LUNCH TO LEARN
Only 1 in 6 children in the poorest countries receive a daily meal at school.
School lunch is critical and a proven way to improve wellness and learning among school-age children.
We’re all about serving hearty bowls of home-style fresh beans and rice every school day. We prepare our lunch in an outdoor open-fire kitchen and use food purchased from local farmers, benefitting the whole community.
Many children suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, and lack essential vitamins and minerals, negatively impacting brain development and compromising the immune system. Undernutrition is widespread in Uganda, with 38 percent of children chronically undernourished or stunted. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) estimates that for every dollar spent on a school meal, countries will see three dollars in economic returns. Local farmers benefit when they sell their food to schools, and a country builds a smarter workforce. School lunches allow families to educate their child while protecting their own food security. For many families, school lunches are the only regular and nutritious meal their child receives. In just one year, a 38% increase in enrollment was seen after providing school meals on a weekly basis at St. Jude Primary School in the Village Rubongi, making school lunch a positive incentive for families to send their children to school.
Give a child the tools to learn, and you’ll give her power. The power of choice over chance, and freedom to achieve.
Imagine, sending your child to school to take a test that could changer her life, but knowing the outcome is likely failure because she doesn’t have the book needed to study for the exam?
Around the globe, 250 million children who go to school don’t actually learn, including our kids in Rubongi.
In Uganda, 7th grade students are required to pass a national exam, the Primary Leaving Exam (PLE). Passing the PLE means you get to move on to what we would refer to as high school. If you don’t pass, your education is over forever. For girls, that could mean marriage at age 14, and for boys, a job digging ditches. At COFIA, we believe where need meets opportunity — every child succeeds. What are we doing? We build a successful learning community in the classroom supporting teachers and students with classroom supplies, and curriculum resources promoting quality learning. We know that a highly effective learning environment results in student achievement and the opportunity to move beyond primary school and into secondary school.
Give a child a pencil, she can write
Give her books, open the door to exploration
Give her a good teacher, ignite her passion
Give a child a meal, nourish her mind for learning
Give a child a computer, open a treasure of knowledge
Give a child a Pen Pal letter, connect her to the world
Imagine if you gave a child all of these opportunities
You give her freedom to achieve
Uplifting a nation, a village, a family and a child
She dares to teach.
Nowhere in the world do teachers work in more challenging circumstances, serving communities with higher rates of poverty, students and families than in African rural areas. Research evidence has shown that the quality of teaching in schools is the most important school-related factor in ensuring students’ achievement (Source: Greenwalls, 1996).
In Sub-Saharan African, an estimated 18 percent of children repeat a year of schooling as a result of poor quality teaching. Many teachers lack teacher development, motivation, skills in teaching multi-grades (often a requirement in rural communities), classroom management and discipline techniques, and curriculum support. Without proper professional development, teachers are not prepared to impart the innovative self-directed learning (SDL) skills among students and “peer tutoring” among students.
The average student to teacher ratio in rural Rubongi, Uganda, is 88:1.
In the third grade at St. Jude Primary School in the Village Rubongi, 111 students fill up every chair, desk and floor space in the tiny dilapitated school room. Teachers often suffer the same extreme poverty of their students. Add to that delays in payment of low salaries, scarce teaching and learning resources and poor working conditions, it’s easy to see why teachers feel overwhelmed and under supported. We believe authentic learning requires highly skilled, accomplished teachers working within a school climate that promotes powerful learning experiences. Improving teacher working conditions and increasing academic resources is one of the most successful approaches to improved learning in the classroom. Collaborating with teachers here in the United States, COFIA bridges the gap in teacher development and needed academic resources.
UNIFORMS FOR DIGINITY
A new uniform has the power to change how a student thinks and feels.
Poor families must meet basic needs — food and shelter — first. With the expense of tuition, books, and school supplies, funding a uniform becomes unattainable. To bridge the gap, COFIA ensures that every student receives a new uniform each school year.
We partner with Alex, a local tailor in Rubongi Village to make our uniforms. Under a tree in his yard, Alex pedals an antique Singer sewing machine and creates uniforms from locally purchased fabrics. Elderly village ladies team up with Alex to sew on the hundreds of buttons needed to complete our uniforms. For kids who have nothing, a school uniform maybe the only piece of new clothing they ever receive. School uniforms are critical for these children. They provide self-esteem, a sense of pride, and ultimately improve learning. COFIA’s school uniform program supports the local economy, puts clothes on kid’s backs, and restores a sense of worth and dignity in each child. The benefits are immense!
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Healthy Students are Better Learners
Seventy percent of overall child mortality in Uganda is due to malaria, acute respiratory infection, diarrhea and malnutrition. Many health issues in developing nations like Uganda are preventable through practical and inexpensive interventions, and access to effective primary care and prevention.
Did you know that an estimated 30% of girls leave school when they start their periods because they lack sanitary pads. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 12 million girls are at risk of never receiving an education.
COFIA’s Health & Wellness Program provides access to health care services, encouraging prevention from communicable disease and other health problems.
What we do
In the Spring of 2015, COFIA launched ‘Operation Wellness.” More than 600 free checkups sponsored by U.S. business partners were administrated in a three-day period by volunteer Ugandan doctor, Dr. Abraham Walusimbi. Malnutrition is the greatest concern to students in Rubongi, along with skin conditions, lack of feminine hygiene products and foot protection. The findings supported COFIA’s mission to provide a regular healthy school meals program to ensure academic success.
Become a COFIA Partner and Change a Child’s Life.