Co-ordinated aid approach transforms lives of vulnerable women and children in Africa

Posted on 18 Apr 2024

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia

World Vision HANA Uganda program 1
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee members of Te Ilwa are proud that their community has made progress towards achieving no-open-defecation status. Image: Damalie Mukama Natukunda and Fred Ouma.

An Australian overseas aid organisation, a philanthropic foundation and the federal government have pooled their efforts to help disadvantaged women in Uganda.

World Vision Australia will receive $750,000 in funding from the Judith Neilson Foundation aimed at expanding its Health and Nutrition for All (HANA) program, which supports vulnerable children and women in the African nation.

The cash injection will supplement more than $3.5 million in funding already committed to the project by the Albanese government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

World Vision said Ugandan women, people with disabilities and children face significant barriers to accessing quality and inclusive health and nutrition services.

Northern Uganda has a particularly high prevalence of severely malnourished children under five (4.8%). An estimated 83% of the country’s 38 million strong population are without access to reliable, safe drinking water.

The HANA Uganda project partners with communities across northern Uganda to deliver life-changing healthcare and services for the region's most vulnerable citizens.

World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth said his organisation was grateful for the Judith Neilson Foundation’s generosity and trust.

“We applaud Judith and the foundation’s board for her long-term vision and commitment to give priority to communities that are most vulnerable,” said Mr Wordsworth.

“We’re also thankful for the support from the Australian Government, through ANCP funding, for our HANA Uganda program, which ensures sustainable health outcomes in communities and is helping change the lives of women and children in northern Uganda.”

Aligned with World Vision Uganda’s 2020–25 strategy, the overall goal of the HANA project is to end preventable illness, impairment and death among 109,839 adults, young people, and children under five in the northern districts of Oyam, Omoro and Pader by 2025.

World Vision HANA Uganda program 3
Michael Ejuku, a nutritionist at Iceme Health Centre. Image: Damalie Mukama Natukunda and Fred Ouma.
“Investing in women’s access to quality health care, clean water and nutrition is not just a matter of equity, it's a catalyst for change.”
Judith Neilson, founder of the Judith Neilson Foundation.
World Vision HANA Uganda program 2
Ingrid Natukunda, a Health and Nutrition for All project officer, with a baby girl. Image: Damalie Mukama Natukunda and Fred Ouma.

Janet’s story

Janet lives in a community where mothers routinely discard colostrum, a form of breastmilk released after giving birth; it contains antibodies designed to help keep newborn babies safe from infection.

Few other mothers in Janet’s community exclusively breastfeed their infants to six months.

Through HANA Uganda, Janet has learned the benefits of breast milk and is successfully breastfeeding her fourth child after advice from the World Vision team.

Sarah’s story

Sarah, the youngest of six children in her family, was born with a disability after her mother endured a complicated pregnancy.

Through World Vision’s HANA Uganda project, Sarah’s life was transformed when she received specialist support from physiotherapists and orthopaedic doctors and was fitted with a wheelchair.

Sarah has begun lifting objects to strengthen her hand muscles and has also mastered the simple skill of using a fork to eat.

Her father says the mobility enabled by her new wheelchair has enriched her life.

Judith Neilson, founder of the Judith Neilson Foundation, welcomed the partnership with World Vision to strengthen maternal and child health care in Uganda.

“Investing in women’s access to quality health care, clean water and nutrition is not just a matter of equity, it's a catalyst for change,” she said.

“By ensuring these critical services reach the most vulnerable in Uganda, World Vision is uplifting women and paving the way for a future where everyone can thrive.”

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