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UGA02 - CFC - Child Care Ministries: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: June 6, 2023

lovely timeReport from BHW Uganda Partnership Facilitator Following Visit

We had a lovely time with James at his home in Buhoya, near Busia on 23 and 24 October 2022. Gorret was away at the time, and we were sorry to miss her. I apologise that this report has taken so long to compile. You will see that it is quite comprehensive.

Recent Events

Main Microloan Programme

The main loan programme has shrunk from around 50-55 down to 20 people. Loan sizes in this programme are somewhat larger, up to 5.5 million UGX (approx. USD$1,400). Although only 20 are making regular repayments, the other loan beneficiaries are close at hand and making somewhat more intermittent payments as they can. James said that a lot of people think that they should save up a lot of money and repay big lump sums. We told James that he needed to insist that the payments be little and often, rather than a lump sum, with all of the temptations that that gives. He got that.  

HIV Loan Programme

key guyWe caught up with James on the 23rd and drove out to their property with Francis, our driver. Also with James was Stephen Sande (photo) who we have previously reported on before. He is the person who looks after the HIV Association. This is a group of people who are HIV positive and who have struggled for years.

When we last visited Busia before lockdown in 2019 this group had about 90 members. Not all the group was active or had small loans at that time. During the COVID related lockdown the group diminished to approximately 20 active members. Eight of the first group died as a result of a change in the antiretroviral medication that they need to take to stay alive and control the AIDS virus. Others left the area, and Stephen is now continuing on with about 14 or so active people. We have not given financial support to this group for a few years, as we have been unable to assess the effectiveness of the group or meet many of the people, as we have done in the past. Clearly its reach has diminished but I understand that there are many more people who are keen to join. This would require a cash injection.

Stephen has been actively looking after this HIV group for many years, even though he is not HIV positive himself. He has six children, three of whom have finished university and two are in primary school. He actively farms but is also the head teacher at the local Buhoya primary school which is about 50 metres from James and Gorret’s house. Stephen farms chickens and pigs, grows corn and tubers and has about 4 or 5 acres of maize.  

Education Funding

There are presently 33 students in either university or A levels who are receiving some but not full support. These are obviously the most expensive students. I was not able to determine how many are being supported to some level in primary or secondary, although James indicated that he was pulling back on primary support as it was creating problems with jealousy within families.

There are however huge problems, such as:
- Fees have increased to three or four times the previous amount since the lockdown.

- Parents are no longer able to participate in education cost sharing on the same basis as previously.

- There is a bias towards early marriage for girls or children staying at home. This means that they are not getting any education.

- No tertiary or vocational institution charges less than 1.5 million UGX per term. Skills training in a vocation is now 2-3 million UGX per term.

-  Prior to the lockdown there were 56 in the programme. There are also those on very short-term training courses, though as an example, one cost 405,000 UGX (US$120) for one term. These are sometimes fully supported.

- The biases and jealousy which arise in families and communities when it is perceived that one is helped and not others.

- The possibility of a separate skills training centre initiated by and run by James and Gorret and their team. I am thinking that this needs to be taken one step at a time.


Part of our previous funding was providing an allowance for trees for Kween. There is land around the church in Kween and I consider this is still a worthy part of the partnership but the amount to be allocated should be, say US$500 only. 

committedJames and Gorret

We also had a look at Gorret’s heifers, banana plantation and gardens. Gorret has been extremely busy and has not apparently been able to do much with them recently. This was somewhat apparent from her garden, although it is quite extensive, and the rear part was planted with very healthy-looking maize.

James has also planted a lot of trees in the area, particularly avocado and fruit trees. He also has a banana plantation. James has a 5-to-10-year horizon and has recently taken early retirement from Busitema Primary School, of which he was the principal. 

COVID Lockdown

James said that the lockdown has been extraordinarily difficult for Faith Church Buhoya. Before the lockdown, which lasted 2 years 3 months in total, because Busia is a border town, church attendance was around 200 but they have seen it drop to around 70-75. They are, however, doing small group follow-up with people and looking to bring back many of the people that have not returned. 


Personal Stories

faithfulJuma Josephine

Josephine has an alcoholic husband. She did the Foundations for Farming training in 2014 and still grows skumoweek (like kale), tomatoes and eggplants. Gorret trained her as well as she did not have good English at the time. She has started practicing with friends, grows avocados and continues to compost. She was fearing meeting us because she had been away for two months as her mother was sick in Mukono and seemed ashamed that her garden would not have been looked after. She has five children of her own with two extras and three grandchildren. Her husband has always been a drunkard and not worked. She has been able to educate the children due to her diligence. One son became a police officer but because he was a Christian and would not accept bribes, he was stabbed in Busia. He has survived and is back in the police working in the north now. We were impressed with her faithfulness.


real encouragerMangeni Alfred

Alfred is a mobilizer in the HIV association. He has been HIV positive for 14 years. He works very hard in his role and lobbies for medication for clients. He spends a lot of time cycling to collect medication and organizing meetings with the clients. He sees himself as being someone who brings hope in a dark situation. Many HIV positive people lose hope and simply die. Alfred encourages them and gets their medication, takes them to hospital, does home visits, checks that they are taking the medication and generally looks after quite a large number of people, including some in Kenya who are part of the HIV group. He is also aware of any HIV client who receives a small loan as part of the HIV loan programme. 



treasurerWe have previously reported on Babugamira. She is the treasurer of the HIV loan programme, having been HIV positive for 22 years. She trains others on medicine, nutrition and hope for life. She has a small shop and does farming. She grows corn, soya beans and beans. She has also been a beneficiary of the loan programme. Even though her body is quite weak (in her assessment), she came across as very strong in spirit. She also raises chickens and has some trees. The chickens came from the HIV fund, the idea being that they would raise five hens and as they produce keep 15 and pass the chickens onto others. For her, HIV is not the end of life. She is also involving her children and grandchildren in planting and growing. In her own words “fear has been chased away and hope encourages her.” Antiretroviral drugs have certainly extended peoples’ lives significantly but a new ARV process during lockdown did adversely affect many people and eight people in the programme died. 



faithfulThere are some really good stories and Amina is clearly a very diligent and faithful loan programme member, in the larger loan programme. She is also in a farming cooperative with another group of women, run somewhere else in the Buhoya District. The coop takes turns to work on each other’s land. The group pay each other by paying into the programme, and then divide up the proceeds at the end of the season. That strikes me as a very good process and highly creative! Amina made the usual savings into the programme in 2021 and took a loan to assist her son to purchase a motorbike to operate a boda boda business. To be eligible, a borrower must already have saved one third into the programme before borrowing. Within a week thieves had stolen the motorcycle. This happened before the second lockdown in March 2021.

However, Amina has not avoided any responsibility to pay off this loan. The loan programme advanced funds to purchase another motorcycle and the business is now running well, although Amina now has a larger amount to repay but she is actually paying it. She is also a member of another savings and credit programme, has a cow and is farming. When her cow calves, she sells it, and uses some of the funds to repay the loan.


Ideas for the Future

HIV-Aids Loan Programme

It is a sad fact that many of the loan programmes which Bright Hope World has supported in Uganda have either failed or reduced significantly. The ones in Busia are no different. At the same time, I think it is appropriate to boost these and get these programmes up and running again. In particular, I would like to see $2,000 added to the HIV-Aids loan programme to boost it and enable them to replace those who have died or not been able to pay. This smaller loan programme is much more like a revolving loan fund and is still viable.

I would like to see grace given for what has happened given the enormous difficulties that have been faced here. It is great that there is someone in this group who is working actively with those in the community affected by HIV-Aids. Alfred finds out who else in the community is infected and is apparently quite comfortable with going house to house. This is a good thing in a culture where being HIV positive is a shameful thing.

I recommend that there be a boost of US$2000 plus an allowance of $200 for transportation costs each year for the next two years, and then we review this loan programme and see how it is doing. I am planning to be back in Uganda early in 2024.

Main Microloan Programme

There are a lot of people who would like to join the loan programme once funds come back and there are further funds available to be loaned out. James requested a boost to this programme. I initially said to him that I would recommend maybe US$4,000 for a year or two at most. I trust James implicitly, particularly after he was able to provide reassurance about the Kween School, and therefore a boost to this programme makes sense. I am a bit unsure about timing though and we may need to discuss it. While I totally endorse the HIV loan programme, I am wondering whether we should give the main programme a few more months and then I will review it remotely with James before committing further, with a boost being made maybe in September/October.

I think that the programme is being well run, and it always has been, but it has suffered considerable setbacks and, frankly, when we were there it was a bit difficult to fully grasp what is going on. Going forward, James hopes that Stephen and his daughter-in-law Resti will be able to assume an administrative role here. 


I would like to see support for the education funding for tertiary decrease over time, apart from existing commitments, and for us to increase our support to primary and secondary students, and vocational training upskilling.

At present I propose that we continue the education support at US$10,000 for the coming year, not $14,400 as previously. I am checking this out with James and Gorret to ensure that this will cover all of the existing tertiary students. This is a workable level going forward. 


We also met briefly with James and Gorret’s daughters-in-law, Ruth Mangini and Resti. They were very keen to discuss vocational training programmes and also the management of the microloan programme as I understand that James and Gorret are wanting to bring in new leadership for it. Ruth has her own business in Kampala, employing three people in fashion design and tailoring. Ruth is Solomon’s wife, and she is keen to start a vocational training programme in the Namungodi marketplace, which is on the main road turnoff to Buhoya and is an ideal location. James has an office there which is suitable for this. She would like to do tailoring, design, cosmetology and eventually also have someone teach shoe making. Apparently, there is a lot of demand for all of this. She is planning to come to Busia around three times a month to supervise and to teach. She has not yet sent a proposal. I do have some significant reservations about this as even though vocational training is a great idea, there already seem to be a number of good, or at least reasonable, programmes already operating in this part of Uganda. I am therefore planning to discuss this further with James. 

Resti is the other daughter-in-law, being married to Bonnke. They also live in Kampala. She has one child, but she has also taken over the daily care of Shekinah, who is the daughter of her brother-in-law Jude (James and Gorret’s other son) whose wife has just left him. Resti is an accountant, presently working with Every Life Uganda in Kampala. James wants her to be the administrator for the microloan programme, taking some of the pressure off Gorret and himself. I realise that he is thinking ahead and that there seem to be a dearth of people whom he has been able to trust. I really warmed to both his daughters-in-law. I had also had discussions with both of them in Jinja and I was deeply impressed with both of them. They are clear headed and intelligent women but as yet I think that they are untried. 

It also concerns me that neither Ruth or Resti live locally, and both have families and employment in Kampala. I therefore struggle to see how James’ proposals involving them could really work.


Prayer and Praise Points

1) The Covid pandemic has devastated people’s ability to earn income and support themselves. Most people are not doing well, and it is evident from even the businesses in the town that life is not good.

2) We do give thanks that the loan programmes are still continuing in some form, and that this partnership still appears to be in good heart.

3) For new leadership to come through for CFC Childcare Ministries. James and Gorret are outstanding but there needs to be succession if this is to continue to thrive. Stephen has been consistent in leadership, and we have met him several times on past visits, but others have dropped away over the same time.

4) For the fact that they are starting to plan ahead after 2 1/4 very difficult years.

5) For a return of people to the church. This issue is Uganda-wide.

6) For wisdom in relation to boosting of the existing programmes and projects.



On 24th October we had another quite lengthy meeting in the heat, under a tree at their place in Buhoya. Stephen Sande was there along with some of the one of the microloan beneficiaries, and also two of the HIV-AIDS people, whom I've reported on above. We discussed the budget for various aspects of the partnership. All-in-all we had some wonderful interactions with James and Gorret and, as far as we are able, have no concerns about this partnership, except that we would like to see some capable and local leadership develop.