Uganda: Education and Community Empowerment in Kampala, Mbale and Pader

an adolescent girl learning how to sew.

Support and empower vulnerable people living in Kampala, Mbale and Pader through education programs for youth and finance and business programs for adults

Project description

Oasis Uganda Charitable Trust  is a locally registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) established in 2001. Known as Oasis Uganda, we are a Christian faith based organization which seeks to support and empower vulnerable people living in poverty in Uganda. Our initial focus was on supporting children and families at risk, with a particular emphasis on the girl child through the establishment of Bambejja, an education and holistic care programme for vulnerable girls at risk of becoming street children in Kawempe, Kampala. Today, Oasis Uganda carries out various community development initiatives aimed at supporting the poorest and vulnerable and helping them to move towards a place of self-sustainability in Kampala, Mbale and Pader.

Key to what we do is capacity building and approach this through two thematic areas: education and community empowerment. Beneficiaries and community partners are often engaged across all departments bringing a holistic approach to our work. Included in the various projects that Oasis Uganda carries out are, Catch-Up Programme, Child Rights Programme, Esteem Programme, Football Programme, Positive Parenting Training, development and support of village savings groups, IT training and vocational skills training. We also run a lower primary school in Mbale. We are partnered with 18 primary schools in Pader district, 9 primary schools in Mbale and support over 150 village savings groups.

Our school programmes ensure that nearly 15,000 children stay in school and helps protect them by teaching them about their rights and responsibilities. Our new primary school is continuing to grow and is providing much needed quality education in a very poor semi-rural community. Our savings groups are helping nearly 2,000 families earn extra money and start individual and group businesses.

Other current and evolving programs include:

  • Equipped to Teach: 5-day course which aims to equip teachers with skills and strategies to maximize learning in any setting, through using accelerated learning techniques. It seeks to empower those working in formal and informal education settings to reflect on the needs of their learners in order to develop flexible, creative and effective education programmes. After the course, we do monthly follow up and mentoring visits with the teachers in their classrooms
  • Good Schools Programme: a complementary 5-day course developed by our partner, "Raising Voices." It helps schools envision what a good school looks like, how to create a healthy psychological and physical environment, improves teaching methodology and addresses broader school policy issues.
  • Catch-up Programme: an intensive teaching and support for children who are struggling to keep up with other learners and so are at risk of dropping out of school. It also targets children who have already dropped out of school so they can re-join the mainstream at an appropriate level. Usually for a year, we work closely with the pupils and their teachers and parents/guardians until a time we certified they are ready to rejoin other learners. Through the catch-up programme, pupils’ performance is enhanced through a continuous psychosocial support for the children and their families.
  • Child rights programme: intervention aimed at empowering children and OVCs to know their rights and responsibilities as per the UNCRC. Oasis Uganda believes it has a duty to teach children in schools about their rights and to educate them in ways to safeguard themselves and what to do when abuse occurs. Oasis does this in ways which are interactive and age-appropriate and where possible uses external experts. Children’s rights are also taught in association with their responsibilities, that they realize they have a part to play in society.
  • Vocational and Life skills training: tailored for young adults (boys and girls) who have dropped out of school and cannot rejoin mainstream learning. It covers vocational skills training in knitting, tailoring, cooking, carpentry and building.

These are aligned with our Esteem course, which looks at self-esteem, sex and relationships, mentoring and HIV/STD prevention. Our football programme is a medium for modeling character development with boys and girls.

Project outcome

Specific project outcomes will be customized through communication with NGO partners. Past examples of global projects have included:

  • Marketing and content development for websites and social media 
  • Research and resource sharing
  • Mentoring and networking 
  • Program and curriculum development 
  • Grant writing

Please note: In addition to the options above, partners may have specialized project requests.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Variable
Start time Fall, Spring, Summer
Level of collaboration Variable
Benefits Variable
Who is eligible All undergraduate students

Core partners

  • Cosma Opira

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning; Director, Experiential Learning Network

24 Capen Hall

Phone: (716) 829-2834


Start the project

To apply for one of the limited spaces, send an interest email to with the following information and one of our staff will respond with more information via email :  

  • Share relevant background information about yourself and why you are interested in a global project.
  • Review the list of current global partnerships, list the three you are most interested in working with and explain why for each.
  • Explain what you hope to contribute to and gain from a global project.

Note that global partners rely on the contributions associated with ELN student projects and commit their limited time and resources to working with students. Accordingly, different projects will require varying amounts of time and strong commitment and follow through.  

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  1. Examine the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the history of the framework. Then select one SDG to focus on as you work through your project.
  2. Download and complete this PowerPoint template.