One step forward – reflections on 2020

We have had a humbling and positive year – supported by our incredible regional team who volunteer for the charity, and the steady commitment of our donors.

Though restrictions threw up barriers and obstacles everywhere, from preventing overseas travel to opening shoebox checking centres to volunteers, we were bowled over and amazed at the resilience and persistence from everyone to keep the projects going. All we can truly say, is THANK YOU!

Stacks of decorated shoeboxes

Shoeboxes in a pandemic

Despite the difficulties, your support enabled us to send 48,756 Christmas shoeboxes overseas. 

Emergency COVID Response:

We secured £10K of funding from the Wales and Africa grant scheme, and UK Aid Direct, to support our partners’ efforts to supply locally manufactured soap and hand-washing equipment to health centres in Koindu, Sierra Leone and Kumi, Uganda. Alongside fundraising from individual donors, we were able to supply 21 health facilities, including Kumi Hospital, with soap, hand sanitiser, washing basins and other hand-washing equipment. 

The need continues:

Though COVID itself is not rampant in either country, local restrictions continue to suppress trade, travel, and education, with some pupils expected to be out of school for 16 months. Trade restrictions have increased the cost of living by 30% in Sierra Leone, and school closures have resulted in an estimated 60% increase in teenage pregnancies, putting untold pressure on local medical facilities. 

Our response:

We are supporting schools to open in Uganda through investing in the necessary sanitation requirements of hand-washing equipment outside latrines and classrooms.

In partnership with the District Health Office, we are looking to equip maternity wards with additional beds, resources, and of course, hygiene supplies.

Develop with Dignity:

It is estimated by UNESCO that this pandemic may force 11.2 million girls out of education around the world. It is noted that girls in low-income settings are at a critical disadvantage to their male peers. As though all pupils may have lost up to a year of schooling, girls can also miss crucial opportunities to catch-up due to lacking the period products to remain comfortably in school whilst menstruating. 

In 2020, through the generous support of individual donors, we were able to invest in building our partner’s first manufacturing centre for re-usable pads in Kumi, Uganda. The centre employs 4 tailors and, dependent on sales, can sew up to 11,000 packs a year. 

Donate today

Please consider donating to Develop with Dignity, just £5 will support 1 girl with re-usable pads.

MHH Education:

We have always believed that supplying schoolgirls with pads is only half a solution. Our partners have been working right through 2020, with the Local Education Office and District Health Office, to advocate for and facilitate Menstrual Health and Hygiene Education across schools and throughout the community. As part of this ongoing work, we’ve partnered with Ugandan experts in Menstrual Health to create community resources to support conversations and teaching on Menstruation.

Polytunnels in Belarus:

As part of our partners’, Dima & Katya’s, ongoing work with orphanages in Belarus, we funded a polytunnel last year, along with tools, to enable one orphanage to successfully grow fresh fruit and vegetables. Dima & Katya let us know that due to inflated prices from the pandemic, it had become difficult for orphanages to afford fresh produce and that this was ultimately affecting the children’s health.

They hoped we could support the cost of one polytunnel as a trial to see if this could help orphanages grow their own and improve the mental health of the children through gardening, learning new skills and connecting with nature. 

Now Dima & Katya would love us to give three more orphanages the same opportunity.