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Project information

Learning through play: Eastern Uganda

We will set up 5 community-run Play Centres in rural villages in Eastern Uganda to help children learn through play, promote good health and hygiene, and to empower communities to change their children’s lives, and their own, for the better.

May 2010 - April 2011

Charity information: Lively Minds

Lively Minds logo
  • Need


    Millions of children in rural Uganda are not getting the quality education they need to help them question and think creatively. As a result they cannot develop the “lively minds” needed to innovate and find creative solutions to local problems, which we believe to be essential if they are to find their way out of poverty. The common perception is – I was born into poverty and I will die in poverty, so what is the point of trying to change or dreaming of a better future?


    We set up community-run Play Centres that give thousands of children free access to educational activities that help them develop critical thinking skills through play. The centres are run by volunteers from the community. Volunteering benefits the volunteers themselves. It transforms them - giving them the confidence, vision and skills to change their children's lives and their own for the better. This is real sustainability. This is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve the critical-thinking and literacy skills of children in Uganda


    » We will set up community-run play centres where children can learn and develop key skills - problem-solving, reasoning, communication -through play.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...having 600 children attend play centres every week - becoming more active, imaginative and with improved literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills.

    Aim 2

    To empower communities to use their own skills and resources to improve their lives


    » We train volunteers from deprived villages to run the play centres. We give them leadership, communication and teamwork skills and self-belief.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...having 150 trained and empowered volunteers - with the confidence, vision and skills to drive their communities forward - running the play centres each week.

    Aim 3

    To improve hyiene and health practices to reduce preventable disease


    » We sensitise communities to handwashing with soap and other hygiene practices.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...children washing their hands with soap regularly and an overall reduction in in rates of diarrhoeal disease

  • Impact


    The project will spark imaginations and transform attitudes so that communities realise that there are plenty of things they can do to improve their lives and to give the next generations a better future. The project will enliven minds and empower communities, developing their skills and abilities so they can make their own changes. We will demonstrate the success of this project through monitoring, observation, attendance records, surveys, questionnaires and feedback.


    The success of the project depends on maintaining the support and committment of volunteers. We have put in place a comprehensive training package that ensures the volunteers are aware of their role and committment and to manage their expectations. We provide ongoing monitoring and support activities to continue to build upon the skills they have developed and to maintain their motivation.


    We can provide funders with progress reports throughout the year detailing our activities and our impact.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,200

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,400 Play materials materials for 5 new play centres
      £300 Printing/stationery Project based materials
      £900 Training workshops Holding 10 workshops (per new play centre) community volunteers
      £1,000 Monitoring Annual cost of weekly visits to play centres to quality control
      £1,600 Support activities Annual cost of seminars, team-building activities, knowledge sharing visits, local supervision

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    CMS Cameron McKenna £1,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    We work in villages in rural Eastern Uganda (around Jinja) and target the most deprived communities. We have already worked in this area for two years and our existing projects have been hugely successful. We are seeking funding to allow us to build upon our successes and take this project to new communities.


    The project will give over 600 children aged 3-6 years old in 5 communities free access to educational games. We will train over 150 volunteers to run the centre and who will also benefit from the project, by gaining leadership, teaching skills and self-belief. We will continue to support these volunteers throughout the year to continue to build upon the skills they have developed. The 5 communities will also benefit from the spirit of volunteerism and participation.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been running this project for over two years and in this time have developed huge expertise and passion for this project. We have already set up 13 play centres in Uganda. In recognition of this expertise, we were shortlisted for the Best New Charity in the Charity Times Awards 2009. We are run on a voluntary basis in the UK so funds go directly to the project. We employ expert local staff in Uganda to train the local volunteers and to monitor and evaluate the projects.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sarah Kanyonga

    Sarah is the country manager in Ghana. As well as being an experienced teacher she set up a support group in her village for single mothers and widows

    Alison Naftalin

    Alison founded Lively Minds after a trip to Ghana, perfectly demonstrating how one lively mind can make a difference through passion and creativity.