Beatrice, A Para-Social Worker By Heart

Beatrice is passionate about helping her community. She has consistently volunteered to help vulnerable children and their households for the past 9 years. She joined World Education’s project, USAID/Uganda Better Outcomes for Children and Youth in Eastern and Northern Uganda (BETTER OUTCOMES), as a para-social worker in 2014.

Not only is she the type of person who simply exudes joy and optimism, but she also is able to expertly develop trust with her beneficiaries, especially young women, to give them hope and opportunity for better futures.

Girls First Club participants and their children

As a trained para-social worker for the BETTER OUTCOMES project, Beatrice is responsible for 60 households in three villages.

In addition to visiting vulnerable children’s home, Beatrice also attends, facilitates, and supports additional BETTER OUTCOMES clubs.

Her favorites? Peer Educator Clubs, Sinovuyo Parenting Clubs, and Girls First Clubs with DREAMS beneficiaries. She loves helping girls be Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe.

“Giving children the time to talk to their peers in clubs or with their parents in Sinovuyo groups really helps take away some of their stress and personal conflicts.”

Para-social workers handle a large amount of responsibility. They assess, support, refer, and follow up with children and families to ensure that they receive the urgent care they need. They also document cases and, in coordination with local governments’ protection officers, close cases of children who no longer need child protection services.

According to Beatrice, one of the biggest challenges facing para-social workers is transportation.

As a para-social worker, Beatrice has to visit multiple households each day, often with long walks between them. Her farthest household is nearly five kilometers away, and it takes her at least two hours to get there by foot. Sometimes heavy rains flood the paths, so it can be significantly more time-consuming. Beatrice is one of only two Sinovuyo facilitators in her parish, so she’s often busy with club meetings too.

Beatrice was nothing but smiles and gratefulness when she unwrapped her new bicycle. Proudly, she tightened the bolts and simply thanked the BETTER OUTCOMES project coordinators, saying, “Because of this project, we para-social workers have gained the ability to both identify and support orphans and vulnerable children. We can help parents care for their children. We help them save money for their futures. Now, we can do that more easily because transportation will not be such a burden.”

“Thank you for helping us help them.”

Making transportation easier for Beatrice is just one small way we help her help others, especially young women, and their caregivers.

We celebrate her, and all the incredible people who support the empowerment of women across the globe, today on International Women’s Day and every day.

Beatrice was trained by our staff and local partners to identify and support vulnerable children and their families under USAID/Uganda Better Outcomes for Children and Youth in Eastern and Northern Uganda. Through this project, we, alongside our partners, build the resilience of children and families through proven, comprehensive social protection models of care that address children’s multiple vulnerabilities across the HIV continuum.