In 2015, while working with rural schools in Lwengo and Lyantonde districts, our founder Stephen Katende witnessed the heartbreaking reality of many children dropping out of school. He decided to launch a go back to school campaign to address the issue. With the help of community volunteers, He helped 237 children return to school and continue their education.
However, He soon realized that the campaign was not enough. Many children dropped out again after a short period. They wondered what was the root cause of this problem. Stephen conducted a thorough investigation in Lwengo district to understand why the dropouts continued despite the campaign. He interviewed parents, teachers, and community leaders and asked them about their challenges and needs. The community identified poverty as the major reason for dropouts. They explained that many parents could not afford to pay school fees, buy books and uniforms, or provide nutritious meals for their children. They also lacked the skills and knowledge to start or grow their own businesses or access credit and savings services.
Our co-founders were determined to find a solution to these problems. They wanted to empower parents to become financially independent and invest in their children’s education. In June 2016, Stephen mobilized 30 parents in Lukindu BT Academy to start a saving group based in the school. He taught them how to save some money every week, borrow when they needed, and learn new skills from other parents. He also encouraged them to start income-generating projects that could supplement their income and improve their livelihoods.
The results were amazing. The parents became more confident and happy. They were able to pay their children’s school fees, buy them books and uniforms, and even send them to secondary school or vocational training. They also improved their living conditions by buying better houses, furniture, and appliances. They also became more involved in their children’s education by attending parent-teacher meetings, monitoring their homework, and supporting their aspirations.
One of the parents who benefited from our saving group was Jajja Alex, a grand mother who was struggling to keep her grand children in school. She had no source of income and no support from her relatives. She was desperate and hopeless. Stephen invited her to join the saving group based in Lukindu BT Academy, where she could save some money every week, borrow when she needed, and learn new skills from other parents. Jajja Alex joined the group and soon she was able to pay her grand children’s school fees, buy them books and uniforms, and even start a small poultry business. She became more-confident and happy. She said “Kisoboka Africa has given me hope and dignity. I am proud of myself and my grand children. I am grateful for this opportunity.”
In 2017, Kisoboka Africa was officially registered as a non-profit organization by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) on 7th August 2017 by 3 co-founders: Stephen, Daisy and Bruce (All former fellows of Building Tomorrow). We named our organization Kisoboka Africa, meaning “It is possible”, because we believe that it is possible for every child in Africa to have access to quality education and for every parent in Africa to have a sustainable livelihood