15 February 2021

UK aid budget funds VPlus, a new training programme for youth with disabilities in Gulu, northern Uganda 

Grassroots Devon-based charity, Enhancing the Capacity of Persons with Disability ( ETC of PWD), are delighted to announce their project has been supported by the Small Charities Challenge Fund, part of the newly formed Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) – (previously known as the Department for International Development).

ETC of PWD Hairdressing Students on the Vplus programme match funded by FCDO

The VPlus programme project started in Gulu, Uganda in January this year. For the next two years it will give 100 young people with disabilities, market relevant skills such as electronic and motorbike repairs, hairdressing, and sweater weaving. Through employment or self-employment, and meaningful economic activity, these young people will gain dignity and self-respect, and become self-supporting, respected members of their community.

As a trainee from an earlier programme said:

“I am now seen as a businessperson, not as a disabled person.”

The trainees on this programme are young adults with little or no education. Young people with disabilities are often excluded in Uganda, there are few specialist schools and mainstream education cannot cope. The civil war with the Lords Resistance Army in Northern Uganda in the 2000s destroyed communities and education, disabled many and left the poverty that causes so many debilitating conditions.  

VPlus will also provide key skills training – literacy, numeracy, financial literacy and so on – as well as much needed psycho-social support around self-esteem.

The grant has been made to ETC of PWD (Enhancing the Capacity of Persons with Disability), a small Devon based charity that funds projects in Northern Uganda supporting people with disabilities to support themselves.  VPlus was designed in collaboration with the charity’s long-term partners, Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU).

Mark White, Chair of ETC of PWD said:

“We are extremely pleased to receive this grant from UK Aid Direct, it allows us to double the number of trainees, make the training premises Covid-19 secure, provide high quality training equipment, and increase the range of vocational skills training on offer.”

Patrick Ojok, Project Manager of GDPU said:

“Skills training on market relevant courses will provide great opportunities for young people with disabilities to start up their own enterprise which will be a great source of their livelihood to support their family and also support their independence.”

For further information on VPlus and the charity ETC of PWD, please go to the website www. or contact Mark White, Chair of ETC of PWD on  

Further details about the delivery partner in Uganda, Gulu Disabled Persons Union, can be found at

The full name of the VPlus@GDPU project is: Enhancing the capacity of young persons with disability through vocational and literacy education and training. The announcement of the grant can be found at: and

VPlus is funded by UK aid from the British people.


1. UK Aid Direct is a £150 million challenge fund designed to support the UK’s commitments to achieving the Global Goals. It supports civil society organisations to achieve sustained poverty reduction. The grant is funded by UK Aid Direct’s Small Charities Challenge Fund (SCCF). SCCF project grants of up to £50,000 are available for projects of up to two years, for UK-registered organisations working towards addressing the Global Goals, to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalised.

UK Aid Direct grants are for UK and international civil society organisations working to reduce poverty overseas.

2.  The SCCF grant amount, (£28,818) will match what ETC of PWD is putting in (£22,174, plus funds already contributed to setting up the programme).

3. The practical and vocational skills that can be acquired through VPlus range across areas such as electronic repairs, hairdressing, and sweater weaving, with the numeracy and literacy lessons necessary to run businesses, and the psycho-social support needed for success. ETC of PWD works with its delivery partner, Gulu Disabled Persons Union (GDPU), to identify the needs of the trainees and gaps in the market so these vocational trainees can earn a living. Post-training support is a key element of the project as it has proved to be essential for the sustainability of trainees’ economic activities.

UK Aid will co-fund the new Vplus training courses with ETC of PWD over the next two years. Gulu Disabled Persons Union recruits equal numbers of male and female students. The grant has allowed the purchase of vital new equipment, new knitting machines to increase the knowledge and productivity of the workers for example, and for the first time, computers so trainees can learn valuable IT and design skills.  The FCDO fund has helped GDPU meet the challenge of COVID-19.The centre in Gulu has been fully reorganised in line with national requirements; new handwashing and toilet facilities, security and temperature testing equipment and training for all, this grant will help keep vulnerable staff and students safe and give them a real future to look forward to for the first time in their lives.

Details of the thinking and learning behind the establishment of VPlus@GDPU are available at,, and

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