KAKAZI FOUNDATION: FOCUSING ON MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR WOMEN TO SHAPE THE FUTURE
The KAKAZI Foundation is a non-governmental organisation ‘dedicated to supporting young women by equipping them with life skills through mentorship, rehabilitation, training and education’ in Uganda. The Board of Directors—Blessing Bakashaba, Pamela Byakutaga, Samantha Byakutaga, and Sheebah Sima Varatharajan—seek to change the lives of thousands of women in Uganda through knowledge and skills that enable them to face everyday challenges related to poverty, inequality, nepotism, lack of education, employment, and low access to financial and social opportunities.
With the support of IWORDS Grassroots, the KAKAZI Foundation team spent three months improving their skills in the preparation and definition of a strategic process that maps the path of the organisation for the following four years. This process involved all collaborators of all levels of responsibility, identifying the importance of their roles and their contribution to the achievement of results in the medium and short term. A Theory of Change with clear outcomes and outputs was developed as well. As a result of these efforts, internal and external stakeholders that may be interested in supporting KAKAZI will be able to clearly identify the main actions that move the organisation towards its ultimate goals.
The Theory of Change was the foundation to develop a Strategic Planning document, which became a guide and tool to help the team focus on the goals to accomplish in the years to come. This document includes a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan, providing the Board with a framework of indicators to establish whether implemented projects are successful or not. The consistent implementation of the Strategic Plan also ensures accountability and transparency, which are cross-cutting issues for the organisation.
The results of an annual evaluation will be made public and shared with local or international stakeholders that are interested in knowing about the achievements of this team. Further, making this information public will also allow peer organisations and potential donors to learn about the implemented actions and how they impact the communities.
The KAKAZI Foundation also received support in defining a Safeguarding Policy to prevent sexual harassment. Because it works with girls and young women, KAKAZI is aware of the importance of ensuring the safety of all children and/or vulnerable adults—regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or religion—during all the activities it implements and guides. Finally, to ensure the safety of children during activities, the organisation will hold training sessions for staff members and regular meetings to address the issue.
The organisation focuses on protecting young women and vulnerable women who participate in its activities; this is especially important considering that most participants are women. The goal of the KAKAZI Foundation is to guarantee their well-being, and it will therefore make sure that its peers, donors, partners, and volunteers are aware of the standard and legislation as well as the consequences of harming children or any adult in a vulnerable situation.
After receiving the support from IWORDS Grassroots, the KAKAZI Foundation decided to establish a work plan to develop the necessary documents for the organisation: internal rules and regulations, a resource mobilisation strategy, communication strategy, financial policies, policies against harassment and abuse, and environmental protection. This is one of the main steps on the road to institutional strengthening. The organisation also understands the importance of having complete and updated documentation as one of the main tools to connect to strategic partners. This strategy undoubtedly brings benefits to the mission and the purpose of the KAKAZI Foundation.
COMMUNITY HEALTH EMPOWERMENT AND LEARNING PROGRAM (MACOHELP): BELIEVING IN THE POWER OF TEAMWORK
MACOHELP is a women-led local community-based organisation (CBO) focusing on providing humanitarian services to the most affected and hard-to-reach children and young women and men in Kenya. Its goal is to ensure that ‘communities are economically stable, healthy and empowered in wider Mumias East Sub County’. They are on a mission to work and walk together with the targeted communities to achieve the holistic well-being of the households and communities.
With the support of IWORDS Grassroots, MACOHELP decided to work on a 5-year strategic planning document. With a Theory of Change as a basis, the MACOHELP team identified the desired results and goals and developed individualised action plans according to the values, principles, and vision of society. This plan incorporates the MACOHELP mission and vision as guidelines.
Three main strategic areas have been outlined: 1. Women and children are empowered in terms of their skills and strengths to achieve a better quality of life; 2. Empowering children and women on education as a tool to transform society; and 3. Improving access to economic resources through proper use of their land. In the 2022–2027 Strategic Plan, the organisation prioritises efforts, effectively allocates resources, and it aligns stakeholders and collaborators with the organisation’s goals and institutional objectives. This approach allowed the MACOHELP team to have the tools and inputs to define its first-year implementation plan.
Subsequently, MACOHELP focused on the development of a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan, with proper parameters to track its progress based on the previously defined strategic goals. This plan included outputs, outcomes, and impact indicators with means of verification as well as the cost of carrying out this process in the designated periods. The organisation understands the importance of creating their own indicators and developing skills in this task, knowing that this will help them determine the achievement of their objectives for a specific programme or project, or if corrective actions are needed.
As part of their institutional objectives, MACOHELP considered the need of developing the team’s skills, which will bring benefits and it will facilitate the achievement of the above strategic areas. One of the objectives in the months to come is to generate adequate documents of knowledge for the entire organisation, with a description of the responsibilities, planned actions, and evaluation requirements.
The team will be developing adequate and strategic documents that will add value to the organisation´s relationships: a communication strategy, a resource mobilisation strategy, as well as some policies (financial, code of conduct, and safeguarding policy, among others). These documents will also give more visibility to the programmes and projects carried out by MACOHELP. The staff will focus their attention on participating in virtual or in-person events, where they can identify potential donors and partners.
The MACOHELP team then developed a whistle-blower policy to encourage staff and volunteers to report cases of fraud, corruption, or other cases of misconduct. This policy establishes the organisation’s commitment to protecting the individual from retaliation, and it identifies the staff or board members these events can be reported to. Further, proper communication channels and processes have been created. As transparency and accountability are part of the organisation’s values and principles, MACOHELP wants to be recognized as a trusted actor in the country and among international donors and other stakeholders that could play an important role in the programmes and projects carried out by the organisation.
The team—lead by Dr Collins Mbalilwa—believes that it is possible to provide the communities with skills to live a healthy and economically empowering lifestyle in Kenya. Believing in the power of teamwork, MACOHELP is grateful to have obtained new skills that will support their daily activities to build a better world.
C4Gee: BUILDING A WORLD WHERE WOMEN AND MEN HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION AND HEALTH
The Centre of Education, Graduate Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (C4Gee) is a Ugandan not-for-profit multi-sectoral organisation founded in 2014.
This team, led by Lwanga Musisi (Director), aims ‘to promote education, human rights and nurture entrepreneurial abilities of children, youth, women and other vulnerable groups through advocacy, community empowerment and research’. C4Gee advocates for a fair, just, and equitable education system as it promotes education for all—regardless of gender, social status, sex, ethnicity, or any type of disability. The organisation also provides tools to prevent any kind of abuse or harassment for the women who are part of their activities. In addition, C4Gee advocates for guaranteeing public expenditure on education to provide quality education for all children in Uganda.
C4Gee focuses its efforts on education and health. With the support of IWORDS Grassroots, this organisation developed a Theory of Change for the following four years. In the long term, C4Gee intends to generate the following impact: empowering children and youth on their human rights—especially the right to decide on their bodies and the right to receive appropriate and timely sexual education—and to develop skills that give them opportunities to be a part of the labour system. Further, the organisation aims to strengthen communities and not only individuals. For that reason, the second strategic area aims to empower communities and develop capacities that lead to the creation of local leadership. C4Gee strongly believes that entrepreneurship is the key to local development at all levels: advocacy, equality, and equity.
C4Gee worked with great commitment and engaged all levels of the organisation to develop the Strategic Plan document, which extensively explains the above-mentioned medium-term outcomes and outputs. This effort was implemented with the understanding that a strategic planning process is a useful tool to guide decisions and activities to be carried out.
As part of this document, C4Gee also developed a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan to generate parameters to evaluate progress and corrective actions when needed. Some indicators were defined, as well as their frame for application and means of verification. This approach will enable C4Gee to show specific and objective results to both internal and external stakeholders. The organisation will monitor impact indicators (strategic areas of change), result indicators (lines of action), and achievement of institutional objectives. At the same time, after each strategic period, C4Gee will regularly conduct a final evaluation. The organization believes that since the strategic plan was developed during the COVID-19 period, it reflects innovations that are necessary in advocating for education, human rights, and sexual and reproductive health for youth, women, children, and other vulnerable groups in Uganda.
Furthermore—and as part of its institutional objectives—C4Gee decided to focus on developing a resource mobilisation strategy aligned with the organisational mission, objectives, and strategic plan. This document has been considered a priority since it supports organisational sustainability and it allows the organisation to identify current and new sources of income, according to the needs and objectives previously defined.
It is very important to underline that C4Gee understands the needs of the communities that are going to be impacted under the 2022–2027 strategic period and that the team is prepared to provide evidence-based results. Developing skills in the resource mobilisation area is a priority for the organisation and it is one of the institutional objectives to achieve in the short term. Without any doubt, C4Gee has focused its efforts on building credibility and reputation, aspects that contribute to the successful implementation of a resource mobilisation strategy.