Owor Augustino, a member of the Were Nigiwani group in Tororo district, eastern Uganda, has taken the knowledge he gained from a peer support group training and put it into action. Through his newfound understanding of peer-to-peer support, he has been able to provide invaluable assistance to his fellow community members. He has helped them to better understand their rights, access healthcare, and develop a sense of belonging and community spirit.
In 2022, Child’s i Foundation trained 302 parents and caregivers across Kampala Tororo, Mpigi Districts to create peer support groups within their communities. The parents have been able to create a network of 21 peer parenting groups that act as gatekeeping structures.
The parents are now able to not only share knowledge, but also develop stronger relationships with each other and access resources to support their children. The groups have also enabled parents to become empowered, enabling them to have a greater say in making decisions that affect their children’s lives. As a result, these parents have seen an increase in their children’s health, wellbeing, and overall development. The powerful impact of these peer support groups has been a testament to the power of community and the importance of empowering parents to create a better future for their children.
Augustino has gone from being hesitant to take on a leadership role to a confident and competent leader of his group. Not only has he been able to lead the group to success, but he has also been able to save money and increase his income as a result. His transformation is a powerful story of how an individual can overcome their fears and achieve success. “I feel joyous. The group members have entrusted me with the leadership and people are happy with the ideas I share. I am no longer shy and able to speak confidently,” Augustino.
In his role as a group chairperson, Augustino has found an opportunity to lead the engagement of 20 parents on child protection issues in his community where he observes that most children with disabilities are discriminated against yet they need to be treated with the same love and care.
Augustino has embraced his role as a group chairperson and is determined to make a positive change in his community. He has taken the initiative to lead a group of 20 parents in discussions about child protection issues and the importance of treating all children, regardless of their disabilities, with love and care. Through his efforts, Augustino is igniting a movement of acceptance and understanding in his community, and inspiring others to make a difference. “When we meet as a group we are able to share the different problems and share advice and solutions. This has made parents connected. Currently, the community has embarrassed those with disabilities and are happy to support the children,” Augustino.
To build the potential of the Were Nigiwani group, he is teaching other members sewing skills that he has attained over the years. With this, he believes that the group will be able to earn more income out of it and support their families and the wider community. “As the Were Nigiwani group, we look forward to buying more sewing machines and building skills in tailoring so we can teach others in the community,” Augustino.
Augustino has been a beacon of hope in his community, inspiring his peers to accept and embrace their children, emphasising the importance of saving money, and educating them on the basics of nutrition. By doing so, he has helped to create a healthier, more prosperous environment for everyone in his community. “Group members have saved money and others have been able to acquire loans to run businesses. Some of the business that the members have done like selling silverfish and selling food crops like bananas have helped the parents provide basic needs to children,” Augustino.
“I encourage my fellow parents to love, protect, educate and keep children healthy,” Augustino.