVCs received a variety of seeds such as maize, beans, banana suckers and assortment of vegetable including pesticides and fertilizers.  Both the crops and the vegetable grown are used for domestic consumption while some households (particularly those who planted vegetables) have generated income that supplements their needs such as food, education and medical care.

 

Case Study 1
68 years old Annah Musoke lives with her 9 grandchildren, she received 5 Kgs of maize and 5Kgs of beans, planted 2.5Kg of each crop and gave the rest to fellow older people who did not get support. Before, Annah relied on banana crops as a source of food and livelihood for her family. The crops realised a good harvest and were consumed when green.

Annah sold most of the maize and made about 50,000Ugsh (£16.68) which she used (with some additional savings she had made from a merry go round) to renovate a pig shade and purchase two pigs in November 2007. One delivered 8 piglets in February 2008 but unfortunately one died. The other is expected to deliver soon.  Annah hopes to expand the pig keeping project and will first sell some of the piglets to do this. The piglets go for 20,000Ugsh (£6.67). The rest of the maize harvest and beans was also shared with other older people who did not have. She has been able to keep 10Kg of maize and 20Kg of bean for the next planting season.

She said “…I am a happy person as the support has enabled me to establish a long term source of income. I can now provide for my grandchildren. Paying school fees for those in secondary school was my biggest concern. I was greatly worried about their future. Thank you for the support.” 

 

Impact:

  • Increase in access to fresh vegetables among older people-headed households. The vegetables lasted 3 months while the maize lasted about 2 months. Some reported to have improved their eye sight, particularly those who received vegetable seeds.
  • Those who planted vegetables earn an average income of 50,000 Ugandan shillings (£16.68) which is used to meet some of the basic needs such as clothing, education and food. A lower number of beneficiaries who received maize and bean seeds were able to sell some of their produce.
  • Seeing the benefit of growing vegetables particularly savings made on the meager income they have, more older people have started growing vegetables for use and some for commercial purposes, hence creating a source of livelihood for older persons and their dependants.







Friends of the elderly.

OVCs accessing a well
at Mutungo.
A rehabilitated borehole.

Sanitation and health
We have held mobile health clinics (health camps) which are open to widows, older people and OVCs under their care whereby they receive free health check ups, treatment and referral services. Through 9 health camps the project provided for, 710 older people and their dependants were treated. Of these, 83 were treated from cataract, conjunctivitis and hypertension and referred to government hospitals in Ndejje and Mulago for further treatment.   During the health camps, basic health education sessions for older people and their families are conducted covering topics such as general health care, drug adherence, nutrition, child care, health habits, reducing psychosocial stress, hygiene and sanitation and exercise for disease prevention among others. We do cleanups of disabled older persons’ homes during home visitations.

Construction, rehabilitation and protection of wells
Lack of clean water is also a key concern, as a high concentration of people in small cramped surroundings has resulted in poor sanitation and disease. Two wells and one borehole were rehabilitated and constructed in Busaabala and Mutungo parishes benefiting more than 7,500 people, while 64 community members were trained on how to maintain and protect wells and boreholes.                 

Handcrafts
Many GWEN members are involved in craft making of mats, baskets, table clothes, etc.  for sale. They make a small profit from the sale of these items that supplements their income.







Home visitation.

The mats are woven in bright colors using traditional methods.
Mats for sale!


Holiday celebration

Every year, we organize parties on Christmas. We celebrate the holiday in our large family composed of friends of older persons and elderly people who would otherwise spend this day alone. Trying to make the day extra special for our old friends, we prepare traditional meals, decorate the venue, cut a cake, light the candles, listen and dance to music, talk and catch up on things. We bring a smile and create a memory to an otherwise lonely day. This party rotates in the different areas that GWEN has groups e.g. 2007 was in Najjanankumbi, 2008 in Busabala and 2009 will be in Mutungo. Before the party, visits to the disabled older persons are made since they are unable to attend and some gifts given to them. It is our wish to celebrate more days like Easter, monthly birthdays, picnics, day of the older persons, mothers and father’s day etc. These lift their spirits, enhance their health and provide social interaction.







GWEN members prepare food for the Christmas party.

Socializing at the Christmas party.
No party is complete without dancing, and everyone had fun!

Micro-Financing
With a small grant from URAA we were able to startup a revolving fund whereby members borrow and startup IGAs or improve on their business.

 

Heifer project

This is an ongoing project whereby members pass on female calves to other members. This project is mainly to enhance nutrition as well as act as a source of income when then the milk is sold.

 







Brick-laying project for a
member of GWEN


Gardens provide exercise, nutritious food, and even
crops for market.
Farm products for sale by
older persons.

 

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