Uganda, Africa

UGA04a - Personal support of Thomas Lubari: Partnership Reports

Other Reports Available:

Print friendly version

Back to Partnership

Report Date: February 2, 2018

Report from BHW Uganda Partnership Facilitators Following Visit


We visited with Thomas and Joyce on 22-24 July 2017 in Jinga and also went out to Njeru and visited the vocational training students and many of the micro-loan beneficiaries at the LGM Church. These matters are reported on separately. 

The purpose of this report is simply to focus on developments in Thomas and Joyce’s own personal circumstances, and the personal support which has been provided by BHW for quite a number of years.


Recent Events


teaching FfFIn our December 2015 report we noted that Thomas was actively farming. He did have a piece of land that he was leasing just outside Jinga but unfortunately this was summarily taken off him and did not yield well. He was practising Foundations for Farming (FFF) principles on that land and it was somewhat disappointing that he did not have a crop.

Since then he has also started a much larger farming operation in Koboko District. He leases around three acres of land and planted a crop of onions in early 2016. He had a reasonable harvest of around 8 tonnes of onions. He was able to sell 1 tonne and put the other 7 tonnes in storage.

When he returned three months later he was told by the Pastor of the church, who had the key to the storage facility, that the onions had become rotten and had to be destroyed. It is impossible to verify this story although Thomas is of the opinion that the onions had been stolen and sold.

Notwithstanding this setback, Thomas does consider that he has reliable people in Koboko. In addition he is also travelling to Koboko about twice a month to supervise the farming operation and employs people to look after the land and cultivate the crops. He is using FFF principles on this land. I understand that by this he means that they as farmers actively use mulching as a technique for moisture retention but do not do compost as they find it too difficult to obtain the raw materials for compost in what is a semi-arid area. The day after we left Thomas was returning to Koboko to be involved in the replanting of the onion crop and will look forward to a good harvest of around 9 metric tonnes early next year. 


very beneficialWhen we asked how this year was proceeding from a ministry perspective, Thomas’ word was “extraordinary”.  When we asked what this meant, he explained that the year is going extremely well. They have a very good group of vocational training students, in whom they have a high level of confidence (UGA04c and SUD04). In addition the church is going well, the trauma counselling training that has been done in the north in the refugee camps has also born fruit (SUD05), and he is optimistic about income generation. 

From our discussions it is clear that the following parts of Thomas and Joyce’s ministry are quite relevant:

1) A number of the vocational training students will be graduating this year (2017) and they will look to intake some more next year. They will be reducing the size of the programme and the numbers that they take on board.

2) Thomas is still actively involved in ministry in the north, but to a lesser extent. He now combines that ministry with farming in Koboko.

3) He continues to have a good relationship with Francis Oyoma in Nebbi and the situation around the onions seems to have resolved.

4) They are very keen to continue with the trauma counselling training in the north. Apparently the need is huge. We have indicated that we want the focus to be on training the trainers, rather than initiating fresh training around the area’s refugee camps. Our hope is to see the trainers in their turn train other people to actually do the ministry.  

5) Life Gospel Church appears to be in good heart and we had quite a lengthy meeting with micro-loan beneficiaries and vocational training students out at the church.

6) Previously we have suggested that one of his protégés, Walter Okello, in Lira would be a good person to commence working with. We have since learnt that Walter and his brother have started a different church in Lira. We have not had any contact with Walter for some time but it does seem to be the nature of Uganda that everybody, when they reach a certain stage in their life, wishes to start their own church. What did impress us with Walter is that he had actively taken on board Foundation for Farming principles. He had also taught a lot of other people how to do it. 


working well as a teamIt was certainly clear to us that Thomas and Joyce are working a lot better together as a team and we were greatly encouraged by their interactions with each other, and with ourselves. 

Thomas is studying for his PhD, in addition to all of the other aspects of his ministry, and income generation. Joyce is studying human relations, in addition to her existing full time employment.

One of the other issues they faced this year, and about which they did not complain, is that with the influx of vocational training students from Koboko and South Sudan, they have found both vocational training programmes quite stretched. They have at least one of the students living with them and they also actively support, from their own resources, a household of ten South Sudanese students who live in the central part of Jinja.

It is clear that Thomas and Joyce live very sacrificial lives. They have recently purchased a small plot of land (which we were not able to go and see due to time constraints). Joyce has purchased some cement bags and they are hopefully starting construction of their own house as funds and finances permit.


Partnership's Influence within the Community

1) The focus of this report is on the personal financial support for Thomas and Joyce. We are glad to see that they are more stabilised. The landlord has carried out repairs and improvements to the house that they rent in central Jinja, but has also put the rent up.

2) Thomas and Joyce support a number of other people out of their own resources and clearly become quite stretched financially at times.

3) Last year when Matt was in Njeru he did identify that both Thomas and Joyce are clearly held in high regard in the community. This was obvious from the community interactions while walking through the marketplace.

4) Thomas and Joyce do seem to have quite a focus on recruiting good stable people and some of these seem to have good potential.


Ideas for the Future

Thomas and Joyce look like they will shortly be starting erection of a house on their land. Initially they wanted us to consider making a loan to enable them to do this, but we think this is a problem they should solve for themselves. Many other people in this culture do.

Thomas is leasing a reasonably sized piece of land in Koboko and is quite excited about the possibility of carrying out some growing activity.

He is also still wishing to pursue the idea of purchase and resale of produce, if he can be acting as the middle-man. Although this is an idea with promise we have yet to see any realistic budget or a sense of what this would require. He would have to make a proposal for a loan, which we would consider.

Thomas continues to be passionate about Foundations for Farming. This is wonderful to see, as the uptake around the country has not necessarily been that high.


Prayer and Praise Points

1) The raising up of good additional leadership, who are trustworthy.
2) For resolution in Koboko with Pastor Benjamin Yeko, following the theft/loss of the onions.
3) For an increase in Thomas and Joyce’s financial and housing stability



We do not think that BHW should increase the level of this personal support. At the same time we do not think that it is appropriate to stop it at this stage. From our perspective though, we think that funding for Thomas and Joyce should probably start to focus on supporting him to carry out specific projects. For instance last year we assisted in funding for trauma counselling training and effectively covered all of their costs. We see that there is scope to do this if Thomas is continuing to ramp up the Foundations for Farming training and other aspects of his ministry in various parts of the country. We think, however, that Thomas should communicate with us each time one of these proposals comes up, and provide us with a realistic budget for consideration.

Finally it is important to reiterate that Thomas does not have paid support from the church in Njeru. The church is simply too poor to afford it.