Our Man In Uganda: Notes from the frontline
Lots going on to update you on from here in Uganda. So, hot off the press – here’s what we’ve been up to on the ground.
Our government-qualified Community Health Promoters (CHPs) work tirelessly to improve health in the remote mountain areas of Mbale, Uganda. Through community outreaches, trainings and door-to-door campaigns, CHPs provide trusted health information on the transmission and spread of disease, personal hygiene, and sanitation within the home. From helping families install latrines to educating parents about childhood immunizations, CHPs are trained in a wide range of topic areas. Professional development sessions of late have focused on child and maternal care, including symptoms of early pregnancy and delays in delivery that can be prevented. One of these sub county’s covered is now the number one for health improvement in the whole District!
The new school year began at Rock Nursery School in February 2019, and is going strong! With the input of a new parent committee, we capped our enrollment at 80 children. Although it was a difficult decision to limit intake at the only nursery school in this remote area, we are already seeing the positive effects of smaller class sizes. Teachers are better able to foster age-appropriate learning and growth in all three classes. Students in baby class are being introduced to school routines while middle and top classes are learning to recognize letters, sounds and numbers – not only in their local language but also in English. Children also receive a cup of porridge every day for nourishment.
In the same mountain community where Rock Nursery School is located, our goat project is helping to lift families out of poverty in a sustainable, community-led way. A female goat of breeding age is vaccinated and given to particularly vulnerable members of community who receive training in goat rearing. Each beneficiary returns the firstborn kid to the project to be given to another family in need, while subsequent kids are kept for further breeding or sale. The income generated by the sale of even one goat makes a tremendous difference for these families. One grandmother who is now able to provide school fees, food, and other necessities for her household said that she “sees gold” every time she looks at her goat. Families involved in the goat project also participate in area savings groups, and many have launched their own businesses with their savings and loans.
Our area savings groups put the community in control of meeting their own needs. Each week, members gather to save what they can afford. Little by little, their small coins add up – with big results! From their shared savings, members can take out loans to cover the costs of family emergencies, medical care, or most often, to start a business. With the start of the rainy season, most of our members on Wanale have been investing in their gardens, planting carrots, onions and potatoes to sell for income. Other members have begun selling secondhand clothes or even starting up transportation businesses. We provide ongoing oversight and training for these groups; a recent session focused on the ‘Seven Steps of Saving.’
The Evergreen roaster has really come into its own this year. In the past, we outsourced most of the roasting, mainly due to the volumes required and a personal link with a British roaster in Kampala. Our British friend has now left Uganda, and so we have taken the opportunity to bring the roasting business fully to Mbale – using the 1kg roaster supplied by Evergreen! This has been a big step up for the coffee project and a great chance to bring more jobs and skills locally. It looks like we will out-grow the roaster fairly quickly as the demand for our coffee continues to grow. A nice problem to have!
Until next time, signing off.
Your man in Uganda,
From the Heart of Herts to the Foothills of Mount Elgon, Uganda.
Making a difference, one image at a time.
Exhibition of images taken during an expedition to document the work and story of Evergreen Africa.
When: Sat 7 Sept – Sat 21 Sept 2019
Where: The Black Gallery, Silk Mill Business Park
Open invitation to the PRIVATE VIEW : Friday 6th Sept 18.00 – 21.00.
All welcome, please RSVP to email@example.com
or log on to the Eventbrite site www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/from-the-heart-of-herts-to-the-foothills-of-mount-elgon-uganda-tickets-65663048947
(or via the Facebook event page – Click here for event page )
The exhibition will also include a screening of the documentary shot during the period on the hills.
In just five years, Evergreen Africa has helped prevent cholera breaking out on the ridge through Community Health Practitioners (known as CHPs), set up Village Savings and Loan schemes, helped income-generation through a goat programme, made the programmes self-sustaining with a coffee roasting facility and now setting up a market garden. The region is beautiful. Stunning. The people are warm, lovely, sense of humour. But live in abject poverty.
“Evergreen Africa’s existing programmes form the foundation of a greater ambition to help release 25,000 people out of abject poverty along the ridge. The area is quite inaccessible, so aid and support is lacking as it’s difficult to access the area. In the rains it is treacherous, mud slides, hundreds have lost their homes and lives in the area. Even when we were there we were stuck, the 4×4 slipping sideways down the hills. But still people are smiling, welcoming.” said Paul Voltzenlogel, founder of Evergreen Africa.
“In this exhibition we show you the people there, share a smile with them, listen to their stories, imagine you too are 9000 feet above sea level, head in the clouds, children are singing in the schools, cows lowing, goats shuffling around by your feet and know that just by your visit you are helping to make a difference.” Said Vanessa Champion, founder of PhotoAid Global and photographer of the exhibition.
“We are grateful for PhotoAid Global supporting us not just with the photography but also helping organise this exhibition, which will form part of a touring show.” Continued Paul.
We look forward to welcoming you at the show.
If you are a business or philanthropist, there are opportunities for you to get involved, make a fundamental change and leave a lasting legacy. Please do get in touch, come to the Private View and share some time with the Founder of Evergreen Africa.
PRESS INVITATION – please come to the Private View. You are also welcome to set up a stand alone interview/ podcast with Dr Vanessa Champion, Founder of PhotoAid Global Foundation, and/or Paul Voltzenlogel, Founder of Evergreen Africa.