April 2013

All posts from April 2013

Impressive Results of the First Core Course Round

by fontes on 25/04/2013 No comments

The first round of Core Course students has successfully graduated in April. Especially the business plans they created were overall very promising and impressive.

The Potentiam Youth Development Centre is proud to graduate the first intake of Core course students who enrolled in November last year. The students who received a certificate in Applied Business Skills from the Youth Centre were extremely excited and ready to implement the business plans that they had spent the last 6 months preparing. The Centre was set up with a unique strategy not just to empower youth by developing their business skills, but the personal development course and all aspects of the business course were developed in a way that supports critical thinking. The curriculum in Uganda is crippling too many students who study with the sole aim to pass exams and not necessarily to learn. Working closely with youth who have dropped out of the formal learning system, it was necessary to apply methods that would improve the classroom environment, promoting different learning styles and ability.

11 students from the first round of the 6 month core course in Applied Business skills graduated on 13th April 2013.

11 students from the first round of the 6 month core course in Applied Business skills graduated on 13th April 2013.

11 students were able to graduate out of the 15 who started the course. 3 students dropped out for personal reasons and 1 student did not receive the marks required to graduate from the course. The graduation ceremony was very colourful with representatives from the community and parents in attendance to help the students celebrate this milestone in their lives. There was entertainment from the Fontes Drama Troop with a couple of students performing their original song compositions which got everybody excited. The students are eager to apply their education and some of them have already found employment.

The Potentiam Youth Centre is striving to provide education that is relevant, motivational, engaging and most of all easily understood by the students. The likelihood of young entrepreneurs returning to their home communities can be enhanced by connecting them with specific business opportunities, either a new business startup or being employed by an existing business. It is therefore essential that the students understand their business plans and find a way to apply it in either situation. With the help of the community and the mentors, several students have already been able to find employment after graduating from the centre. Others have concrete plans laid out in their business plans and are saving to finance their start-ups.

The students are required to keep their business plans realistic, innovative, feasible and scalable. To achieve this, they had to conduct a market research and analysis and in their own simple way. They were able to understand the importance of having a plan in place and anticipating the challenges in their businesses. Some of the students even went ahead to start micro businesses within the centre, providing treats for their fellow students and some were even employed by the centre.

The students exceeded all expectations presenting impressive business plans that demonstrated clear understandings of the businesses they hoped to delve into.

They were able to confidently present their business plans to a panel of judges. In an impressive end to the course, the business plans were not only innovative and well written but also demonstrated a level of thinking and attitude adjustment which justified the approach that Fontes Foundation has taken from the start.

The Centre is currently seeking funding to finance a Business Development and Advisory component to follow up the students’ plans and have far reaching impact on their livelihood options.

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fontesImpressive Results of the First Core Course Round

Monitoring as the Key to Sustainable Development

by Lucrezia Biteete on 15/04/2013 No comments

In April, the Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery Symposium took place in Addis Ababa, with participation of Fontes Foundation staff.

Monitoring of development initiatives is a controversial issue. Some say organizations are spending too much on useless, one-off exercises that are not updated, relevant or even used by anyone. Others say organizations do not have sufficient knowledge of the programmes they are carrying out in order to make good decisions, such as information on functionality, cost, impact and demand. How to strike a balance between using a minimum of resources and having access to sufficient information, at all levels, at all times, to make informed decisions which contribute towards improved service delivery and sustainability? From the 9th to the 11th April 2013, Lucrezia Biteete, Regional Coordinator of Fontes Foundation, participated at the Monitoring Sustainable WASH Service Delivery Symposium, organised by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Based on the cost analysis in Kabarole district, the expenditure per capita for the different technologies in 2013 Uganda shillings, broken down by categories.

Based on the cost analysis in Kabarole district, the expenditure per capita for the different technologies in 2013 Uganda shillings, broken down by categories.

Fontes Foundation has been at the forefront on monitoring for many years. In 2008, a paper was presented at the WEDC conference in Accra, Ghana, outlining the different flows of information from community water projects such as daily water quantity information, monthly incomes and expenditures and annual numbers of beneficiaries. Already in this paper it is highlighted how important it is to ask the following questions: Who is the monitoring for? What information are those agents primarily interested in? The purpose of the monitoring should always be prioritized when developing a monitoring and evaluation framework; will the information be used to make management decisions? To report to donors? To improve a certain programme or approach? Most approaches presented at the conference showed a one-time survey and its results, but did not mention how the effort is going to be continued, who is going to pay for it and how the information will actually be used in a practical way.

Fontes has been part of an informal working group on monitoring sustainability since 2010, together with representatives from Water for People/Improve International, WASH Advocates and WASHCost/WaterAid. The team came together in Addis Ababa.

Fontes Foundation has continued its work on monitoring by developing a new indicator, Water-Person-Years, in 2009. Since then, Fontes Foundation has also participated in an informal working group, together with practitioners from WaterAid, Improve International and WASH Advocates, in order to develop a better indicator for sustainability in water projects than the most commonly used “coverage” indicator. In addition, Fontes Foundation has an established monitoring and evaluation framework in all projects. In the water projects, monthly reports are collected by the organization from the water committees, with information on quality, use and finances. The GSM monitoring system is operating in two villages, sending real-time information by SMS on water quantity, incomes and expenditures. The youth project has an elaborated monitoring and evaluation framework with a number of tools in order to improve the courses, evaluate facilitators, follow up the progress on students and provide motivation for time-keeping.

During the conference in Addis Ababa, the use of ICT in monitoring was thoroughly discussed. A number of new technologies such as smart phones and internet platforms are used to share information quicker, to a broader audience. Fontes Foundation built such a system already in 2007. Many ICT solutions encounter challenges in the implementation phase because the human aspect has not been sufficiently taken into account; people will only use something if they are motivated and have the capacity to do so.

Lucrezia Biteete also presented a paper which is based on a study which collected information on all expenditures related to rural water supply delivery in an entire district in Uganda (Kabarole) for the last 3 years. This is part of a drive to make stakeholders aware of the Life-Cycle Cost Approach in Uganda, in order to improve planning and budgeting in the sector. All publications mentioned in this article can be found on our website.

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Lucrezia BiteeteMonitoring as the Key to Sustainable Development

Getting Connected

by fontes on 10/04/2013 No comments

Fontes Foundation opened its internet café in the Katunguru area in Southwestern Uganda.

The Fontes Foundation internet café was officially launched on 9th April 2013. The internet café is the latest project of Fontes Foundation Uganda and gives people in the Katunguru area, which is located in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Southwestern Uganda, the possibility to get connected to the world wide web. With a safe water scheme and a primary school project already established in the same village, the internet café is a great contribution to the further development of the region. Especially the primary school and its teachers can profit from this opportunity to have access to computers and the internet. The ceremony was attended by a variety of representatives from politics and the local administration, which shows that the efforts of Fontes Foundation are noticed and appreciated. The inauguration has been organised by the Katunguru-Rubirizi Primary School, with a variety of entertaining contributions by the students.

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fontesGetting Connected