Uganda, Africa

UGA02 - CFC-Child Care Ministries: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: August 26, 2015

Update from BHW Uganda Partnership Facilitators Following Visit in June

 

Key people: James and Gorret Mayende and Christopher Odeya

CFC Child Care Ministries continues to be one of the extremely well performing partnerships in Uganda and the various aspects of the ministry are continuing to do well. James and Gorret Mayende are wonderful people who have a huge reach and influence in their community. James, as a school principal, is effectively responsible for three schools. He is the principal of a Government school in Buhoya District, he has the overall responsibility for the school started in Pangani, Kween (UGA02b) which was started by the community there in 2012 and he is also looking after the school of Gorret’s late brother in Soronko District which is known as Hopeland School. In addition he is the principal leader of a network of approximately 20 churches throughout Eastern Uganda.

 

Recent Events

Small Loan Programme

The smaller loan group used to have 80-100 people but this has been reduced over time to approximately 50 people. We are advised that there are no defaults in the present group although some people do take a little longer than expected to repay. The group is well monitored. Both the smaller and larger loan groups are administered by Christopher Odeya. Christopher also graduated in June 2015 as a Pastoral Counsellor. Gorret is responsible for the overall training of loan beneficiaries and Christopher monitors, records and manages the finances.

Gorret did advise that there were situations now where there was a need for emergency funds to be made available to some beneficiaries because of crises. Gorret deals with these on a case by case basis.

James and Gorret are also in the process of thinking about additional future leadership for the loan group. They had previously identified a woman called Christine who, although still involved in the programme, has pulled back recently and we understand is now no longer involved in the leadership. 

Large Loan Programme (UGA02a)

The larger loan programme is continuing to expand. An example of James and Gorret’s credibility in the community is that recently a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) rider sold his bike for 1.6m UGX (approx. US$530). He came to James at the school he was teaching at and asked whether he might be able to come into the loan programme using that money and get a loan for further funds. James said no to the loan for a new bike. At that the man left all of the money with James, without getting a receipt or anything, and told him that he was happy for it to go into the savings programme and that he was willing to wait for as long as it took to become eligible for a loan. This type of behavior is unheard of in Uganda as people generally don’t trust one another (even family) around money issues. It is clearly a testimony to the credibility and influence of our partners.

The larger loan programme is very carefully managed. Loan sizes are significantly higher than in the smaller programme with loans of 4m UGX and 2m UGX recently being made to a local pharmacist after he was sacked from his work and to a hotel manager after he was sacked on the spot. There are no defaults under the programme.

James and Gorret do not want any further funds added by BHW into the programme at this stage as they are progressing well without additional funding. Extra funding may overtax their leadership capacity at the moment.  Also, within the larger loan programme the members are expected to save approximately 1/3 of their borrowing before they get a loan so there is adequate finance within the programme with the way it is being run. 

HIV/AIDS Support Group

This group has also been doing quite well. Within its own membership it has started a small micro-finance programme and is also focused on tree planting and food security. One of the leaders of this programme (Mayende Charles) has some chickens and is doing well. He has also been able to finish his house.  

There are significant difficulties with the people in this programme as many of them have lost hope for the future. They are also at various times battling significant levels of sickness. There are 95 people in this group however not all are actively engaged in small business. There are also difficulties with bringing the whole group together.

James has been working alongside them, bringing mindset changes focused predominantly on building hope for the future and planning for their and their family’s wellbeing. The small micro-finance programme has resulted in members developing small businesses and starting to sell fish, clothes and vegetables in local markets. There are also 27 people who are saving into that programme and 15-17 of these have loans. The programme is run by Sande Steven (see story below) who was supposed to attend the Foundations for Farming training in Jinja but was unable to because of work as he is a school teacher.  He helps members learn how to live with the impact of HIV/AIDS.

farming conferenceFoundations for Farming Training

James, Gorret and Christopher Odeya attended the Foundations for Farming training/conference BHW's Agricultural Director held in Jinja in June 2015.

Education Fund

The education programme still has around 90 children involved. There are, however, no children left in primary level and no further children being brought into the programme at this stage. At the time of doing this report there are 6 in tertiary education with around 34 shortly to enter into some form of tertiary education which we are hoping will largely be focused on vocational training (artisans and apprenticeships). James indicated that one woman Evelyn has done this as she did her practicum with a computer shop and now has employment. The only addition to the programme recently has been Mandela Juliet who is deaf and is attending the deaf school in Mbale along with Sandra.

A significant portion of the funding for this project goes into education funding. We have previously discussed with our partners the need to focus more on vocational training rather than university training, which often has a limited outcome. James acknowledges this. He noted that one of the disadvantages of university training was that the students got trained, got their degrees and then usually left the area. He expressed disappointment in this as it means next to no feedback/giving back into the local community. It was a very interesting observation.   


tough lifePersonal Stories

Babigumira Nora is a member of the HIV/AIDS group. She managed to save a small amount and was able to borrow from the table loan programme. She buys and sells tomatoes and small fish. She also plants young trees so that at a later time she can harvest timber. She is now able to buy medicine for her three children (a 12 year old and 7 year old twins). She is on ARV’s and has had her children tested but they are negative. She is a member of TASO (AIDS support organization) and is living positively with AIDS.

tough life



Beatrice Ajambo is also a member of the HIV/AIDS group. She also runs a small business selling tomatoes and fish at the local trading centre. She is able to use some of the money from this to pay for transport to collect ARV medication and to buy small things for her home. She invests some of the small profit she makes back into her business and also makes repayments back into the table loan group. 

 

leader


Sande Stephen has a leadership role within the group. He uses music, dance and drama to teach others how to avoid contracting HIV as well as supporting those with HIV/AIDS to live positively and have plans and hopes for the future.

He has borrowed 300,000 UGX from the small micro-loan programme in Busia so he can pay for his children’s school fees and has had 12 loan cycles. He is also the person responsible for administering the small loan programme for the HIV/AIDS group and is involved in assessing whether people are suitable to be small loan beneficiaries. 

 

Partnership's Influence within the Community

As has been reported previously, both James and Gorret think that the influence of the loan programmes and the education programme has meant a much greater degree of stability and peace in the community. Previously domestic violence was identified as a significant issue but this has reduced. The fact that people are willing to entrust their money to James and Gorret, with a view to receiving loans, in situations where they might easily be taken advantage of, is testimony to our partners’ integrity.  

doing wellThe Foundations for Farming training in Busia last year helped the local community get started with a different type of agriculture. We understand that this training still has a long way to go as there are ongoing issues with mindset changes, jealousy etc. However the part of the ministry based in Kween has embraced it and is doing well. 

 

Ideas for the Future

1) Gorret appears to be very willing to train other micro-loan groups. This issue was actually discussed (without our input) between her, Justus and Hilder in Rukungiri. We also understand that there were discussions with Amos from Ntoroko about the same issue. Gorret indicated to us that she would be willing to consider this.  

2) The HIV/AIDS group has considerable potential and has clearly initiated some activities, particularly small scale micro-finance, which are bringing stability and hope. We are interested in having further involvement with this programme but it has been difficult because Steven was unable to attend the Foundations for Farming training.

3) In line with BHW strategy James and Gorret clearly get that vocational training is the way of the future, rather than academic tertiary. This does not mean that some students will not go to tertiary, but they will choose wisely.

 

Current Issues and Challenges

Despite the obvious success of the programmes James and Gorret report that jealousy and envy continue to be significant issues. Because of these issues in this culture there is considerable potential for the good work done by any of our partnerships to be undone quite quickly. Prayer is needed.

The ongoing challenge of raising up new leaders. We sense that James and Gorret are often quite disappointed by the fact that, having identified some people, they do not form or do not develop appropriately.

The other challenge which we identify is that of assisting Gorret (and Anna Ocen from Mbale) to become leaders in developing micro-loan programmes with a reach beyond their own communities.

 

Prayer and Praise Points

1) That both the smaller and larger loan programmes are very well run
2) For the vision of the leadership and for further leadership to be developed from within the programme
3) For the HIV/AIDS group that the members of the group will grow in hope for the future and be able to take a long term view, despite their illness
4) For ongoing development and productivity from adopting Foundations for Farming strategies  
5) For the possibility for Gorret to be trained to become a woman leader and teacher/trainer of micro-loan programmes in other parts of Uganda 

 

Comments

Since we took over the role of Uganda Partnership Facilitators in 2012 we have been consistently impressed by what we have seen with James and Gorret. The success of the CFC Child Care Ministries at this time stands or falls on their integrity and commitment to the Lord, and to their community. We have a great deal of confidence that they are doing these things well.