Transforming lives one family at a time
developing communities and transforming lives
Since its inception in August 2013, Okoa has empowered more than 1,000 families through its community development programs. Okoa does not give free handouts or bundles of cash...but rather provides training, education and encouragement. The most common students are women who are the heads of their households.
Okoa has offered trainings in:
- Budgeting and saving
- Human rights
- Children's rights
- Agriculture (including how to plant a nursery bed, grow eucalyptus trees, garlic, and other food crops)
- Making paper bags
- Animal husbandry
- First aide
- Computer literacy
In addition, Okoa has an extremely successful Microfinance loan program. The program has a 98% repayment of loans and closely follows up with loan recipients as they pursue new business endeavors.
In 2017 a group of Okoa original seamstresses and craft makers launched their shop - Sanyuka - as a location to create and sell their beautiful textiles. The shop is overseen by Okoa's community development officer, but is otherwise run and operated by the women. "Sanyuka" means Be Joyful and these women truly are. They are so proud to now be able to support their children, pay school fees, buy food and cover their own medical bills. Okoa truly has changed the trajectory of their lives.
The Community Empowerment Program (CEP)
The CEP program is two fold: keeping children in families and keeping children in school. The bottom line is that it is all about the child! There are millions of orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda. In order to determine which children Okoa would enroll, a baseline survey was performed within the village where Okoa is located. Families were screened based upon household income, ability to support the children in the home and overall provision of daily needs.
How does it work?
(it's really easy!)
1. Someone (YOU!) signs up to sponsor a child for $25/mo (1/2) or $50/mo (full)
2. The child is enrolled in the program
And that is all!
Okoa believes in holistic care of the individual. This means that Okoa does not only send the kids to school, but also cares for them spiritually, physically and emotionally.
What is provided in CEP sponsorship?
1. School fee payment
2. Medical care at Okoa's clinic
3. One meal per day
4. Livelihood skill training
5. Mentoring and Counseling
6. Guidance and parenting classes to parents of the kids
The One Stop Business Center
Okoa works to empower people to solve problems that they identify with solutions that they suggest
The One Stop Business Center is a location for people with disabilities in Masaka District to come and learn a trade, sell their goods and build relationships with other disabled people. In 2013, Okoa hosted a meeting with the disabled community and asked them to identify their challenges and propose solutions. They unanimously proposed a business center where they could gather, learn and help each other. The community is so close-knit, but struggled to find a place of their own.
The local government generously donated the land for the project and Okoa constructed a massive indoor market and learning place. The center has become a hub for the physically handicap to earn an income and gain a sense of dignity - understanding that they can give back to their communities and support their families!