Since its inception in 2006 Mbeleni has implemented a Scholars program that has extendedsupport to 80 students in primary and secondary schools across Uganda. Some of these scholarshave since finished different levels of education and are living their lives. This programme wasfinancially supported by donations from committed individuals in the United States and Canadaunder the mobilization of one of the founders Professor. Sarah Dryden Peterson of HarvardUniversity.Mbeleni initiated the implementation of the Safe Play Initiative for Children and Youth Project(SPICY) in Katale Busawuula village, Kyengera Town Council in Wakiso District in 2020-2021.The project aimed at organizing and providing psychosocial support to the children and youthwhile at play during their long stay at home as a result of COVID 19 Lock down and its effects, that led to the closure of schools for close to two years.
WELCOME TO MBELENI FOUNDATION
Our journey started in 2003, with Sarah Dryden-Peterson, a then Harvard PHD student who conducted a 3-year longitudinal comparative study in Uganda entitled "The role of education in the local integration of Refugees in Uganda". The study was carried out in Kyaka II and Nakivale refugee settlements and in greater Kampala among Refugees and their host communities The study revealed that there was lack of access to quality education among refugees and their host communities among others.
Sarah gave back to the study participants (refugees and national children) by supporting them in their studies at that time. Sarah, is a professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Director of Refugee REACH Initiative continues to do a great job in refugee education. https://www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty/sarah-dryden-peterson
"...hope for a better future"
a) Education Programmes supporting the refugee children and youth to access quality education.
b) Promoting access to services of sexual and reproductive health, HIV & AIDS counseling and testing.
c) Research and advocacy for better social services and rights of refugee, women, youth and children.
d) Building capacity of host communities and other stakeholders in refugee issues.
e) Supporting partnerships and networks with Government, national and international development
partners, whose objects are in whole or in part similar to those of Mbeleni
Mbeleni’s activities are aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Compelled by this situation, Mbeleni was inspired to join the force to contribute to bridging the gaps and particularly focus her activities on community socio-economic justice and development. Mbeleni contributes to the realization of community wellbeing with focus on Women and girls, children, and youths within refugee settlements, the host communities and other populations affected by conflicts, disease, poverty and natural disasters.
Mbeleni is a Kiswahili word which means the "future".
Mbeleni was started on the recognition of the fact that while there are a number of efforts to address Refugees’ plight in Uganda, the scope is still small. Their access to essential services is inadequate. Access to Health, Education and Psychosocial services still have gaps and efforts to address the alternative livelihood needs of marginalized populations are still wanting. In whole, their Rights are not fully realized.
Mbeleni was founded to act by contributing to these efforts so as to contribute to the well-being of of refugees and vulnerable populations. Aware of this prevailing situation, Mbeleni, through a family centered approach will contribute to the realization of community wellbeing of women and young girls, children and youth within refugee settlements, among urban refugees, conflict affected areas, and their host communities.
Mbeleni was founded by Professor Sarah Dryden Peterson (a then PHD student from Harvard University), and her two research assistants, Kyohairwe Sylvia Bohibwa, a Ugandan and Jacques Bwiira, a Refugee of Congolese origin.
Mbeleni was founded on recognition of the fact that while there are a number of efforts by government, humanitarian agencies and many other diverse stakeholders to address Refugee’s plight in Uganda, the scope is still small and calls for strengthening. Refugees access to essentials services is inadequate and their rights are not fully realized; Refugee women and young girls', youths and children’s psycho-social, health, educational and economical empowerment needs are not met to the fullest, and their orientation to relevant governing laws and policies need to be popularized.
Communities affected by conflicts, disease and poverty attain sustainable, socio-economic justice.
To empower vulnerable women and girls, children and youths to rebuild their lives, their families and their host communities.
Our Core Values
- Transparency and Accountability
- Fairness and Justice
PROMOTING SDG GLOBAL AGENDA
Mbeleni’s alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Mbeleni shall align its activities with the UN Sustainable development agenda and specifically addressing
1. Education and Life Long Learning
Through our scholars’ programs, we engage and support parents, refugees and national children in their host communities to access quality education through provision of basic needs, scholarships, provide income generating activities to facilitate the access to basic quality education. Mbeleni foundation supports parents to attain basic principles of literacy through Functional Adult Literacy
- Formal education
- Informal education; life long learning and skilling building.
Mbeleni engages communities for better health outcomes. We promote advocacy for access and create demand for service uptake, create an enabling environment for refugees to participate in making choices on the decisions that affect them. Mbeleni works with community structures to achieve this.
- Sexual and reproductive health
Mbeleni through its network of lawyers provides communities with free legal services. Counselling sessions are an integral part in the work of Mbeleni. We promote access to justice as well as access to services by both victims and survivors. To date, Mbeleni has a number of lawyers spread through the different regions of the country.
- Guidance and counseling
- Violence against women and girls
- Mental health
5. Enhancing Access to Justice.
Mbeleni, through her network of lawyers provides and communities with free legal services. Counselling sessions are an integral part in the work of Mbeleni. We promote access to justice as well as access to services by both victims and survivors.
With this we are working towards promotion of;
- Human Rights and Good governance
- Peace building and security
4. Promoting Socio-Economic justice and Empowerment
A healthy, economically empowered woman with freedom, is an empowered woman indeed. Her well-being impacts on all those in her proximity. Our Socio economic programe aims at enabling women and youth to compete for and access economic opportunities and work towards sustaining them. Through our KYC in the Group model we match women and youth, support them to form groups that strategically prepares them to benefit from development programs in groups and as individuals. Through our strong networks and partnerships, we link and refer our beneficiaries for opportunities that promote their learning and contribution. We promote co-creation, innovation and creativity within our groups to foster economic growth.
Under economic empowerment, we focus on food security, sustainable livelihood alternatives access friendly financial services. We emphasize capacity building in all our economic and socio empowerment engagements. We promote agribusiness, agro-forestry, livestock rearing and micro credit that have economic returns and food security contribution environmental benefits for our beneficiaries. Mbeleni focuses on improving food production through agri-smart practices, harvesting, handling and storage techniques, value addition, marketing and business management. Our beneficiaries also receive intensive training in cooperative development and governance. By this we want to see;
- Enhanced economic Empowerment;
- Sustainable income and alternative livelihoods
- Food security
Mbeleni was founded on recognition of the fact that while there are a number of efforts by government, humanitarian agencies and many other diverse stakeholders to address Refugee’s plight in Uganda, the scope is still small and calls for strengthening. Refugees’ Rights are not fully realized; Refugee women, youth and children’s psycho-social, health and educational needs are not met to the fullest.
i) To increase access to essential services among the vulnerable populations
ii) To create awareness on the plight and rights of conflict affected populations to stakeholders.
iii) To promote education and skills among children, women and youth.
iv) Advocate for alternative measures that improve livelihoods for conflict affected communities.
v) To conduct community outreach and create awareness on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS,
COVID-19 and non-communicable diseases.
Where we work
MBELENI FOUNDATION has a national coverage, but presently works in Nakivale and Oruchinga refugee settlements in Isingiro district, Kyaka II refugee settlement in Kyegegwa district, Rwamwanja refugee settlement in Kamwenge district, Kyamgwali refugee settlement in Hoima District and in greater Kampala among the urban refugees.
Mbeleni Foundation’s approach is action-oriented research; that informs her Advocacy and Action aiming at creating change and hope for a better future. Our entry point to the community is a family. Mbeleni Foundation will work with likeminded stakeholders to advance research, through Partnerships and Collaborations, Linking, Learning and Contribution.
i) Providing quality, affordable and accessible education, health care and psychosocial support,
through research, advocacy and action.
ii) Conducting advocacy meetings, forums, dialogues and workshops for the common interests of
iii) Building capacity of host communities and other stakeholders in refugee issues;
iv) Conducting research and disseminating information on the issues regarding refugee welfare,
policy and service provision
v) Supporting partnerships and networks with Government, national and international development
partners, whose objects are in whole or in part similar to those of Mbeleni Foundation
vi) Undertaking all such other lawful activities incidental or conducive for the advancement of the
Foundations Vision Mission, and Objectives through Research, Advocacy, and Action.