Somero Uganda is a grass roots, community based organisation working to promote the human rights of children exploited in labour, and young women in sexual exploitation along with their male counterparts. We were first registered under the Kampala City Council Authority Reg No. KAW 778, in 2010, as an organised group of young people living and staying in the slums of Kawempe division in Kampala district working to deal with community stigma. This was after the death of our own sister, who, at 17 years old, committed suicide due to community stigma and sexual reproductive health challenges. The young girl lived with a dream of raising money to get back to school (locally known as “Somero”) and engaged in commercial sex as a mean of saving money but did not live to see her dream. This inspired our first programs which aimed at creating a stigma free, safer place for interaction, exchange of ideas and learning from each other among sexually exploited children and young women and mobilization for educational opportunities for us and our children within the slums.
With community appreciating of our vision and mission, our programs have extended to work with the community and communities. In 2015 we registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation under the National NGO board (Reg No. 11114) to extend our services to other parts of the country while working in partnership with other organisations. Today the organization has expanded on its programmatic areas to include key socio-transformation activities for children, young women, and their male counterparts. We implements projects on HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support; Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH); drug abuse prevention, counseling, and career guidance; child marriages, commercial sex exploitation, child labour, and child trafficking and provide information on employment opportunities, and global education, among others.
Somero Uganda works with groups and individual partners. Since inception, a group of individual students from Hettie school of Governance-Berlin believe in our mission and vision forming an association called Somero Germany (www.somero.ev), these were later joined by individual members from other parts of the country.
Since 2015, Somero Uganda receives community contribution, especially from former beneficiaries, which has become a stable source of funding to sustain the organization. Other funding sources include Somero Germany, UNODC, Terre de Hommes, Infectious Disease institute\Center for disease control, Community Development fund\Kampala City council Authority, individual donors among others.
Our vision is: “A Uganda where children and young women achieve meaningful education and training needed for a self-determined and self-sufficient life to act as agents of social change with full community support.
To promote and protect the human rights of vulnerable children exploited in labour and young women in sexual exploitation through education, skills training, livelihood development and reproductive health initiatives.
Our target population
Somero Uganda’s target population is vulnerable children exploited in labour and young women in sexual exploitation. We define children as below the age of 15 years as the stage is very crucial for the development of children and for their wellbeing. Children between 0-3years are supported through their parents as a way of promoting early childhood development. We define young people as youth from the age of 15-25 years an age that are vulnerable and need a lot of guidance in decision-making.
Our categories include
Children at risk and involved in any kind of labor
Young women involve and at risk of
The Unemployed young women and their male counterparts
Children abused at school
Commercial sexual workers
Child domestic workers
Trafficked for commercial sex
The Young mothers
Children with irregular attendance at school
Women affected by drugs
Girls in early marriage
The vulnerabilities levels of the population inform our target population. As slum dwellers, our target population is characterized by high HIV prevalence rates, poor nutrition, poor health seeking behaviors, lower self esteem, lower household income, lack of employment, no entrepreneurial and livelihood skills, low levels of education among others. There are high chances that these vulnerabilities will be pass on to their children if nothing is done. This informs our programming.
Institutional and professional development
Somero Uganda is a young organisation with volunteering staff who have a passion for developing their community. This program therefore is aimed at developing the organisation to have standard policies and producers to ensure stable growth while maintaining the vision. Somero also provides a platform for young people within the slums to develop their professional career as well as gain experience and hence become employed.
It’s through this program that Somero works with University students from within Uganda, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, USA and other parts of the world. We have approached professional associations, individual, ministries and institutions who have supported us to realise this program area.
Institution and community sustainability development
We work to ensure sustainability of Somero Uganda to remain meaningful to the communities in the long term. We also ensure that our programming are developed and implemented with, and by, community members to promote community sustainable development.
The education program aims at promoting education as a human right of children and young women, as well as their male counterparts. We believe that any school-aged child who is out of school is somewhere somehow involved in child labour. It therefore is our dream to have all school going children in a supportive schooling environment.
Our intervention also looks at education for children 0-4 years because their low-income parents in the slums cannot afford to pay for their very expensive Early Childhood Education, which the government has left in the hands of the private sector.
We work to see a transition from primary to at least secondary school. Here, a special focus is put on girls and young women since they are typically given less priority. The majority of girls and young women are not given an opportunity to complete their education. They are forced into marriage and economic sexual related activities as a means of supporting families. We believe that young girls should complete their education level, even if she gets pregnant.
Under this program we:
- Withdraw rehabilitees and place back children in any form of labour and young women in sexual exploitation back to school
- Mobilise and provide school fees and scholastic materials
- Train teachers to support children’s education including children with disabilities.
- Mobilise funds for schools infrastructures including building, desks, among others
- Advocate for better provision of education services by the government and support from development partners.
Livelihood skills development program
The goal of the program is to create an alternative livelihood opportunity rather than child labour and commercial sex among young women and their male counterparts as well as vulnerable household heads. The programs equip beneficiaries with traditional and modern ICT livelihood skills that can enable them to obtain a decent employment. The training includes entrepreneurship and financial skills with an aim of developing a positive attitude towards employment, decent jobs and business management skills. Upon successful completion of internship, particle exams are sat with the supervision of the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) and a certificate is offered. Currently, Somero Uganda offers the following skills for livelihood:
Modern IT Skills
(We believe in IT as an employment solution for young women)
Digitalised traditional skills
(We integrate IT basic IT skills with traditional skills )
(Provided in workshops a long side other skills to create a diversity of livelihood skills)
Liquid soap making
Computer maintenance and repair
The program aims at creating and maintaining good health and health seeking behaviours among the beneficiaries and their communities. Our focus is put on raising awareness and support for victims infected and affected by epidemics of HIV\AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; creating awareness and advocacy for prevention of risky behaviours and illegal activities including substance abuse, commercial sex, trafficking among others; and creating awareness and advocacy for access to sexual reproductive health services
We specialize in providing care and support for our beneficiaries, identifying the unmet need and mobilizing funds to ensure they’re met as well as creating linkages with other service providers. We ensure that our beneficiaries develop and maintain good health seeking behaviors and adhere to treatment as recommended by doctors. We conduct training for our beneficiaries and their communities to promote a good health as well as dealing with stigma.
We work closely with government hospitals to provide medical treatment.
Community Development and Global learning program
Nowadays, Uganda is working strongly towards reducing a gap between Global South and Global North and we are happy to say Somero Uganda has participated in this trend by providing programs that contribute to the local community and help young people link up with youths from outside communities, throughout the country Uganda, and even beyond Africa. The goal of this program is to provide knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable community and personal development and understanding global issues.
With this program we work in partnership with national and international networks, schools, individuals, and organisations. We create e-learning centres with internet access to allow vulnerable young people to make international connections, do research and learn beyond their communities.