Updated: Aug 9
As an organisation we know that over the last 14 years our projects have made a huge difference to Ugandan communities, transforming the lives of children and families. To help us further understand the scale of the impact of our projects, and with the support from external funding,
we commissioned a comprehensive Independent Evaluation at the end of 2022 looking at our project activities in Uganda. The aim of the Independent Evaluation was to better understand our strengths, potential areas for improvement, alongside areas in need of scaling. It is important that we continue to review the impact, coherence, and sustainability of our projects as we look to the future.
We worked in partnership with Vashi Impact Group (VIG) an all-women led firm based out of London and Kampala, to undertake this important piece of work. VIG has extensive experience reviewing international projects specifically looking at gender and poverty related issues in East Africa.
The Independent Evaluation reviewed our work across our four main project areas: feeding, protecting, educating and skilling. We recognise that rigorous evaluation involves everyone, not just the evaluators. With more international programmes being multi-partner and multi -organisational led, involving everyone can be challenging. Our Independent Evaluation therefore involved interviews with Ugandan community members, staff, volunteers and community leaders.
Holistic and community based approach
The Independent Evaluation highlighted that our projects take a holistic approach to ensure basic needs (such as food and safety) are met, so children and families are able to fully engage and benefit from education and skills development, to bring about long-term, sustainable changes in their lives. This therefore supports them to move from surviving to thriving.
“If a family is introduced to one programme by Kids Club Kampala, they also get to learn or become a part of other programmes...” – Community member
According to the Evaluation, compared to some other organisations, we deliver a particularly diverse range of projects. The Evaluation found that our core projects work cohesively together to provide a thorough and holistic model of care for children and their families. In this way, we ensure that young people are supported across many different aspects of their lives. For example, the feeding projects encourage children to attend, and crucially stay in school. Counselling of women and girls helps overcome gender related challenges that girls often face in access to education and vocational training. Through provided menstrual products, girls don't miss out on school.
"Kids Club Kampala are the only organisation deeply rooted inside the community.” - Parent
In addition, our unique community-based approach is a key reason for our success as we draw on extensive community and beneficiary consultation. Having worked in the slum communities for over a decade, we have become a trusted organisation with a good working relationship and trust with local leaders. Therefore, it is possible for us to work to integrate within communities, providing support where it is needed most and community members feel comfortable providing feedback to our teams.
The Independent Evaluation confirmed that our teams are creating significant change across Uganda. Our projects have been well received by the communities and we can draw on evidence to say that we have, and continue to change the lives of children and families for the better.
Our Education Project was considered to be highly important in providing holistic support to vulnerable families, as well as having the most scope of building transformational and long-lasting change. In particular our school sponsorship programme has led to increased attendance in schools, heightened self-esteem of children and teens and overall positive impacts seen in the lives of families. It was also noted that school performance was particularly high across the students and that school sponsorship goes beyond basic school requirements and assists the child with whatever they need to excel.
Students report feeling part of the “Kids Club Kampala family” and higher self-esteem
The Evaluation concluded that of our four project areas, our Protecting Programmes are the most important. In response to increased cases of child abandonment, abuse and neglect in the slum areas of Kampala, our Child Protection Programme combines a range of targeted activities for children, teenage girls and boys, a community-based abuse prevention approach and an emergency response to safeguard children in imminent danger.
The Evaluation highlighted that we are one of the only organisations in Uganda taking this approach to support and advocate for at-risk children. ·Also through our protection of extremely vulnerable children we are also providing systematic support to local authorities and holding them accountable with regards to advocating for children at risk of abuse and mistreatment. Therefore, there is a need to scale up our Protecting Programmes to continue to safeguard these children.
"I think also through safeguarding human beings we have really improved the lives of vulnerable children, especially the girls, through counselling. We have seen a reduction in cases of early pregnancies and taking drugs. It has also helped whole families to improve the way they associate and be.” - Community Volunteer
The Evaluation identified that our Educating and Skilling projects are key projects in impacting sustainability, contributing to long-lasting change. It also concluded that our four projects work coherently together to create long-term, sustainable, impactful change in individuals lives.
We will continue to shift our focus to addressing the root causes of food insecurity present in the communities. Continuing to work closely with local leaders and community members will enable us to be there for families' immediate needs and also strengthen their futures, reducing dependence on our food banks.
We have taken onboard the feedback and recommendations from the team at VIG, and we have no plans to scale back our projects, if anything the Evaluation emphasised the need in some instances to increase the scale of support, in particular across our Child Protection projects and this will therefore be an area of focus.
Looking to the future
We have been on an incredible journey over the last 14 years, from one small project to now supporting over 300,000 vulnerable children and families across 10 communities.
We are so grateful to all our wonderful supporters in what they have have enabled us to achieve over the last 14 years. As the funding environment for many small charities such as Kids Club Kampala continues to be challenged, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, changes to international aid funding within the UK and now, a cost-of-living crisis, it is important that we continue to seek new sources of funding so our vital projects can continue.
Now, we’re looking towards the future. Routes out of poverty take time and commitment, and trust us, we have no plans to scale back. We want to help as many children and families in Kampala’s slums as possible, and we’re not afraid to be ambitious in our plans. We aim to move further beyond providing for basic needs and to help families to truly thrive, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty for the long term, as well as creating sustainable sources of income.
We have ambitious plans to scale up further, but we cannot do this alone.
We welcome opportunities to engage with new and existing funders. To read a version of the Independent Evaluation, follow the link below.
With special thanks to Sarah Wilson one of our 2023 Marketing Interns who supported the development of this blog with research and content gathering.