This month, the Bridges2Scale study held a three-day community engagement meeting at Hotel Brovad in Masaka, Uganda. The study lead principal investigator, Dr. Fred Ssewamala, was present and was joined by study PI, Dr. Byron Powell. The aim of this meeting was to share results from the Bridges2Scale study, share information with the schools about the new study.
The study launch brought together more than 300 head teachers, contact teachers from participating schools, officials from Stanbic, Equity, DTB, and Centenary banks, local and central government leaders including district education officers, chief administrative officers, the Local Council V Chairman, the Mayor of Masaka, and the Resident City Commissioner, as well as implementing partners from Reach the Youth Uganda and Makerere University. In addition, all ICHAD staff and guests from Masaka Diocese including the Bishop Masaka Diocese, His Lordship Rev. Fr. Serverus Jjumba, and the Education Secretary were in attendance to commemorate the start of this important collaboration.
Participants’ testimonies unequivocally highlighted the tangible impact of ICHAD, emphasizing its role not only as a research entity but also as a catalyst for positive change within communities. With a steadfast commitment spanning two decades, ICHAD has consistently invested in the well-being and future prospects of children. Dr. Fred Ssewamala underscored that ICHAD’s research is not merely an academic pursuit for publications but is conducted with rigor and a genuine focus on creating real-world impact. School leaders highlighted several favorable results from ICHAD’s studies, including a rise in student enrollment and a decrease in dropout rates. These positive outcomes were attributed to the incentives provided by ICHAD, such as offering lunch to students. Ms. Betty Nakirijja, Head Teacher Bulinda Primary School commented on the impact, stating, “Observing the effects of ICHAD’s initiatives, we witnessed a notable decline in dropout rates after the organization began providing lunch to study participants. As we are aware, hunger can be a significant factor leading children to miss school.”