By Basit Ibanda, Iganga Field Coordinator and Caellagh Morrissey, Project and M&E Manager
S.O.U.L. Foundation’s Iganga Community Center is now celebrating one month of official full-time operation. Two permanent Iganga-based S.O.U.L. staff members Basit Ibanda and Caellagh Morrissey have now opened the center to be accessible to the community on a regular basis, and to continue the implementation of S.O.U.L. projects in this new location. Members of the community are excited to be able to visit the office at any time, and S.O.U.L. receives daily applications for the student sponsorship program from people in all of the surrounding villages.
The Iganga-based team has just finished their first round of student evaluations after the completion of Term 2 for sponsored students in the area. Students no longer need to travel the 40 kilometers to S.O.U.L.’s main office, but can now easily access the new office and approach the staff to ask questions. During their holidays, excited students came to the new office to draw, play games, and meet the new staff.
The Iganga staff have recently visited each S.O.U.L. partner school in Iganga to check on the welfare of the students, and to introduce the new staff members to head teachers and school faculty. The staff members have also had the opportunity to go and visit the homes of each student sponsored by S.O.U.L. in the area to motivate and connect further with the families of those students. They have also recently held a successful Parents’ Committee Meeting, during which parents expressed their gratitude to the Foundation and their excitement for the continuing growth of new projects. As of last week, students have just begun their third and final term of the current school year and have returned to their studies.
This week also marks the planting of 3,800 trees in S.O.U.L. Foundation’s new eucalyptus tree garden in Iganga District. These trees will be carefully monitored over the next several years, and eventually harvested to raise funds for other S.O.U.L. programs. With the help of the S.O.U.L. staff members in Jinja and many volunteers from the surrounding area, this project took a full three days to complete!
The S.O.U.L. Iganga chicken groups have recently completed their training and are now making the final touches on their brooders and preparing for the first cycle of chicken raising. The women are busy creating budgets, reviewing the rearing process, and preparing their brooder for the arrival of 100 birds. During this first cycle, staff members will be there to guide the women through each step, with the eventual goal that they will be able to run their chicken business completely autonomously.
We are also recently celebrating the installation of a solar lighting system in the Iganga Community Center. These solar panels will bring power to the remote location of S.O.U.L.’s Iganga office and will pave the way for further development of solar power that will eventually run the Iganga computer lab. Community members are extremely excited about this project, and hope that with access to computer trainings they will be better prepared to find sustainable livelihoods after completing their education.
The S.O.U.L. team is looking forward to the continued growth of the Iganga programs, and is so grateful for the ongoing support of our partners. To continue supporting our Iganga projects, please consider making a contribution here or here.