The mission of OTYO! (A Sigh of Relief) is to improve the quality of life and health of women, adolescents and orphans of rural Uganda, by providing financial and technical support to community based organization (CBOs) working with these populations. The CBOs supported by OTYO! will improve efficiency and effectiveness of service provision in areas of:
- Food Security
- Health Care Access
- Health Education
- Community Empowerment
To provide financial support, OTYO! will apply for grants as well as raise funds in the U.S., through fundraisers and donations, and distribute these funds as short term (project) and long term (program) grants to qualified CBOs. OTYO! has developed requests for proposals on the basis of sound research in public health promotions and in field research in Uganda under the direction of Jolly Bugari and with the support and assistance of the CBOs. Future plans for OTYO! include the development and management of two programs that will provide expert human resource support to the CBOs funded by OTYO!; and provide opportunities for students from U.S. universities for experiential service-learning through internships and volunteering. OTYO! (A Sigh of Relief) is a registered Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Uganda and is a tax exempt 501(c) (3) Not for Profit in the United States.
OTYO! (A Sigh of Relief) will be a resource for community-based organizations seeking to make positive changes in their environment. These CBOs will be empowered and self-sufficient and will help Ugandans realize their full potential.
- Cultural humility; we will support all people regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, tribe or any other differing characteristic.
- Integrity; we will be open and honest in our mission, strategies, goals and objectives.
- Accountability; we are accountable to our customers, our partners, our supporters, and our Board.
- Empowerment; we will seek to provide community-based organizations with resources to become efficient, effective, and self-sufficient in service provision in community-building projects through public health theories.
- Innovation; we support community based organizations to think of new ways of problem-solving.
In the 1980’s, Philly Lutaaya , a well known Ugandan musician, had embarked on a vigorous campaign trail on HIV/AIDS awareness and the rights of People Living with AIDS. Philly was the first prominent Ugandan to go public as being HIV positive. He was a trailblazer who gave AIDS a human face by declaring a vision of openness, putting Uganda in the lead in combating AIDS. He put all of his last energy into a video documentary “ALONE and Frightened,” shown on PBS in the early 1990’s. His music album on AIDS, “Giving a Face to AIDS,” was a one-man campaign that grew into a global force to champion the rights of People Living with AIDS. Indicators show that the spread of HIV/AIDS is on the decline in parts of Uganda due to Philly’s efforts. But in rural communities such as Gomba County, Philly’s hometown, the HIV infection rate is still higher than 25%. Philly died of AIDS in 1989. His last wish was to inform every Ugandan and the International Community about HIV/AIDS.
OTYO! (A Sigh of Relief) was conceived during the summer of 2004 by its Founder/Director Ms. Jolly Bugari. Ms. Bugari was born and raised in rural Uganda. As a Ugandan, Ms. Bugari was deeply affected by the AIDS crisis in her country. She lost siblings, family members and close friends to the disease. This compelled her to take action, and had inspired her original focus to address the needs of all people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS in rural Uganda. One of Ms. Bugari’s strongest influences in starting OTYO! was her close ties with the Philly Lutaaya AIDS Campaign in Uganda. After moving to California more than 30 years ago and completing her graduate degree in Public Health, Ms. Bugari worked tirelessly to launch OTYO!, as an international non-profit community health organization based in San Francisco, California, to address these needs in Uganda.
As Jolly looked deeper into understanding the dynamics of the crisis, her assessment determined that the focus should be on addressing the needs of women and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Further, the needs of these women and children should be addressed by creating income generating opportunities for women through sustainable, nutritional-based farming, and through health education/nutritional counseling for children.
Although OTYO! is an American institution, the basis of OTYO! is very much Ugandan. The name of the organization, OTYO!, is a word in some Ugandan languages that expresses “a sigh of relief”. This name was chosen specifically because work done by OTYO! will offer relief to women, orphans and vulnerable children in rural communities in Uganda.
In Uganda, OTYO! will collaborate with the Ministry of Health – STD/AIDS Control Program, Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) and Makerere University Institute of Public Health (MUIPH), local community-based organizations, and Trust for Africa’s Orphans – UK. OTYO! will also keep its close connection to the Philly Lutaaya AIDS Foundation in Kampala by working with his older brother, A.K. Lutaaya, who will serve as the local point of contact for OTYO! in Uganda.
In the United States, OTYO! will work with San Francisco State University’s Department of Health Education (MPH Program), as well as other public and private institutions and organizations.