Aidlink exists to improve the lives of those living in poverty in Africa. For over 30 years we have worked with some of the world’s most isolated communities in Africa to deliver real and sustainable improvements to the lives of the poor, especially women and girls.
How we Work
Partnership is key to Aidlink’s identity and to our approach to development, to improve the lives of those living in poverty. For over 30 years Aidlink has implemented the partnership model of development, building the capacity of local organisations and local communities to engage in their own development process.
The capacity building of our partner organisations safeguards the sustainability of the Aidlink development programme. Investing in the training and support of local people and local organisations ensures that communities are empowered with the skills and knowledge to determine their own futures.
Aidlink has adopted a Rights Based Approach to our work. This means that our development programme not only meets basic needs, but empowers communities and individuals to claim their fundamental human rights and hold duty bearers to account.
Where we work
Aidlink’s Development Programme focuses on three key programme countries Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.
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Aidlink through our partners, the Girl Child Network in Kajiado County, and Caritas Lodwar in Turkana County, work with the Maasai and Turkana communities respectively. The Maasai and Turkana people face multiple social, economic, political, cultural and environmental challenges. Both communities are among the most marginalised, poor and vulnerable in Kenya. The Maasai and Turkana are patriarchal societies and women and girls are particularly vulnerable. Early marriage is a norm and, although now illegal in Kenya, the Maasai still practice FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).
The Maasai and the Turkana are both nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralist communities. Traditionally the Maasai and Turkana move with their livestock from pasture to pasture depending on the availability of water. Their livelihoods rely upon their herds of livestock and for both communities their animals are their primary source of food – milk, blood and meat forms their main diet – and also their store of wealth. Dependency on their livestock leaves both communities particularly vulnerable to the effects of drought, which occurs frequently.
Aidlink works in partnership with Caritas MADDO, EMESCO and VAD in the Masaka, Kibaale and Wakiso Districts of Uganda respectively. Aidlink facilitates an Integrated Rural Community Development Programme, focused on rural poor, subsistence farming households. The target communities face many socio-economic challenges, have low incomes and are food insecure.
There is also an education element to the programmes which primarily focuses on schools’ water and sanitation facilities. Children have been found to be enthusiastic ‘agents for change’ within a community. This means that children bring home the skills they have learned regarding improved basic hygiene and sanitation practices, which are then adopted within the family and extended community.
Aidlink, with our partner, the Spiritans Province of Ghana, focuses on an education programme. The programme targets school students from disadvantaged areas where development indicators are particularly low.
Our Work By Sector
Aidlink’s Development Programme is an integrated programme which includes interventions in WASH, Education, Health and Agriculture.
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The availability of clean and safe water, impacts on all aspects of human development. One example is the effect water provision has on education. The time spent by children collecting water or being sick with water related diseases decreases attendance and enrollment in education, especially among girls. The water and sanitation interventions being implemented as part of Aidlink’s Development Programme, contribute to better health, education, food security and agriculture practices for and by local communities. The overall goal of our WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) activities, is to improve access to water and strengthen the health and livelihoods of men, women and children in rural households in Uganda and Kenya. This is achieved through a combination of the provision of water and sanitation infrastructure and enhancing the ability of local communities to own and manage their water resources. The increased access to clean water and sanitation will improve the quality of life for local communities and reduce instances of water borne diseases.
While Kenya, Uganda and Ghana have all introduced free Universal Primary Education, these countries continue to struggle to provide good quality primary education. Severely overcrowded classrooms, a lack of basic educational materials and infrastructure, and poorly paid teachers remain the norm. Many children, particularly young girls, end up dropping out of school due to the educational environment, a lack of gender sensitive facilities and negative cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriage.
Aidlink’s educational interventions in Uganda focus on the delivery of water and sanitation infrastructure to primary schools, in order to improve the school learning environments and contribute towards the realization of Millenium Development Goal Number 2- To Achieve Universal Primary Education. In Kajiado County, Kenya, Aidlink works with the Girl Child Network to similarly deliver infrastructural improvements to primary schools, while in Turkana, Aidlink supports adult education projects.
Aidlink programmes promote tackling health issues through an integrated approach. The principal goal is to create healthier communities. Programmes focus on access to water, primary health care services (which include mother & child health), vaccination programmes, nutrition and health education activities. Our target communities in Uganda and Kenya have extreme difficulty accessing basic health facilities.
In Uganda, Aidlink’s health initiatives are centered on the Village Health Team- a community based structure that promotes the health and well-being of people in their areas of residence. Our work builds on the improvements brought about by water and sanitation improvements. In Kenya, Aidlink works with the Diocese of Lodwar- the primary service provider in Turkana, delivering primary health care with a focus on mother and child health.
Food security means “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Food insecurity is a pervasive problem across sub Saharan Africa. It undermines people’s health, productivity and often their very survival. Aidlink is committed to working with rural communities to support small scale farmers to become self sufficient and to enable them to produce enough food for themselves and their families.
The food security component of Aidlink’s work is fully integrated with other aspects of our development programme. By using the safe and clean water provided to increase the range of crops grown for subsistence and sale, targeted households have diversified their diet, resulting in improved nutritional intake. Aidlink Agricultural projects are also key of Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies in desert areas. In Kenya Aidlink and the Girl Child Network develop School Gardens to increase the community’s resilience to drought. For more on Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies see here.