Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) through its Skybird projects in Magada and Bulange sub counties, Namutumba district has successfully improved lives through making reusable sanitary pads for vulnerable school girls, charcoal briquettes for farmer groups and built latrines to improve sanitation within the community.
The Skybird project is supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation through the Austrian Red Cross. In February 2023, a field visit was held in Namutumba district to assess the projects implemented by Uganda Red Cross Society under the Skybird project. This visit was led by the head of the Austrian Development Cooperation Dr. Roswitha Kremser, Head of the Austrian Red Cross office in Uganda – Angelika Forsstroem, Chairman Central Governing Board URCS – Dr Kirunda Halid and the Director of Health and social services URCS – Dr. Josephine Okwera.
During the field visit, Dr. Roswitha Kremser applauded URCS for its efforts towards improving the lives of Ugandans at the community level. ” Since my arrival three years ago, the Cooperation with Uganda Red Cross has multiplied. I have visited all implementation areas and I am so happy with what I see the Skybird program is doing in Eastern Uganda.”
1. Reusable Pads project
Uganda Red Cross Society has equipped young girls and women with skills of making reusable sanitary pads and menstrual hygiene management components. Modo Peace – a student at Bugobi high school noted, “Girls in Namutumba District face challenges whenever they undergo menstruation. Sanitary pads are expensive. We thank Red Cross for helping us to address this challenge. We can now make the Pads and also go to school with no shame.”
A girl displaying one of her locally made reusable sanitary pad.
The Town Clerk of Namutumba District, Mr. Balimumiti Ali thanked Uganda Red Cross Society for thinking of Namutumba District. “Menstrual periods are one of the causes of school dropouts in the District. Seeing our girls equipped with skills of making reusable sanitary pads means that they will no longer drop out of school thanks to Red Cross,” Balimumiti noted.
2. Charcoal briquettes project
Communities in Namutumba district were also taught how to put waste to better use through the making of charcoal briquettes which also protect the environment by preserving more trees from being cut. One of the groups that benefitted from the Skybird program is Bulange Youth Alive which makes briquettes from waste. They sell the briquettes and earn money to improve their livelihoods.
The Chairman of the URCS Iganga Branch Governing Board, who also doubles as the URCS Chairperson, Central Governing Board, Dr Kirunda Halid thanked the Austrian Red Cross and Austrian Development Cooperation for supporting the Iganga branch.” I have managed to visit and inspect farmer groups in Namutumba and I have seen them grow trees from the seeds which were provided by the sky bird program. I urge the communities to utilize the resources given to them for purposes of program sustainability. “Kirunda added.
3. Construction of two VIP stance latrines in Nawansekese Primary School and Bugobi High School in Namutumba District.
Through the Skybird Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program, URCS has also constructed two latrines in Bugobi high school and Nawansekese primary school as a way of improving the Sanitation and hygiene of the pupils, students and teachers in both schools. “I am also happy to see that the latrines also cater to those with disabilities. Thanks to URCS for emphasizing support for rural communities. “Dr. Roswitha highlighted.