This is a really significant boost for the programme which works with faith groups in Uganda to improve girls' education by helping them manage their periods better (you can read about why this is an important but, until recently, hidden issue below).
It is also a major achievement given the intense competition for the UK Aid Direct funds. Although this is a Faith in Water programme, we were too small to qualify for the grant on our own. So we approached the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), our parent organisation from which Faith in Water developed.
ARC agreed to be the grant holder for the project, with Faith in Water as the main implementing partner. Applying for the funding has been a gruelling process, beginning in January 2017 when we were one of more than 500 applicants to the second UK Aid Direct funding round.
Just 122 were invited to submit a full application and, of these, fewer than 30% have been awarded a grant to work on projects targeting the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable populations.
So we are absolutely delighted to be one of them (and are very grateful to ARC), not least because we believe our approach is very novel and will help improve the lives of thousands of Ugandan schoolgirls. We are targeting faith groups as major providers of education (they are involved in half of schools in Uganda) and as significant shapers of opinion to develop girl-friendly schools and remove the stigma and shame felt around menstruation.
We've already begun the project – the photograph above is of a workshop last month for Church of Uganda diocesan education leaders from across Uganda – and the response so far from our faith partners (which also include the Catholic Church and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council) has been amazing.
Follow us on this journey – we'll be posting regular updates!