Autumn Impact Report 2022-2

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March 2022 - September 2022

Tribute to Susan Ajok

It has been very difficult to come to terms with Susan's

death. Her presence is still felt in our conversations, as

well as in our meetings.

Passionate about change, she was dedicated to her

work and keen to see our organization achieve care

reform in Uganda.

Hearing her humorous stories was always fun, and she

always made sure we learned something valuable in

the process.

Following her departure from Straight Talk Foundation,

where we met, she joined Child's i. I was a radio

presenter, and she was a data clerk. We talked for a

long time in January 2020 about how much we had

both grown professionally since our early days at

Straight Talk, sharing stories about who mentored us,

and laughing at some of the values we held onto.

Susan valued her work family.

She knew every member of staff and volunteer by

name. She was interested in getting to know everyone

and spent time understanding who they were. She

valued team development as well, and made sure that

all employees had an equal opportunity to learn and


She also valued staff well-being, and acknowledged the

impact that the C19 lockdown and subsequent

transitions had had on everyone’s emotional energy, so

she encouraged regular reflection meetings to deal

with this, in which she stressed the importance of

celebrating achievements and learning from what could

have been done better.

Because of Susan's support and encouragement, we

have a stronger and more connected team. One that

looks out for one another and celebrates milestones


There is a lot we will miss about Susan, but especially

her dedication to women's rights, and youth advocacy.

We will also remember her love for music.

Child's i would like to extend our gratitude to all our

friends, donors, supporters, and partners who have

reached out, and offered support. We are also very

grateful to everyone who reached out to Susan's family

during this time.


This impact report is dedicated to Susan, whose

leadership at Child's i helped to achieve the

milestones detailed here.

In this edition of our impact report, we highlight

the support peer parenting and advocacy

groups offer to parents facing a range of


We also amplify the voices of young people with

care experience to understand how they

provide peer mental health support to other

young people.

We also share Tororo's transformation story and

the impact it is already having on children and

families living in a district without orphanages.

I'm delighted to share with you an overview of

our new strategy "Family" that will be launched

in January 2023. We have consulted far and

wide, but most importantly, we listened to

children, families and communities.

With the increased cost of living and the recent

outbreak of Ebola, many Ugandan families and

children continue to face heightened risks.

Our trained and trusted community volunteers

and our youth well-being champions, with

support from our social work team, continue to

reach families and children. With your continued

support,they will remain there as long as our

communities need them.

Your support continues to be vital in helping us

keep families and children together, whatever

the situation, orphanages cannot be the


Our Impact



Families supported with food

parcels, medical care, education and

other assistance to ensure they stay


Foster carers

trained to provide a

safe and loving

home for children



children transitioned

from orphanages into

safe and loving



Foster carers approved by the

local government

Young people were

reached and suported

by trained well being


Parents of children with

disabilities were trained

on parenting, child rights

and child protection



Christopher Muwanguzi

Chief Executive

Child's i Foundation

2 community

Institutions were

supported to

transition into


Our achievements between March to September 2022


Scaling through peer

support groups

As a leading advocate of family and community-based

care in place of institutional care, we recognize the

importance of ensuring that parents have a platform

to amplify their voices.

We are supporting the development of a parent

movement to advocate for the importance of familybased

care and deinstitutionalisation in their

communities, influence local and national policies.

Peer parenting and advocacy groups have been

established across Tororo, Mpigi and Kampala districts.

These have been equipped with training in leadership

and community mobilisation and are crucial in

creating sustainable and long-term change that they

want to see in their communities.

With the knowledge and skills acquired, peer groups

are now gatekeepers in their communities responding

to and referring children at risk of separation. This

includes those with disabilities.

The Adoptive Parents Association, now a successful

and independent movement of adoptive parents in

Uganda, advocates for changes to the adoption law.

What parents say ...

"We share our problems and listen to each other.

Together, we discuss solutions to address these


"The group provides us with a better

understanding of how to support our children

especially children with additional needs."

"From the support group, we have gained reliable

allies and advocates in our communities."

"I have been supported emotionally and developed

coping skills."

"I have a much better understanding of my

finances, and how to make a profit in a business."


Peer support groups have

been created


Parents have been trained

and supported through peer

support groups


Our visit to Namuwongo

A parenting group

During one of their monthly meetings, we met with the

parents to hear about their experiences. We also

discussed how the program has been useful for them

in learning new skills and building capacity to support

each other.

Nabukeera decided to join the peer group to join other

parents facing challenges similar to her own. "There’s

also a component of saving money for our children."

She tells us, "this also encouraged me to get involved."

she says with a smile.

Another parent we spoke with (Athieno) had the

impression that it was just her who found raising a

disabled child challenging. However, upon joining the

group, she realised that there were other parents who

had similar challenges."We were invited for a

sensitization training and discussion. We exchanged

advice and suggestions, and we also built each other

up," she explains.

Another parent, Nabakooza told us she felt sad about

her situation but when she joined, she realised that she

was not alone. She has also been able to start a new

business with financial support from the group.

Namubiru recaps that during the training, she realised

that their children were not burdens and she

acknowledged that she needed to show more love to

her child.

Athieno recaps how the training encouraged her saying

“We used to plan for children who had no disability

and not for children with disabilities. But meeting and

listening to other parents has taught me to take heart.

We were also taught the various things we can do to

prevent some of the disabilities. We were advised that

the right solution is to speak to a maternal health

worker and to visit a hospital for antenatal care."

When Nabulya first heard about the group, she felt

relieved that her child was not forgotten. She was so

pleased that she had made new friends and stopped

feeling sorry for herself.

Athieno credits the love and unity that has grown

among group members, who at first didn't know each

another but have since become friends and family.

"I advocate for children living

with disabilities, by raising

awareness regarding the

stigma they face.”

- Athieno Irene, Chairperson,

Namuwongo A Group

Ategeka says the group has helped her financial

position and financial literacy. She didn’t know how to

trade and make profits but through knowledge

sharing, she has learnt how to make a profit with her

business. Ategeka is one of the parents who received

support to start her own business.

Nabukeera’s child has a physical disability. She was

supported to buy mobility equipment to enable her

child to stand and sit.

Nabakooza was grateful for the income and advice to

start a vegetable business as she had no money to

support her four children. She can now support her


"I advocate for children living with disabilities by

raising awareness regarding the stigma they face.”

Athieno shares. She continued on to share that her

mindset changed towards children living with

disabilities and now wants to share this with as many

people in the community.As a group chairperson

Athieno also advocates for economic strengthening

for her members. This is so that they are able to plan

and make informed financial decisions, as well as save

for difficult periods ahead.

Shadia, a mother of two, told us it is imperative to

empower partners (husbands) to be more inclusive

and responsible for families with disabilities. Shadia

attributes the causes of broken families to some

fathers failing in their responsibilities. She also cited

domestic abuse and family abandonment as the

results of a lack of awareness.

Athieno concludes our visit to the group with what

she says is a very pertinent lesson for us to take away.

"Despite their low incomes," she reminds us, parents

can still save. She continues on to say that as a group

they are building each others skills, to do things like

craft making. This will enable them to supplement the

income they earn and boost their income. In addition

to her, all of the parents are very proud of what they

have accomplished as a peer support and advocacy


Peer parenting support and advocacy groups are

supported by the UBS Optimus Foundation and the

Ugandan local authority. Support groups build

financial literacy, business skills, parenting skills, and

peer support. In addition, the groups serve to amplify

the voices of parents with lived experience,

highlighting challenges faced by their families to duty

bearers (local authorities, politicians) in their



Building a network of

well-being champions

Project Goals


young people will be reached with

mental health information and



Wellbeing committees

active across 5 districts.


Social workers trained on

trauma informed

approaches to address

mental health needs

among youth in Uganda.


Care experinced youth

trained as well being


With the support of Grand Challenges Canada, we

have created ten well-being committees across five

districts as part of our youth well-being project, which

is being carried out in partnership with local

government youth officers.

In addition to young people with lived experience of

care, well-being committees also include young people

with disabilities as well as those with lived experience

of care. The committees are also supported by, youth

leaders from organisations and a local government

social worker run support groups.

Youth-led and youth-run, this committee promotes

mental health awareness, life skills, and social skills

among young people. School life, budgeting,

relationships, and depression are among these topics.

As well as referring youth to specialist and clinical

support services, they also offer guidance and referrals.

As part of their advocacy efforts, they will aim to

challenge stigma in communities and provide support

and safe spaces for young people experiencing mental


80 social workers and 40 social workers have been upskilled

to help young people with mental health issues

as part of the project.

Additionally, the fund supported a youth-led learning

partnership between youth with care experience in

Uganda and students from Ugandan universities in

their final year of social work studies, in order to raise

awareness and combat mental health stigma among

young people through the development of a wellbeing

toolkit - "break the silence" - about mental health


Child's i Foundation, in partnership with Uganda Care

Leavers Association, No Limit Generation, and Makerere

University, is conducting a pilot research project.

Our aim is to publish a paper in the early part of 2023

demonstrating the validity of the approach and proof

of concept.


Brenda's story

Brenda is a care experienced youth, who is also a

trained and certified well-being champion. Following

her mental health and well-being training, she has

provided peer support to 17 young people in her

community over the last 6 months. She meets with her

mentees regularly, providing a safe space for them to

share their concerns.

Brenda's parents were unable to afford their children's

education, so Brenda and her siblings lived in an

orphanage. She and her siblings spent 9 years in an

orphanage before they had to leave. Whilst in the

orphanage she faced verbal abuse, which she says

affected her self confidence greatly. She shared that

on leaving, she struggled to cope, often felt depressed,

had feelings of anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Brenda had never had mental health support, until she

met with our project psychologist, Grace, who she says

helped her see life differently. From the structured

sessions she participated in, she feels she now has a

renewed sense of hope.

Following therapy, which she continues to access,

Brenda felt that she wanted to help other people, who

she knew were struggling like her. However, she had

never spoken to anyone about her mental health and


She realised that most youth have a lot in common;

she listed them for us, naming depression, anxiety,

frustration and a feeling of hopelessness.

She meets with her fellow youth to reassure them,

share her story and help build their confidence using

drama, and games.“Most of the young people confide

in me, and share their hopes and dreams” she tells us.

Uganda Care Leavers

Association: achieving

impact at scale

The Uganda Care Leavers Association provides

support and assistance to children, young

people, and adults whose childhood was spent

in institutional care (including orphanages,

children's homes, and villages).

UCL currently has over 500 members who are

care leavers from across Uganda. Care leavers

are able to share their experiences, learn from

each other, and work together to accomplish

common goals through this network.

The youth well-being project also aims to

provide a forum for young people who have

experience of care to voice their concerns about

institutionalisation and advocate for their rights

concerning family, well-being, and mental


As a result of the research conducted in this

project, we will be able to work in partnership

with Ugandan care leavers. By doing so, we will

be able to build a grassroots movement that will

compel care reform in Uganda and throughout

the world.

Many of the youth Brenda has supported want to go

back to school, get vocational skills, and get a good


Brenda’s vision is to create a safe space for vulnerable

youth to enjoy sports, music dance and drama.

While Brenda does not have a published name, she

has written several books so far, including "My uncle's

wife," "Return of Mothers," and "Dreamers." She is

optimistic that one day her books will be on the

bookshelves and some of her artwork will be turned

into plays. She also envisions herself running her own

successful business.


Tororo District

Child’s i Foundation signed a Memorandum of

Understanding with Tororo District local government

in 2016 to transform the district's child protection and

care system.

The first step was to build support and identify

partners who were willing to take part in moving away

from institutional care. Different stakeholders, such as

community leaders and orphanage owners,

participated in partnership building meetings.

We based our key messages on 80 years of research

and evidence. Additionally, we encourage participants

to rethink the orphanage model and to reflect on the

root causes of child separation.

Community - led Child

protection explained

The Community Development Networks (CDNs) are

comprised of community members and are locally led.

They are made up of both local government officials

and community volunteers who work together to

ensure the safety of children and families.

When a child requires alternative care, community

volunteers serve as the first line of defense. They

identify at-risk families and children, and educate

communities on the importance of raising children in

families rather than orphanages. They change lives

every day - that’s in their job description!

Peer parenting advocacy groups are made up of

parents who have lived experience and are able to

provide peer support advice and advocacy for parents

and families who need support and want to be heard.

Champions and influencers are community leaders

who promote family strengthening and communitybased


The District Alternative Care Panel is a group of

representatives convened by the local authority. This

committee consists of local government officials,

parents and law makers, and it plays a critical role in

preventing children from being separated from their

families unnecessarily. In cases where separation

occurs, it provides for a suitable family and community

based alternative.

Homes that transitioned

Acts of Messiah closed their doors in 2016

and the children who had come into care as

young children had grown into young adults.

The 5 remaining children relocated to Jinja.

Awinjo Ministries closed in 2019 after all the

45 youth were resettled with their families. It

should be noted that they did not sign an

MOU, but rather worked in partnership on

case management and referrals for the

youth to be reunified.

Smile Africa Ministries transitioned into a

community hub offering feeding programs

for children, as well as a skilling centre for

baking, hairdressing and arts and crafts for

young adults and older women. 46 children

were reintegrated back into birth and

extended family care.

Tororo Children’s Home, also known as

Salvation Army, had 23 children who were

reintegrated. The facility was supported with

tailoring machines and now offers vocational

skilling to the public.

Mavuno Ministries was encountered in 2017

whilst in the early stages of setting up an

institute for babies, but alternative care

training and other consultation work brought

about a total change in mindset which

resulted in Mavuno Ministries abandoning the

idea of starting the babies’ home as they

had planned. As a result, they decided to

focus their efforts on providing support and

resources to families in need.


Impact in numbers


Children placed in safe and loving



Community volunteers trained and

active in their communities



Community Development Networks

set up and active across the district

Champions and influencers trained to

share awareness of the importnce of

family and community


Foster care and adoptive parents,

identified, trained, approved and

placed with children

Bringing change to


Ms. Susan Alamai works for the local government in

Tororo District, in Eastern Uganda.

The local government has relied on her leadership

throughout the district's transformation. Susan is

responsible for all children under her jurisdiction as

the Probation and Social Welfare officer. As the first

district in Uganda to transition all of its orphanages,

Tororo district has pioneered the way for other

districts in Uganda to achieve collective care reforms.

Tororo district is located 4 hours away from Kampala.

Child’s i had existing relationships with the

government, other organisations, and importantly,

strong support from probation and social welfare

officer from the local government. This officer was

willing to drive the change. In addition, some of the

orphanages (children's homes) in the area were

already open to the idea of transition.

We also learned that it was imperative to clarify

expectations and address sources of resistance early

in the process to minimise backlash. Doing so

increased the likelihood stakeholders would

understand, internalise, and cooperate with the

proposal of care reform.

Working closely with Ms Alami, we were intentional in

articulating to stakeholders their future roles in caring

for children. We presented plans to repurpose the

residential care facilities to make a positive impact in

supporting children in their families.

Additionally, we presented the reintegration plans to

the children who would benefit from this transition.

To achieve this, clear and effective channels of

communication were needed with a deep

understanding of the emotional impact of the

proposed changes.

We recognized the importance of involving children

at every stage of the process if we were hoping to

bring about real change. Our staff were able to learn

from children, understand their point of view, and

ensure the process and outcomes were responsive to

their wishes. This was done intentionally by

incorporating child participation and feedback into

the transition process.



The 2023-2030 strategy

Nearly half of the world's children will live in Africa by

the end of the century. In the continent with the

highest level of poverty, there are numerous risk

factors for family separation.

If the global movement for care reform is to be

successful, change must be demonstrated and

achieved in Africa.

Child's i Foundation has been working in Uganda for

more than a decade now to develop an evidencebasedpractice

that will assist in shaping this change.

We are extremely proud of what we have

accomplished so far, which is far beyond what might

have been expected for an organization of our size.

Having demonstrated that children should grow up

with their families and not in orphanages, we are now

ready to scale our impact.

Now is the time to make a change. This is the civil

rights issue of our time.

It is our mission to bring African practice-based

evidence to the movement for global care reform, so

that one day every child will thrive in a safe and loving


Our goal

by 2030 Uganda is fully committed to children

growing up in families not orphanages

Our new strategic

objectives :

1. Consolidate and champion good practice

2. Scale up through partnership and collaboration

3. Mobilise a mass movement for care reform

through authentic Pastor Ruth, and Director African Smile voices Africa



Take Action

Change is possible

Join us in ensuring that every child in Uganda grows

up in a safe and loving environment.

It only takes one small act of generosity to make a big

difference in the lives of children growing up

separated from their families. There are many ways

you can make a difference for children in Uganda. You

can organize a running challenge with your friends,

donate for free while shopping online, or support our

work through philanthropy.


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Make a monthly donation to help us change the way

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and lasting impact of children growing up in families, not orphanages.

Secure a safe future for children in Uganda

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Get a front seat to our work

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Thank you to the families, community volunteers,

government officials, partners, staff, volunteers, and

supporters for making our work possible.

Goodwill Ambassador in Uganda

Lucy Bunyenyezi

Our Ambassadors in the UK

Richard Osman

Tamara Box

Sam Rowe-Beddoe

Greg Nasmyth

Mary O'Connor

Andy Ash

Deborah Francis-White

Nicola Horlick

Natascha Lander

Irem Yerdelen

Special thank you to our photographers Benjamin

Nsubaga and Mark Andrew Nsubuga.

Address in the UK: Child's i Foundation, Abbots Rift,

Monastery Gardens, Rotherfield.

Address in Uganda: Bukasa Rd, Kampala, Uganda



Registered charity number: 1126212


To bring African practice-based evidence to the

movement for global care reform.


One day every child will

thrive in a safe and loving


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