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Uzima Women Empowerment Program Secures Top Honor in Xavier’s Network Safeguarding Contest

St. Joseph Development Programmes (SJDP) through its the Uzima Women Empowerment Program was honored with the Xavier Network Safeguarding Champion Award 2024 for its exceptional dedication to promoting safeguarding policies. This prestigious recognition was announced at the Xavier Network Directors’ Meeting in Dublin, where their commitment to safeguarding was highly praised.

Uzima Empowerment Group. (Photo Courtesy: Saint Joseph Development Programmes-Archives).

The Uzima Women Empowerment Program at St. Joseph Development Programmes (SJDP) in Kangemi, Kenya, has been a beacon of hope and transformation since its inception in 2004. “Uzima,” meaning “life” in Swahili, represents their commitment to improving lives affected by various challenges such as HIV/AIDS. The program provides psychosocial support through counselling services, nutritional assistance through food subsidies for families affected/infected with HIV/AIDS, medical support through referrals for victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), livelihood empowerment for vulnerable women and youth, as well as transportation aid for SGBV victims seeking justice.

Presentation of the Safe-guarding Award to St. Joseph Development Programmes.

As one of key collaborators, the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) takes this opportunity to congratulate Saint Joseph Development Programmes (SJDP)for these initiatives, that they have undertaken which have significantly impacted Kangemi, offering vital support and empowering individuals often marginalized by society. Before the program’s implementation, Kangemi faced dire conditions. Young boys and girls were constantly threatened by physical and sexual abuse in their homes, schools, and public areas. The consequences of these abuses were catastrophic, ruining the futures of these innocent children and perpetuating a cycle of violence and hopelessness. Change was desperately needed, which arrived with the interventions of the Uzima program.

Presentation of Child Safe Guarding Award to Fr. James Mugwe SJ., Director of St. Joseph Development Programmes by Emer Kerrigan, Deputy Director of Irish Jesuits International.

Through this exceptional accomplishment, 10 years down the line, the Uzima Women Empowerment Program securing a first place in the contest, reaffirms SJDP’s commitment to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults in Kangemi. This recognition highlighted the program’s dedication to ethical conduct and accountability. During a special ceremony, Emer Kerrigan, Deputy Director of Irish Jesuits International, and Fr. Allan Ggita, SJ, Jesuit Development Director, presented an award to the St. Joseph Development Programmes.

At the award acceptance ceremony hosted at St. Joseph Technical Secondary School (SJTSS), Ms. Emer Kerrigan, serving as Xavier Network Coordinator and IJI Deputy Director, emphasized the critical importance of safeguarding within any organization. She stressed the necessity of strict adherence to safeguarding protocols to cultivate a secure and inclusive environment for all stakeholders engaged in Jesuit endeavors worldwide.

By, Deacon Francis Kyallo, SJ.,

Saint Joseph Development Programmes, Kangemi, Kenya.

Dennis Owuoche

Dennis Owuoche Shadrack is the AJAN Communications and Research officer, Having joined AJAN in 2022 he has a broad experience in content writing; statements, press releases , website management, brand development, developing communications strategies and managing the social media, disseminating knowledge products, preparing flyers, reports and spreading other materials in order to enhance awareness about HIV and support Holistic development of the young people as a AHAPPY Trainer.



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