Amy Bintliff (she/her)
Professor, Department of Education Studies, University of California-San Diego
Beinomugisha Peninah, Professor, Kampala University
Zaharah Namanda, Nonprofit Director, Africa Education and Leadership Initiative
Rebecca Levine, Doctoral Student, University of California San Diego
Patrick Kanyeihamba, Development Specialist, Africa Education and Leadership Initiative
Norah Nalutaaya, Educator/Board Member, Africa Education and Leadership Initiative
The impact of COVID-19 has been very detrimental to the wellbeing of refugee girls in Uganda (UNHCR, 2020). 27% of girls have been denied access to digital basic education due to their participation in household chores, and increased school fees (UNHCR, 2020). Many girls were forcefully married off for bride wealth to enhance their family income (UNHCR, 2020). Additionally, at the onset of COVID-19, there was great concern for girls demonstrating emotional depression, anxiety, and a higher risk of teen pregnancy.
However, through a collaborative initiative between Africa Education Leadership Initiative (Africa ELI) and the University of California, San Diego, Department of Education Studies, two pilot Wellbeing Clubs have been locally implemented in Uganda to support the wellbeing of girls. Our pilot assessment demonstrates that the wellbeing curriculum and pedagogy, including youth-led activism, improves participants’ abilities to relate with peers, builds self-confidence, communication skills, problem-solving skills, and decision making abilities, and stimulates the desire for girls to remain in school.