An Update from Clover Program Director, Esther Makumbi
In the darkest of times, a small light shines bright.
COVID taught us many lessons and brought a surprising bright side with it. From March 2020 until January 2022 government mandates closed all schools in Uganda in response to the COVID pandemic. As if this weren’t tragic enough for our children in Kampala, the health and economic conditions faced by our families were among the most dire in the world.
However, during the height of the pandemic, Clover Foundation provided not only continuous academic support and assessment to our students, but also medical, nutritional and economic support to them and their families. Our supporters understood that a holistic approach is vital to the long term success of our children, and some of that progress has been outstanding for our community:
Kisoboka Nano Finance Initiative
We’ve seen participation in our Kisoboka Nano Finance Initiative grow. Now with 60 participating Clover mothers, some of whom have repaid over a dozen loans, Kisoboka gives $10-$20 loans to women to invest in building businesses to sustain their families. Mothers in the program report higher rates of food security, and the ability to afford safer, more stable homes for their families. During the pandemic, our Kisoboka mothers mentored each other, pooled their loans together for greater efficiency, and took this program to a new level that enabled growth of their businesses. Chicken-rearers saved by buying feed in bulk, brick-makers shared supplies, and with some seed money from Clover, produce-sellers started a community garden.
The Community Garden
Our community garden is one shining example of success resulting from the hard times. A plan put forth by community mothers and now completely sustained by them, our community garden is now a valuable supplemental food source for the community and even provides fresh fruits and vegetables to our preschool. Leadership skills and a sense of accomplishment have also been gained, along with a sense of community and connection among the mothers who maintain the garden.
Today, our students are back in school and thriving thanks to the hard work of our team and community members. During the COVID lockdown, our teachers sent worksheets home to students in an effort to maintain some form of continued learning. As students returned to the classroom, we conducted assessments to determine the extent of learning loss to meet students where they were at academically and develop a plan to get them on track for graduation. In December, we will graduate our first cohort of primary school students from our local primary school, Eaglet Academy. These 25 students have been with the Clover program for nine years and we could not be more proud.
While COVID was tough, we persevered and our community came out stronger than before in many ways. That being said, we still have much, much more we want to accomplish and for this we need your support. Our Kisoboka program is a wonderful way to make an immediate impact on the community, as is sponsoring a child’s education. If you’re interested in getting to know our foundation on a more personal level, or if you have thoughts on other ways you’d like to help, please reach out to us.