Soroptimists in South Lancashire focussed on Act 4 Africa at the Region’s Programme Action meeting. SI Manchester members Sue Underwood and Barbara Blaber led an informative session on the charity’s progress.
Act 4 Africa currently works in Uganda on tackling gender inequality. In sub-Saharan Africa this inequality impacts women, girls, their families and their communities. Females face violence. Their inferior position in society can leave them powerless and vulnerable.
All Act 4 Africa’s projects follow their tried-and-tested HEAL strategy; Health, Education, Agriculture and Livelihoods. Sue and Barbara described some projects.
Health: In Uganda’s Mayuge District a project working with adolescent mothers provided support on mental issues as well as sexual and reproductive health. Covid-19 money was used to fund the creation of a bore-hole to supply water.
Education: Only 40% of girls attend primary school and only 15% complete Uganda’s secondary education. Kathy’s Kindergarten provides vital early-years education for 60-70 children in the Mayuge district. Act 4 Africa’s ‘Grow a Girl’ project enables sponsors to support girls through education and thus have a chance to build a stable future.
Agriculture: ‘Grains for Growth’ has worked in partnership with the World Food Programme. It has supplied families with air-tight silos in which they can safely store crops throughout the year.
Livelihoods: As women are disadvantaged economically Act 4 Africa offers training opportunities. These support women in setting up small businesses; therefore they can become financially stronger. Projects link directly with what women want to do – tailoring, hairdressing and cookery, for example.
Sriya Kulupana, the Region’s Programme Action Officer, said: “Manchester’s Soroptimists have long been involved with Act 4 Africa.
“In 2018 the club received a Programme Action Award from Soroptimist International, Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) for the club’s work with HEAL : Malawi.
“That relationship – and the charity’s transformational work to tackle gender inequality – continues.”