CRVPF’s Board Meeting: Navigating Progress, Challenges, and Future Initiatives

Children’s Rights and Violence Prevention Fund (CRVPF) is a regional intermediary organization working across East Africa to prevent all forms of violence against children and young people. In pursuit of this overarching mission, we established various structures, including a Board of Trustees who plays a crucial role in providing oversight and strategic direction to guide the organization in fulfilling its mission.  

From 11th to 13th December 2023, board members from different corners of the globe, including Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and the USA, gathered in Kampala, Uganda for a bi-annual board member meeting. The objective of this three-day meeting was to gain insights into the organization’s impact and progress since the last board meeting, understand the challenges encountered, and discuss CRVPF’s future program integration process, while also sharing other relevant information about the organization to assist the board in decision making.

CRVPF Staff and Board Members.

The first day entailed presentations by the CRVPF team, updating the board on the growth, challenges, lessons, and upcoming initiatives of our three-core programs: Prevention of Violence Against Children (PVAC), Adolescent Girls Power Program (AGPP) and Empowering Youth through Data and Community Development (EYDCD). Mr. Fassil Mariam, the Executive Director of CRVPF, provided institutional updates from the period of July to December 2023. He shared the insights that had been gained during this period and outlined the organizations objectives for 2024, emphasizing the adoption of a new joint and coordination program approach which was discussed in further detail on the next day.

Albert Asiimwe, the regional coordinator of the Prevention of Violence Against Children (PVAC) program, highlighted the program’s expected outcomes as a result of grant making and capacity development. Some of them included positive parenting, improved spousal relations, increased household incomes, and safer school environments—all contributing to the prevention of violence against children and young people. Looking ahead, PVAC aims to bolster the capacity of cluster partners, enabling them to implement strategies tailored to prevent violence against children and young people.

Salmah Babu, the regional coordinator of the Adolescent Girls Power Program (AGPP) delivered a detailed update about the program activities spanning July to December 2023. During the grant-making period, Salmah highlighted the extension of grants to cluster partners, increased funds for joint programs, and the continued support for the Young Mothers program. The outcomes of these efforts were significant, with a notable increase in adolescent girls attending safe spaces and demonstrating improved decision-making skills through life skills training. Salmah discussed long-term implementations, including the celebration of international days, graduations, collaborations with new partners and the government, and innovative initiatives such as girls’ camps and the development manuals based on feedback from adolescent girls.

Edith Tendo, the regional coordinator for the Empowering Youth through Data and Community Development (EYDCD) program, a continuation of the Youth and Capacity Development program (YCD), shared the objectives of the program. EYDCD, a five-year initiative, beginning in 2024, aims to reach 400,000 (70% women) young people in Uganda, generating 250,000 safe, dignified and fulfilling work opportunities while strengthening & and digitizing 3,000 youth-led VSLAs. Some of the strategies that have been established to achieve these objectives include enhancing economic stability and self-sufficiency of program participants through skilling, linkages to work, markets, and increased productivity, as well as building resilience to navigate through challenges.

Phionah Kesiime, the regional coordinator for Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation, provided a comprehensive overview of the Management Information System (MIS) during the meeting. The MIS plays a pivotal role in various aspects, including grant applications, approval processes, work plan establishment, beneficiary setup, and data collection. Noteworthy features of the upgraded MIS were highlighted, including CRVPF having absolute control of the system, the ability to view applications, comments, and milestones-as-activities, among several others.  Looking ahead to January through June 2024, Phionah outlined plans to support partners with baseline surveys, aid in data analysis and continue providing support for ongoing M&E activities.

Sarah Ameri Alum, Regional Coordinator for Finance and Grants, presented a thorough financial update during the meeting. She began by outlining notable donor awards during 2023 and broke down CRVPF’s finance for the year.  Grant-making emerged as the largest expense category, aligning with CRVPF’s objective to distribute grants and build the capacity of our partners, enabling them to implement violence preventative strategies and interventions. Looking forward to 2024, Sarah outlined plans, including grant-making, report and budget reviewing, conducting the annual audit, training initiatives in accounting across Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia for capacity building, monitoring and field support visits, staff payroll management, and the preparation of financial reports and audits.

Beth Pottridge, overseeing the CRVPF US Office, provided an overview of the office’s activities during the period of July to December 2023. Beth highlighted initiatives that had been implemented to enhance collaboration between CRVPF Uganda and the US offices, particularly through the implementation of the CashPro banking system. The presentation addressed related expenses and the ability to negotiate favorable rates for currency transfers, involving collaboration with financial teams. Looking forward, Beth outlined plans for the upcoming quarter, including quarterly meetings with CRVPF’s US board, tax filing, an office audit, report compilation, and biennial filing with DC.

CRVPF Partners on Day 2 during a round-table discussion.

Building on the board’s feedback given on the first day, the second day focused on discussions about a new joint and coordinated approach. In 2024, CRVPF intends to revolutionize its strategy by convening all three core programs to collaborate and implement violence-prevention strategies rather than programs operating in isolation. By collectively applying these interventions in homes, schools, and communities, the three settings where violence often occurs, this joint and coordinated approach seeks to create greater impact and build the power of several demographics, including parents, youth, adolescent girls, teachers, children, and young fathers, providing them with the skills, knowledge, and agency to lead violence-free lives.

The next part of the agenda was a round-table discussion involving cluster partners representing all three of CRVPF’s programs. During the round-table meeting, cluster partners provided a glimpse of how they practically implement violence-prevention strategies in their respective settings. They also highlighted impactful outcomes, such as witnessing an increase in couples reuniting, particularly attributed to participation in the parental sessions offered as part of the PVAC programming. The day ended with a captivating showcase of items crafted by program participants.

On the third and final day, board members visited program sites in Luweero district. The first stop was a meeting with members of a parenting group under the PVAC program, where participants shared transformative stories, including a father who improved his family dynamics and financial situation through the program’s teachings and the established Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). Through this, together with his family, he was able to construct their family home, a project that was conveyed to the CRVPF board. Subsequently, the CRVPF team visited an AGPP safe space, witnessing participants showcasing products they learned to make during sessions, such as liquid soap, clothes, snacks, bags, and braided hair. Compelling narratives were shared, underscoring the positive influence of the safe space. One participant, now an internationally certified referee, credited her success to the training opportunities facilitated by the safe space. She specifically highlighted the achievements of the football team they established, the Luweero Star Cranes, which secured an impressive 4th place in the national league. The participants emphasized that, prior to the safe space sessions, football wasn’t a sport they engaged in due to social norms, something they are currently challenging through the life skills acquired in these sessions. These stories illuminated transformation, breaking gender-social norms and overcoming previous barriers to girls playing football.

The day concluded with partners from all three CRVPF programs, including new partners from EYDCD, convening with the CRVPF team to discuss their insights regarding the new joint and coordinated approaches. During this meeting, partners expressed their thoughts, and a consensus emerged that many were pleased with this approach due to several factors including the potential to create a network of networks, offering an opportunity for cluster partners to engage in mutual learning and teaching.

(L-R) Phionah Kesiime, Salmah Babu, Evelyne Tugume & Sarah Ameri Alum

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