Work and Impact
Early Childhood Education & Development
PDI invests in early childhood education to provide otherwise extremely vulnerable students with the opportunity to succeed in the government education system. Most students in Bududa begin their education in primary school, at the age of six or seven. Their peers in urban and other areas boasting enhanced government attention (typically nearer big cities) are more likely to begin their education at the age of three or four. These students across the country must sit for the same Primary Level Examinations (PLEs), the scores of which determine entry to secondary schools. Thus, students in rural, remote Bududa face an extreme disadvantage right from the start of their educational experience. Seventy one percent of children in the district do not make it past the 7th grade. They also score among the lowest in the country on their PLEs.
We opened our pre-primary program in May 2012, which enrolls students aged four to six for early childhood education from 8am-12pm, providing each student with a daily meal. Many of these children would otherwise stay home alone as parents and guardians go off to the field or to work. In order to emphasize the importance of early childhood education, we also facilitate sensitization workshops with parents in the Bududa community.
The World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund recognize that the ages between 0 and five years are critical stages in a child’s development. At PDI we believe it is absolutely imperative that pre-primary age children gain the confidence and learn the foundational skills necessary to pursue a lifetime of educational success.
Many families have low income to meet their household basic needs and have little left to invest in the education of children under their care. To break the vicious circle poor families unable to educate their children and because they can’t educate, they remain poor; PDI strongly believes in an economic strengthening approach as a strategy to make education a possible for all.
PDI’s economic strengthening approach to community development is a portfolio of strategies that grow physical, natural, financial and social assets as a key in reducing economic vulnerability of families and empowering them to provide essential needs and education of children and young adolescent youth in their care.
Village Savings and Loan Association Program (VSLA)- “Saving for a purpose”
Over the years, the people of Bududa have been disappointed by numerous groups including microfinance institutions and sporadic government intervention programs that promise and under-deliver. PDI wanted to fill the gap by introducing VSLAs to individuals who are financially excluded from accessing financial services, savings, credit and social funds.
PDI launched the VSLA project in 2012 starting with a limited number of participants, now the PDI VSLA model is the strongest saving group in the district with over 3,000 VSLA members. The demand from the community for the expansion of the program is ongoing. PDI continues to expand the program targeting especially hard to reach communities.
Through participating in the VSLA model individuals are better able to manage their financial resources and withstand shocks to their livelihoods. Members use these funds to support their families and invest in the care and education of children.
Features of the VSLA Model
PDI maintains that individuals must be educated to improve their income capabilities. The program consists of community members coming together to save and subsequently make funds available as loans in a structured group. With no external funds provided, members are responsible for the management of their group savings and loans, placing ownership at the center of activity.
PDI’s role in the VSLA group is to:
Organize the formation of groups
Train the group in the modality of the VSLA model
Monitor the implementation of the groups and provide guidance
When groups are formed and functioning, PDI finds partners with the capabilities and expertise to help these groups grow and equip them with business development, entrepreneurial and financial literacy skills
Micro Business Lending Fund (MBLF)
Micro Lending project is a complementary fund that allows those who have graduated from the VSLA approach to access additional capital to grow their businesses.