Mengo Youth Development Link (MYDEL) is a nongovernment organisation based in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. It was founded in 2001 as a slum youth initiative under the patronage of Mr. Pascal Lutaya. Starting as a community based organisation (CBO) during the outbreak of cholera and ebola in many of the slum areas in Kampala, MYDEL initially focused on hygiene and health sensitisation of the affected people, supported by local politicians and the community itself. Working in close collaboration with the local population and local leaders, MYDEL became aware of other community challenges, which included a high rate of HIV/AIDS infections, drug abuse, prostitution, child abuse, domestic violence and the marginalisation of people with disabilities.
In 2004 MYDEL was officially registered as an NGO and expanded its activities according to the needs assessment carried out in an early state of its operation. Following an early intervention approach, MYDEL decided to focus their programs on the most vulnerable children and youths from the slum community, most of whom being school dropouts and orphans.
MYDEL's mission is the empowerment of this target group through education, sensitisation and skills development to contribute to a sustainable poverty reduction among these marginalised communities.
MYDEL guarantees a transparent way of operating with a proper accountability system, which implies a responsible management of funding and community resources.
MYDEL believes that a sustainable community empowerment can only be succeeded by community participation and ownership. Therefore the target community is involved in project design and implementation.
MYDEL's approach implies a start from the available community resources, regarding our target group as subjects with a wide range of individual potentials and experts of their reality
MYDEL is working with a heterogenic target group from different cultural and religious settings. Core value of our work approach are the fundamental human rights, which regard every human being as equal, not regarding their tribe, their religious believes or cultural norms.
Area of Intervention
Mengo-Kisenyi is a slum area in Kampala Central Municipality, which accommodates approximately 200.000 inhabitants. As most of the informal settlements of Kampala, Mengo-Kisenyi was built into a swamp, which causes serious floods during the rainy season. Part of its residents came from rural areas of Uganda, seeking for employment in the capital city. Others came as internally displaced people (IDPs), who fled to the capital from war affected areas in northern Uganda. Moreover Mengo-Kisenyi accommodates a high number of refugees from neighbouring countries as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ruanda, Somalia and Ethiopia, forced to flee from poverty, famine, intertribal conflicts and war.
Half of Kampala's population is living in informal settlement, hoping for an improvement of their own living conditions. Fled from poverty in their places of origin, they now are confronted again with a challenging situation, as they face a lack of access to most of the basic public resources such as water supply, sanitation, health care and education. Accordingly, the unemployment rate within the informal settlement is tremendously high. Apart from that, over the past years the population of Mengo-Kisenyi struggled with an increase of HIV-infections, which caused a large number of households headed by orphaned children.
As all of the affected families face a lack of financial resources, they are not able to provide the monthly amount of school fees. That is why the majority of the children have very limited access to formal school education. Moreover a high number of children are forced in labour in order to secure the daily outcome of their families.
Consequently Mengo-Kisenyi has to struggle with a large number of school dropouts, whose future prospective is accordingly limited. Criminality, early pregnancies, forced marriage, prostitution and drug abuse are some of the major problems the area has to deal with.
The direct beneficiaries of MYDEL's activities are the most vulnerable children and youths living in the informal settlements of Kampala. Living in an unprotected environment, struggling with a wide range of challenges, children and youths are in particular at high risk of becoming victims of rape or other physical violence, drug abuse and forced child labour. Moreover, the lack of literacy and sensitisation results in an increased risk of HIV infection.
Having a very limited access to formal education, the future prospective of the targeted children and youths remains a challenge to them and the community.
MYDEL's work approach implies the empowerment of the target group at an early stage in order to reduce the risk of them becoming victims of their circumstances, unable to mobilise own resources.