APPROACH TO AID
We invest a lot of effort into appropriately assessing the needs of each family to ensure that we empower them to succeed. Unfortunately, 90% of households in Bugerere rely solely on the mother for income. Despite this fact, it is extremely important that we work with men to encourage them to work and support their families.
Many men in our region take advantage of our savings and credit cooperative and have started mobilizing other ment to join the savings groups. Many men work construction and do local trading as a soruce of income for their families.
BESO AID REQUIREMENTS
We have a well developed system for assessing financial need, based on each family's specific situation. All perspective students undergo academic evaluations for appropriate grade placement, and our 6 member outreach team completes home visits for each child to determine the family's situation. We assess factors such as family income, number of children, how many children are enrolled in school, the house condition, whether children sleep on mattresses, and whether they have bathroom facilities at home.
It is very important that families invest in their child's education so we avoid fueling a dependency. Because of this, even for our families of highest need, the family contribution is 20,000 Ugandan Shilings per academic term. That is a total of 60,000 shillings per year, which is approximately $17 USD. Most families in Bugerere County earn between $200-$300 USD per year. So, families of greatest need spend 8.5% of their annual income, which would be the equivelant of $2,550 per year for an American family earning $30,000 USD. We have found this fee to be significant enough that families are truly investing in their child's education, but meager enough that it is not increasing the burden on these hardworking families.
Furthermore, because we are a community organization we ensure that key stakeholders are at the center of the planning, execution and evaluation processes. Students and parents are involved in program development to ensure that they not only feel as though BESO is working for them, but this empowers them to become advocates for themsevles and their community.