Introduction /Registration status
The Victim Relief Alliance (TVRA) is a Ugandan not-for-pro?t Organization formed in July 2007. It is registered with the National NGO Bureau under registration number 5022 (INDR 149633616 NB) and Permit Number 5424 (IND P0003616 NB). TVRA’s primary objective is to empower the poor and marginalized communities to actively confront their underdevelopment occasioned by high levels of poverty marginalization and disasters.
Empowered People Living in Safety and Dignity’
Empowering people whose lives are shattered by conflicts and disasters through socio Economic Transformation, Psychosocial support, and logistical support.
CORE INTERVENTION AREAS
1) Environment and Climate Change Adaptation
The previous strategic plan did not look at issues of environment and biodiversity in particular. Yet this is a core concern in the West Nile sub-region. Massive tree cutting for fuel consumption and construction has been witnessed in the settlement and surrounding area. From observation, the rate of harvesting surpasses the regeneration capacity. It is only a matter of time before the impact begins to be felt widely. Environmental sustainability approaches through tree planting, use of energy-saving stoves, reduction on cutting of trees and charcoal burning, soil and water management, selection of environmentally friendly enterprises like the apiary were minimally catered over the last 5years.
The strategic direction now is to contribute towards addressing rampant environmental degradation issues in the region caused by the influx of the refugees that has caused increased destruction on the environment. The stress is partly due to the increased carrying capacity on the available natural resources and the demand for basic needs.
TVRA’s current strategic direction will focus on nursery bed development, afforestation and re-afforestation on existing government lands, promoting tree planting in schools, and increased advocacy on endangered spices within the West Nile region, among other areas.
2) Livelihood & Sustainable Agriculture
This strategic direction will focus on food security and income. The situation at the onset was that livestock production, apiary, market research, value addition, installation of value addition structures were met with minimal progress. Critical challenges were registered as a result of pest and disease infestation, destruction by stray animals, and knowledge uptake and management. The desired situation will focus on increasing access to Agri finance, access to quality inputs, promoting tractor powered traction alongside animal traction, conservation farming adoption and livestock promotion.
TVRA will embrace a business outlook, strong commitment to local resource mobilization and professional management of its income-generating projects. This strategy has to be embraced by the board, management and staff in order to realize it. The previous strategic plan registered limited progress in the social enterprise promotion and formation of income generating activities and formation of village savings and Loan Associations within the existing groups either formed or affiliated to TVRA.
In this strategic direction much focus will be on Vocational training on relevant economic activities (e.g. in the sector of craft, manufacture of wood and wood products) to enhance abilities of both refugees and host communities to create their own jobs and small-scale business.
Build entrepreneurial capacity and provide start-up capital to innovative businesses and start-ups. including; building capacity in technical aspects of each enterprise where needed through the vocational programme.
Conduct basic training in entrepreneurial, business plan development, business management, investment planning and expansion, good client care and backyard farming (fruits), promoting village saving and loan schemes, bee keeping, sale of the environmentally friendly clean energy products and renewable energy among the communities.
Emphasis will be on strengthening the youth, women groups formed by TVRA to increase on generation of local revenue. Other focus areas will be on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and business development including mentorship and coaching.
3) Governance, Accountability and Rule of Law
Participation in Democracy provides an enabling environment within which effective development policies can be formulated, adopted and effectively implemented. It also provides a stable and conducive environment within which public, private sector and civil society institutions can function in a mutually reinforcing manner to effectively promote the delivery of public goods and services.
Since the collapse of dictatorial regimes in Uganda there has been significant progress towards democratization. Uganda adopted a constitution guaranteeing greater freedoms and human rights and opened up political space allowing the functioning of political parties, independent media and civil society organizations. But like all democratic processes, the democratization process in Uganda remains transitional with major steps forwards and several steps backwards.
Support to the democratization process remains focused on strengthening the supply-side with emphasis on building institutions such as the legislature, the judiciary and political parties. Few attempts have been made to build the demand-side of democracy where citizens and civic organizations are encouraged to become not spectators or mere participants but active defenders of democracy.
Within this programme of work, TVRA will therefore aim to strengthen citizen actions to deepen democracy and hold the State, corporations and political leaders accountable. Our focus will be to support citizen participation in the planning and budgeting process, expenditure and resource tracking, social and political accountability, civic education and anti-corruption work. TVRA will deepen its engagement with some of the structural constraints to democratic governance. We will engage with our partners, the wider civil society and political parties to advocate for the democratic, electoral and political reforms necessary to build a new consensus for Uganda, including; advocating for expansion of civic space, demand greater accountability and respect for human rights by the State, private business and the corporate sector.
We will work to popularize important global and continental frameworks such as the African Charter for Human and People’s Rights and strengthen our engagement at regional level. Reflecting our commitment to work with young people, we shall invest in building their leadership as we strive to cultivate a new political and democratic culture in the young generation.
Activities under this programme area seek to achieve five broad goals: Promoting legal and governance reforms that increase democratic space and enhance constitutionalism and the rule of law; Increasing citizen participation and influence over key governance processes, including elections, the planning and budgeting process, and institutional and political reforms, Improved accountability in service delivery to people in the areas where TVRA works, supporting collective action by civil society organizations, citizens and citizen’s groups in championing the cause for greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds and building a youth leadership that respects, upholds and promotes the ethos of democracy in all spheres of engagement and influence.
4) Promotion of Primary Health Care
Primary health care services enable people to gain more control over, and improve, their own health and well-being and that of their families and communities. This area was not well structured in the previous year of TVRA’s strategic plan. In the current strategic plan, TVRA will develop interventions to increase knowledge and awareness to ensure promotion of primary healthcare services is part of everyday life in which people realize their aspirations, satisfy needs and adapt and cope with their personal environment in order to achieve physical, social and mental well-being. Poorer health outcomes and overall health status are linked to low levels of health literacy.
Low health literacy correlates with factors indicating poorer use of health facilities (e.g. increased hospital and emergency admissions, poorer medical adherence, increased health care costs, lower engagement in preventive activities), strengthened health literacy is an important health promotion mechanism to improving outcomes across the life-curs.
TVRA will mobilise resources for effective health promotion, as empowered people are better positioned for roles in society as workers, leaders, mothers, caregivers and volunteers. Our intervention will be to promote social co-existence of the victims (refugees) with the hosting communities through formulating projects that jointly benefit the refugees and hosting communities to increase integration, eliminate social barriers that hinder service delivery to disaster-stricken people.
This will be through: facilitating joint community dialogues on social services, awareness raising on sexual and gender-based violence, promoting peace & conflict resolution, promoting Water, Hygiene and sanitation use and infrastructure, offering infrastructural support to Education, health institutions, shelter provision, improving access to quality education by aiding learners, teachers and the institutions with necessary tools.
5) Conflict, Peace Building and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Disaster occurrences cause displacement and the victims are forced to be settled in gazetted places with different behaviours and characters that without law application may further lead to more conflicts, crime and unwanted behaviours.
Our intervention in this area will be as follows;
i. To offer wide range of legal aid support,
ii. Counselling and rehabilitation services
iii. Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to settle conflicts and build peace among people and communities to avoid further conflicts from rising beyond manageable levels,
iv. Sensitizing refugees on the available policies, guidelines and laws, including undertaking legal clinics to attend to all emerging human rights-based issues in the settlements for immediate response.
v. Promoting protection of human rights of victims through undertaking child protection activities, mobile legal clinics to facilitate individual and group counselling on local laws and general human rights issues;
vi. Undertaking capacity building programs for community stakeholders in peace and conflict resolution,
vii. Facilitating access to justice and legal representation; promoting healthy and traditional approach to peace & conflict resolution to achieve peaceful societies.
viii. Strengthening capacity of local Courts Officials and Area Land committees in adjudication of conflict in the communities.
ix. Creation of awareness through radio Talk shows and spot messages to promote peace.
x. Provision of psychosocial support services through counselling and other forms of stress, trauma and depression management.
xi. Promotion of awareness raising on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) including carrying out of referral services for severe cases to stakeholders such as
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Government of Uganda has put in place the necessary legal and policy provisions to guide and support the processes of educating children and also protect them and The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995, in Article 30 states that, “All persons have a right to education”, Article 34 is specific on the rights of children and states, states that “A child is entitled to basic education which shall be the responsibility of the State and the parents of the child”. These provisions are strengthened by the Bill of Rights, the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy which provide that the State shall promote free and compulsory education, take appropriate measures to afford every citizen equal opportunity to attain the highest educational standard possible.
When renewed conflict broke out in South Sudan in July 2016, an unprecedented number of refugees fled across the border to Uganda, doubling the refugee population in less than seven months with 61% of the total refugee population estimated to be children under the age of 18 years old and thus the children in the host communities in Uganda are equally affected by this influx, as the number of refugees are exceeded the host community population in some of the districts in the West Nile region.
The Ugandan Education Act 2008 states that ‘primary education shall be universal and compulsory for pupils aged 6 (six) years and above which shall last seven years. This includes refugee children. The unprecedented mass influx of refugees into Uganda in 2016 and 2017 has put enormous pressure on the country’s basic service provision, in particular health and education services. Refugees share all social services with the local host communities. Gross enrolment rate (GER) among refugee children stands at 39% for pre-primary, 58% for primary, and 11% for secondary (UNHCR, 2017). Among these, females represent approximately half of all the children enrolled in pre-primary programmes and primary schools. However only a third of the children enrolled in secondary schools are female. Across schools in Uganda learning outcomes in primary schools are however a major challenge, as only around half of the children at P6 reached the expected levels in literacy and numeracy assessments in 2015. Dropout rates remain high at upper primary resulting with low transition to secondary school, especially for girls. There is also a fairly low survival rate of 32.0% for primary and a low P7 completion rate of 61.5% (EMIS, 2016). Further, there is limited participation of children with disabilities and other vulnerable children in schools.
This is partly due to costs of education, the typical practice of prioritizing boys access to education over girls, children being taken out of school to perform income generating activities, plus pressures for early marriage, teenage pregnancy, the distance to schools and the prevalence and fear of SGBV in or on the way to schools meaning that parents/ guardians chose not sending girls to school as a protective measure, and cultural norms. Menstrual hygiene management is an issue for girls, particularly in the refugee settlements and access to and disposal of sanitary materials in schools remains a problem. The high cost of suitable products mean that some girls are missing school every month, which can impact on learning. Many of the schools do not have an adequate number of adolescent friendly WASH facilities.
Primary schools within the host community are already oversubscribed with 120.8% gross enrolment, indicating a large number of overage children within the schools. This coupled with half of all primary aged refugee children being enrolled in primary schools has resulted in congestion and poor conditions in the classrooms. This makes learning difficult for all and particularly difficult for girl child, who may need additional support during the menstrual periods to keep them safe in schools. (Source: Reported by UWEZO-Uganda, Nov 19th 2019).In the lower grades (P3), learning outcomes are equally low for refugee and non-refugee children (more than 90% are unable to read, comprehend, and divide), In both refugee and non-refugee households, children from female-headed households tend to have higher competencies than their counterparts in male-headed households, Boys generally outperform girls in the settlements and host communities, More refugees use clean and sustainable sources of energy: solar energy is the main source of lighting for both refugees (66%) and non-refugees (40%), The pupil to English textbook ratio is 51:1 within refugee settlements and 2:1 outside the settlements, In Arua the pupil to classroom ratio is 350:1 in schools inside refugee settlements and 127:1 in schools in host communities, More schools outside refugee settlements (46%) have supplementary learning materials such as charts and other visual aids than schools within refugee settlements (28%), Teacher attendance is better in schools within refugee settlements (at 79%) than in schools outside refugee settlements (75%) (Source: Uwezo Uganda refugee report 2019).
With all the above background, TVRA intends to do the following to support Education:
i. Promotion of school feeding program in primary schools to promote retention, school completion rate and nutrition among school children.
ii. Supporting of school infrastructure programs to increase learning space in schools with higher numbers of children.
iii. Establishment of ECD Centres, orphanages to promote early childhood education and offer direct support to vulnerable orphans to achieve education.
iv. Undertake provision of comprehensive education scholarship services for the most at risk children from Pre-primary to tertiary institutions.
v. Provision assistance to support establishment of school library, ICT and science laboratory facilities.
vi. Provision of solar lighting systems in schools to facilitate effective studies for children.
vii. Monitoring of teaching and learning outcomes in partner schools to ensure learners are actually retaining knowledge and skills learnt in the classroom.
viii. Strengthening of school management structures to increase supervision, accountability and commitment by the stakeholders.
ix. Promoting skilling of school leavers for job creation through offering tailored trainings for marketable skills required in the current labour market.
x. Undertaking Guidance and Counselling services for school children to make better choices.
xi. Establishment of school investment clubs and Young Farmer Clubs to learn and develop business and entrepreneurial skills mindset at an early stage.
xii. Promotion of sporting activities in schools and communities
xiii. Undertaking tool collection and granting to rehabilitate youth groups and individuals as start-up kits to establish or support their enterprises.
7) Institutional strengthening
Firstly, the previous strategic plan registered minimal achievements in the areas of Asset Acquisition, creating training management structures on their mandate, preparation of fundable proposals, introduction of income generating activities and yet they are critical for sustainability of TVRA,
Secondly, beyond the donor driven programs most outcomes were not integrated into other TVRA programmes.
Thirdly, beneficiaries under the variuos projects are not necessarily TVRA groups and this deprives TVRA’s growth through formation of Village Savings and loan Association and promotion and development of the social enterprise as a source of local revenue. This made it difficult for the TVRA to define its constituency.
Staff turnover has been a major issue in the previous strategic period as most staff had been on volunteers. In this strategic direction, a strong and growing institution is a must for TVRA if it is to deliver its commitments in the strategic period 2020-2025.
TVRA will have a strong commitment to governance and management. There will be clearer lines of reporting among the internal stakeholders such as management and the staff.
This strategic direction will also focus on strengthening the groups formed by TVRA at village, parish and sub county levels, self-generated income through investment, creating a business wing, etc. It will further look at staff recruitment to integrate professionals with human resource management, Agriculture/Agronomy, environment, communication and documentation backgrounds to blend the current skills that are basically in Humanities. Keen attention will be on recruitment policy, staff development policy, staff motivation policy, succession policy among others.
Institutional development will look at working closely with strategic partners including local government both technical and political wings. Specific policies on gender and HIV/AIDS work place policies will be developed within the strategic period. Implementation of necessary systems /policies to support functioning of the board, staff will be enhanced.
In order to achieve this, TVRA will strengthen staff capacity through training and continuous learning programme of staff on all her core programme areas including environmental and climate dimensions of West Nile region through: analysis of lessons learned from TVRA’s programming experience; participation in National, regional and global networks and knowledge platforms to stay abreast with scientific breakthroughs and emerging trends, and learn from others’ experiences; and integrate new learning into our programmes in order to involve all programme participants, Linking knowledge and communication, TVRA will ensure that its knowledge comes from a diversity of sources and is shared with stakeholders and other target audiences in appropriate ways.
i. Staff and BOD capacity Development
ii. Strategic Partnership Management
iii. Staff recruitment, training and retention
iv. Strengthening of the TVRA Social Enterprise wing for institutional sustainability
v. Policy Development, Advocacy and Lobbying
vi. Local and International Resource Mobilization
vii. Development and implementation of organizational policies
viii. Publicity, documentation, and Visibility
ix. Strengthening of member/partnership organization’s capacity
x. Collaboration and networking
xi. Cross cutting issues and orientation of BOD and staff on such issues.
xii. Facilitation of stakeholder relations e.g. with Government, Local institutions and Donors
8) Research and Training
TVRA will raise resources to invest in research and training to enable the organization act for informed point of view. This research will be undertaken to address emerging development challenges and will consider issues covered in the various thematic areas of intervention expressed in the Strategic plan.
The following form part of our core Research and Training activities:
i. Development of Fundable research proposal done individually or in partnership other institutions that share the same objectives like TVRA.
ii. Carrying out studies on topical community issues that require our investment and support.
iii. Research Dissemination and Publication of findings
iv. Policy formulation and advocacy
v. Establishment of a Training facility that will self-sustain through offering specialized services to partners and beneficiaries.
Geographical/ operational scope
The Victim Relief Alliance implements its programs in the West Nile region, and the northern region of Uganda as mandated by the National Bureau for Non- Governmental Organizations of Uganda.
Current and Running projects
The Victim Relief Alliance (TVRA) is currently implementing a 2year project titled: “Rehabilitation and Protection of Natural Resources in Refugee and Host Communities, Arua district, Northern Uganda” in consortium with Caritas Nebbi, Ecological Christian organization (ECO)