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Faces Up Uganda

place Uganda

Art for empowerment and rehabilitation of children from vulnerable communities to attain agency.

Faces Up Uganda is a youth-led NGO that exploits the power of arts and mentorship to rehabilitate and empower children from vulnerable backgrounds to attain agency and academic excellence. We meet them at their ability level, both physically and social-emotionally. Our program is built around four progressive modules; 1) general, 2) creative, 3) emotional development, and 4) social interaction.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

Web presence






Target group
Students lower
June 2023
What if art education was accessible to all children from the most vulnerable communities but not just to the privileged few? We aspire to a world where all children both in and out of school are inspired to do what inspires them. Indulgence in arts enables children to learn with smiles and also achieve at their natural best.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Currently, children in Uganda do not all have the tools they need to flourish in the education system. They are not encouraged to think independently; express themselves creatively; work as a team; and pursue their own goals. Over-emphasis on academic excellence has led many of them to feel powerless and psychosocially challenged thus leading to poor academic outcomes.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

We use art education to address psychosocial challenges children face in the education system as well as equip them with the much-needed social-emotional learning skills they need to thrive and excel. We meet young people at their ability level, both physically and social-emotionally. Our program is built around four progressive curriculum modules such as 1) general development – which enables young people to learn, stabilise, grow, to fulfill their potential. 2) creative development – focuses on problem-solving. 3) emotional development – use art to represent experiences that they perhaps cannot verbalise, to bring healing. 4) social interaction – promotes a spirit of inclusion, and breaks barriers within diverse groups. As a result, children feel safe in school and empowered to express themselves creatively, which altogether contributes to building agency, academic excellence, and expanding their life opportunities. 8 in 10 children in our program demonstrate confidence and grit.

How has it been spreading?

We managed to scale our program from a single room in a slum area, to now working in 25 districts in Uganda, directly reaching over 5000 children including those with disabilities, refugees, and out of school. Because of our program, we have witnessed a 75% boost in children's confidence in the schools we work in as well as communities. We have also seen firsthand an 85% growth in the creativity of children monitored and evaluated using our observation sheet.
In the next 1-2 years, our program will have been mainstreamed and adopted as a complimentary program to the primary-level curriculum in Uganda, this is something that is already underway. We are in talks with the Ministry of Education to sign an MOU to adopt our program at the national level to scale our reach and impact.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Our approach is holistic, cost-effective, and replicable. It's designed in a way that is contextualised, and culturally responsive to meet the needs of learners from diverse backgrounds. To express your interest reach our team at admin@facesup.org for more information. We look forward to co-creating and connecting with other passionate changemakers in the education sector.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

The program empowers young people to become more confident and creative through the arts. Taps into existing potential. Indulgence in arts is linked to better cognitive development in children, improved academic outcomes as well as relief of trauma.

Faces Up Uganda is holistic, cost-effective, and replicable. It's designed in a way that is contextualised, and culturally responsive to meet the needs of learners from diverse backgrounds and therefor highly scalable.

- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Welcome circle
Before our sessions begin, we get the children/learners together to ensure compliance and safety. During this time, we do a fun check-in activity by asking children to draw out how they feel in the mind, body, and soul. This enables us to know how each child is doing on an individual basis to guide us on how best to support them during the session. This sets a pace for the day.
This is done as an icebreaker to get the children to know 1) who is in the room. Each child introduces themselves and makes a fun movement of the body, which others copy and do to emphasise remembrance of other peers' names. 2) the facilitator also uses this time to briefly talk about the lesson/activity of the day.
Planed activity of the day
A facilitator picks out an activity from our progressive art curriculum and delivers it according to the needs of the children. At this time, children are provided with the necessary art materials to use and the space. These sessions are safe for children to express themselves as they wish, without emphasis on the quality of artwork created but rather, the message in the artwork as well as the process the children take to create the artwork.
Snack and functional break time.
The children/learners are given time to rest and also eat a healthy snack that they carried for themselves. This is an important time to also allow them to rest as they process the information provided during the activities and the first half of the session.
Sharing personal stories
This focuses on enabling children/learners to overcome nervousness as well as build confidence thus bettering their communication skills. This is done in a non-judgmental way that invites even the shiest child to say something and gives encouragement from peers. Those that fail to say something, are given the option to draw their stories out and share with the rest of the children.
Collaborative learning and working
This emphasises group work, teamwork, and combined efforts. We find this very helpful for children/learners to learn negotiation, communication, and appreciation of diversity as well as the beauty that lies in working and winning together. We always intentionally have groups in odd numbers such as 3s, 5s, and 7s based on the number of children in attendance.
Reflection time
Here children/learners are invited to share what stood out for them in the day. What are their key takeaways, lessons, and challenges? These also help us get hints to plan for the next day's session as well as feedback to improve our methodology. At this time, the facilitator is only a listener, not a speaker while the children are the speaker- we hope to allow the children to feel head.
Fare well
At this time, the facilitator makes the necessary communication and announcement and then, call the session to an end. Children clean the space where they worked, return the art materials, and then, go home at their ease.

Spread of the innovation

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