Sunday, December 16, 2007

Friends at YouTube

Our Nonprofit Channel at YouTube was the #13 most popular nonprofit channel in November - amongst the likes of the ONE campaign and the March of Dimes! Visit our nonprofit video channel and help keep us amongst the most popular charities on YouTube.

Our most popular video: a thank you message from Nakawoma Moreen, one of our scholarship students - check it out!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November Update

School Desks Project

The payments have been made on the desks.

Click here for video of the headmaster of Kimanto Comprehensive Secondary School thanking the desk project sponsors, ChooseaNeed!


1. One goat's leg was broken in Bugole. Apparently it was trying to jump out of the shed. I was told that it is being taken care of and the broken leg is being set.
2. I'm still waiting to hear from Musai John on the last widow in Kiwanyi. They were supposed to get another widow organized. I will follow-up this week.
3. Some people from Jinja came into the office the other day wanting to buy goats from JIDDECO…thought that was a nice side note. Unfortunately none of our widows could benefit from the sale, but at least we know JIDDECO is marketing the goats.

1. We delivered the goats. Basil will be working for this farmers' association. He told me it is a bit of an experiment but he has hopes it will sustain itself.
2. I will go back and move around with Banuli to see the women during one of my visits to the Kidozi well.

Orphan Scholarships:
Richard said they will visit each school once more and then the last time as they collect the reports. He gave me all of the receipts he has with three missing.

We will get the accountabilities for the monitoring once the term is over.

Shallow Wells:
1. Idinda is now finished and it looks great! The opening ceremony is on Tuesday. The report is attached along with the new proposals.

* Join the opening ceremony for the Idinda Well on YouTube! *

2. We took Balidawa to Kidozi on Friday. I visited today when we delivered the materials and they have already gone pretty deep. They started digging up sand a little bit further down into the swamp, but hit water after 2 feet, so they moved further up hill. This is a sign that the water table isn't too deep. Herbert estimates another 10 feet and they will hit water.

Digging the Kidozi well

I also evaluated another potential site for a new shallow well, Butakanira:
i. The distances aren't outrageously long compared to other villages, however they said that their village area is small, but has many people.
ii. They have 2 boreholes, but the lines are always really long, causing some people to retrieve contaminated water. There are no other clean water sources in the community. There is a dirty river though…
iii. The longest people walk to the existing borehole ranges from 1 to 1.5 kms.
iv. Roughly 230 households to the village
v. Just as with Kidozi and Idinda, I had men telling me that they are ready to dig anytime and are just waiting for us.
vi. Butakanira was last in Namalemba sub-county for sanitation in JIDDECO villages. So this new well should help them keep clean… They knew this and when I mentioned it, I think it added to their fervor to do something about it. I think I might of hit a soft spot with that one.
vii. I hope to go there with Herbert tomorrow to identify a site so they can begin to mobilize the materials.

4. I was hoping to do 5 wells before Christmas. Depending on how long building and/or collecting materials goes, I thought it would not be possible also considering what I have heard about the month of December in Uganda. But, Herbert told me that in the village, December is very busy as everyone is looking for money to buy meat, presents, etc. He thinks we will even be able to build in December, so we'll see.
5. Water test planning for the wells. Herbert is telling me that the reagents are a lot more expensive and when bought, can test up to 50 wells. He said the District has the testing kits, which we could use. The reagents also have to be used in a certain time frame or they will go bad. Herbert was talking about testing the previous wells during the rainy season to monitor the effects of the influx of water. He mentioned that when the district carries out its tests, he would let us know. This might be a chance to avoid paying for reagents we won't use and wasting money.
6. Parts. Herbert told me that the next time the District can even consider helping us with parts will be in December, contrary to October, which is what he said when Ben was here. Henry made the suggestion of getting their commitment in writing so they have more incentive to include it in their fiscal plans. This is something I can talk to Herbert more about. Herbert also tells me that the parts are only set to get more expensive. He told me that new boreholes are moving towards PVC, so the metallic parts will eventually become fewer in stock, especially the pipes and cylinder, becoming more expensive.

Monday, October 15, 2007

10/07 Part 2: Scholarships, Fruit Drying, Wells

Orphan Scholarships:

1. I met with Richard today. He is finalizing the scholarship students report, but couldn't show me because the power was out. I plan on going back tomorrow.
2. Richard is planning 2 meetings for this month (the timing was suggested by the schools as November is very busy for exams), one for the rural villages and one meeting for the schools closer to town. I am really excited to attend these meetings and look forward to interacting with more of the students.

Click to watch video of Matt interviewing one of our scholarship students, Mercy:


1. Henry and I have both been re-emphasizing that the funding is not currently there. Henry proposed that we encourage the farmers to invest in the planting at whatever capacity they are comfortable with now, then, when funding may come through, we move around and observe the farmers that took the initiative to start on their own, giving them the highest priority for any assistance . This will more than likely reduce the number of initial farmers assisted to below 15 as I don't expect all 15 farmers to start on their own.
2. As far as implementing any future funding, there are several options we could pursue as I've mentioned before…from partial cost sharing with farmers for sucker to full assistance using the loan in-kind scheme. In whatever capacity UVP decides to move with this project, whether it be not at all, on a very small scale, or on a larger scale, I think the basic ground work has been set, even for very small operations. Henry has repeatedly told me that the coordinator wants to encourage fruit growing in their programs now. As far as when this will become a solid part of their programs, I have no idea, but it doesn't look like its going to happen anytime soon.
3. I hope to pressure Henry to schedule a meeting with THE COORDINATOR to visit the Soleil factory. I think it would be great to at least work on building that partnership while taking advantage of the few suckers Soleil produces each week, which would be solely handled by JIDDECO and the farmers who want to start on a small scale. After we get the coordinator caught up, we can begin serious talks with Africa 2000 for the pre and post-harvesting trainings, which, aside maybe from transport, should be done at no cost to JD, farmers, or UVP. Also, suckers can sit in a pile for weeks without being planted. I was told that a farmer would really have to struggle to plant 1,000 suckers in a week, let alone 10,000.
The farmers know our position on the project and the sub-county contact persons are supportive, so however we decide to handle this, they will move ahead on the project as much as they can.

Shallow Wells:

1. Idinda is READY! The sub-county contact person, who I've been communicating through on this project as no one on the Water User Committee has a phone, suggested waiting until next week to start as everyone has been really busy with the evaluation. I'm thinking Tuesday I could bring the mason to the community.
2. Kigulamo…yes that is the name of the area for this other well. I misunderstood the naming. Here is how it works. Kigulamo is the name of the village, which is really large. So, there is Kigulamo North and Kigulamo South. The well be in Kigulamo South, which is more specifically known as Kidozi…hence the Kigulamokidozi name I thought I was hearing. Sorry to those who grew to like the really long name. The well is going to be in KIDOZI of Kigulamo. On Weds., I went with Herbert to spot the well. There was an impressive turn out. I got a picture of all those present at the proposed site. I hope to send it off with the others.
3. Banuli called me today to inform me that he was with the community members digging up the sand needed for the well as he spoke. These people are SERIOUS. Banuli told me that in just a few days the materials would be mobilized. I told him that it is great the community is mobilizing the materials so quickly, but we would still have to wait for Idinda to finish their well. He sounded like he already clearly understood this. I think he is just making sure I know the community is serious by getting things done so quickly. Banuli is highly respected in his area. I figured out his position a little better. He is the speaker at the sub-county for the LC3 and is specifically assigned to this area of the sub-county as the counselor.
4. I think Kidozi might be in a position to be considered for a second well down the line based on the social map they had and the distances they indicated.
5. I spoke with Banuli some more about using his help and setting up a structure to identify villages in need of clean water sources, especially when we run out of JIDDECO villages. He seemed really excited to help in whatever way he could. Herbert had mentioned that villages submitted applications at the district level, so I told Banuli a good start would be for to communities to write a proposal, indicating the name of the village, the number of households, other sources of water in the village and how accessible they are, and the farthest distance a family in the village is walking to get clean water.

New Peace Corps Volunteer:

(Uganda Village Project helped our partner JIDDECO apply for a Peace Corps Volunteer. This volunteer will spend a portion of her time working for JIDDECO, and a portion of her time working with Matt on Uganda Village Project programs! We are very excited for her to begin helping with the work that Matt is doing)

1. JIDDECO's new Peace Corps volunteer has come to Iganga for a "future site visit." Her name is Amy.
2. She'll be here until Saturday. Then she will go back for two more weeks of training before moving back to Iganga for two years.
3. Henry has been having her attend nutrition sensitizations. These are all in Lusoga, so they've been quite boring for her. I told Henry this. He is going to give her some literature about JD and then hopefully sit down with her to have a serious talk about what she can do and the opportunities there are with JD aside from sitting in on sensitizations.

New Crib:

1. I'm slowly by slowly moving into the new place. I've got two rooms with electricity. I'll probably be eating the food the family here prepares, which is okay.
2. Looks like I'm going to have to pay for water. 100/= a jerrycan. 50/= for using the well and 50/= for the labour. It takes me a week, give or take a day or two, to finish the water in the metallic tank (20l). Then with bathing and the occasional tank cleaning and floor mopping, I don't think it will be a huge expense by any means.

Choose A Need Library
(Matt visited a law library that ChooseANeed helped to fund in Kampala to take some video interviews)

The library CAN helped was really welcoming. It offered a relatively quiet place to read for law students in a busy part of the city near Makerere. They gave some good interviews, although there was quite a bit of background noise…sorry. I tried to increase the volume as much as possible in Movie Maker. Power has been inconsistent here, but I will load the videos as soon as possible.

First October Update: Desks and Goats

Desks for Schools:

I have given WAACHA a 50% deposit on the 18 desks. They were purchasing wood yesterday in town. According to Hannah, some desks will already be nearly complete (apparently they have over ten students working on them).


1. The Memorandum of Understanding was finally signed!!
2. We delivered the 12 goats to the CRPs on Saturday. I went back the next day with Basil so that he could demonstrate the proper application of the medications the widows can do themselves. I also read the MOU to the groups and Basil translated for both villages to ensure they didn't get two different versions.
3. The widows who were ready all signed with a fingerprint…even the ones who signed in on the attendance sheet with their full name. Maybe fingerprints have more weight in the villages?

The goats were given antibiotics during the delivery to prevent illnesses due to the stress of being moved.

I purchased the first round of routine meds for each village

- Acarcide spray
- Deworm tabs
- Antibiotics
- Spray Pump
- Trypanosomiasis (Tsetse Flies): Purchased 2 Samorin sachets
- Syringes: In each village, because of the way some of the meds are packaged and/or solutions shared, they decided to choose a widow to hold the meds, syringes, etc. Then the others will go to her to retrieve meds to treat their goats. I didn't want to leave them with the CRPs to avoid having them be pressured by other community members to use the meds on other animals. I made it clear that the meds are strictly for the widows' goats.

So I showed up in Bugole to find an oddly comprehensive representation of the community. Many men were present, some members of the local council or various committees. I found all of the widows present. The orphan family was not present. They went to look for the caretaker, but said she went for water.

Only 3 widows were 100% done with their sanitation requirements. All of the widows present, regardless if they were getting their goat that day, participated in Basil's demonstrations. I will send pictures to supplement the videos as soon as I can.
Then, we read the MOU, which took a lot longer than expected. When it came time to discuss how the widows would like to distribute the goats (secret ballot, random selection), the men present had a frustratingly large amount of input. Some of these guys were really getting into the debate as if they were going to receive a goat. The widows mostly kept quiet. They decided that the goat that gave birth would be reserved for the orphan family, despite their absence. Then they decided to number the remaining goats and have the three ready widows select a number randomly.

I insisted that Kapere hold the other goats until the widows are ready. As they finish, I will return to sign the MOUs and then release the goats. I think the widows who weren't ready will hurry now that they see the others with goats. I called him today and he said all but one widow is finished. This meeting took about 2.5 hours. I naively thought it would take one once everything started.


5 of the 6 widows were ready. The one who wasn't ready, just needed a tip-tap, but I put my foot down and insisted that Musai John hold the goat.

The meeting consisted of the entire widow recipient group, Musai John, Basil, and me…that was it. No politicians. The widows were noticeably more participatory and welcoming. Basil even noted that he felt these widows were picking the information much faster, possibly because of no distractions, i.e. big men. Basil is very skeptical towards local politicians as it used to interfere with the effectiveness of his Heifer work before Heifer fixed the problem by requiring surveys to be done and forms to be filled instead of relying on local politicians to identify needy families. The politicians would often choose their own families even though they are not in the most need.

The widows also chose to number the goats and select randomly to avoid any conflict. I mentioned both options to both villages and, specifically for Kiwanyi, referred back to Bugole and how they identified a recipient in particular need and set aside a more valuable goat for them. No one in Kiwanyi seemed to protest the random selection and all of the widows were visibly overjoyed to finally receive their goats. Many finger waves and "ay yeh yeh yeh yeh yeee's!" Where as the Bugole widows were more passive and insisted on throwing out loads of "neyaanzizas," although I got a few from Kiwanyi, I got the vibe that the Kiwanyi widows truly felt like they EARNED their goats a lot more than those of Bugole. I thanked both groups in the same way, emphasizing that we are not just handing out goats, but they worked very hard to earn the goats. When I went on that first house-to-house inspection, they were far behind Bugole with one widow not having a single complete requirement. I was told that the widows came together to help her complete everything, an impressive team effort.


1. Okay…after all of this, they are deporting me.
2. Actually, after spending an entire afternoon at the office (the in-charge of NGOs didn't show up until 1), frantically running back and forth between the photocopier they conveniently have for people to use, at a fee of course, and buying airtime on the street to call SPW for their NGO specific information, I managed to submit my files. The NGO lady told me last time I was there that I needed a photocopy of my police clearance letter from home. So, I got one from SPW, but when I showed up on Monday, she asked for the ORIGINAL for her own accountability in case I forged it! She had me go up to immigration to ask for it because SPW said that they should have it on file from my previous immigration stuff that they worked out. SPW never got us work permits, but instead a special pass and then later an extension. When I went to the immigration window, I was told that no files are ever opened on special passes (do they throw everything out after granting special passes??? No idea!). So, on my fifth walk back to the NGO lady, I told her the news. Then, without a fuss or anything as little as a grunt of disapproval or disbelief, she did a complete 180 to finish off the 360 and consented to accepting the photocopy!
3. So, I was able to submit everything after she made a note on the folder that said my NGO papers are in order. The lady behind the window, the very one who initially sent me to the NGO office, really seemed unhappy to finally accept the folder…as if she thought I would die waiting for the NGO lady's approval. I have to go back in 7 working days to check on the special pass and then from there wait to hear on the work permit….that is my understanding of it anyways.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Uganda Village Project on YouTube

We will be posting videos of our various activities on our new YouTube account! There are already several videos posted, so please do check them out! You can either subscribe to the videos through YouTube or check in with the UVP blog every once in a while...or both!

Click on the video playing a couple of times to open up a seperate window for a larger picture and description.

Friday, September 28, 2007

ChooseANeed Scholarship Recipient

An update from Matt as he visits Busalamu Secondary School to interview candidates for a full secondary school scholarship provided by our partners at ChooseANeed. He interviewed 4 students who are all in Secondary 1, the Ugandan equivalent of 7th grade.

Sangala Faizo, UVP Scholarship recipient

"All four S1 candidates were present at Busalamu Secondary School. The deputy headmaster was very kind. She helped me find the four students and assemble them under a tree. There are no A Level schools very close. The closest one is Bukoyo Senior Secondary School Day and Boarding and it is still far enough away that the students would have to attend as boarders. This is the information I collected from each student:

Musenze Asuman

1. Favorite subjects: history, geography, chemistry
2. Hobbies: football (soccer)
3. Ranked 33rd out of 110 students in his class for the second term.
4. He intends to go to Bukoyo Senior Secondary School for his A Levels as a boarding student.
5. Hopes to attend university to become a doctor.
6. Both parents passed away when he was young.
7. Has 2 sisters, 1 brother. Asuman is the oldest. His younger siblings are all attending primary school.

Kyotalimye Sauti

1. Favorite subjects: history, chemistry
2. Hobbies: music
3. Ranked 8th out of 110 students last term.
4. Initially said she was planning to go to Wanyanga Girls in Jinja for her A Levels, but quickly changed to Bukoyo Senior Secondary after I mentioned we would like to see our students stay in the district. These students are only in S1, so a lot can change in the 4 years before they are ready to move on to A levels.
5. Hopes to attend university to study to become a caterer.
6. Lost her father, mother is still living
7. Has 3 sisters, 2 brothers. She is the eldest with her siblings in primary school

Nakawoma Moreen

1. Favorite subjects: history, math, netball
2. Hobbies: debating, netball
3. Ranked 6th out of 110 students last term.
4. Intends to study at Bukoyo Senior Secondary as a boarding student for her A Levels
5. Hopes to attend university to study to become a nurse
6. Both parents passed away. Stays with her Aunt.
7. Moreen is the youngest of 3 girls.
1. The first born is currently studying at Makerere. She is being sponsored by members of the family's clan.
2. The second born has already finished Teacher Training College and has a job.

Sangala Faizo

1. Favorite subjects: mathematics
2. Hobbies: debating, revising his books
3. Ranked 10th out of 110 students last term
4. Hopes to study at Iganga High School as a boarding student.
5. Hope to attend university to study to become a doctor.
6. Both parents passed away. Faizo is staying with his step-mother.
7. Faizo is the youngest with 4 brothers and 3 sisters. He is the only child in school and the only person in his family to study as high as secondary school.

I chose Faizo to be sponsored by ChooseAneed because I felt that he stood out in terms of the combination of his need and work ethic. He was very humble and visibly grateful for being sponsored. I didn't have to try to hard to get him to smile for the pictures either. The two girls ranked higher in class, but they seem to have a stronger support network, either through a living parent or through siblings that are currently attending school. Asuman did not rank as high and his siblings are all in school.

I think Faizo's performance in school is exceptional given his family situation. Clearly his older siblings have set a trend amongst themselves for dropping out, but Faizo is taking full advantage of the opportunities given to him through a sponsorship. He also stood out to me when he said that he enjoys revising his books.

I know that school attendance in Uganda is far from satisfactory. Many people do not attend for a large number of different reasons, but I haven't found myself significantly moved or touched by the problem as it has been difficult to put a story behind the faces of the out-of school youth that I pass by on a daily basis. In Nawansaso, the village I lived in, there was a very weak secondary school with drunkards as directors and administrators. The school barely held over 100 students. Of those, many did not seem to care if their teachers did not show up for class and seemed content with paying fees to lounge around in the grass all day, copying notes from each other (many times a teacher would come, write notes on the board, then leave). The somewhat more serious students made attempts to teach themselves. Some of the lucky brighter students managed to attend a better school for the second term, but for the most part, very little learning was going on. We found that the most serious students woke up very early to make the trek or bicycle ride 3 or 4 kilometers away to the nearest secondary school. This school wasn't very strong either, but it was relatively new and seemed more promising.

Faizo at school

Anyways, enough reminiscing, it was a breath of fresh air seeing some of the UVP scholarship recipients ranking amongst the top in their class in a strong and serious secondary school. Faizo is a kid who lost both of his parents, his older siblings have not been in school for years and he has managed to maintain an incredible will to work hard and value his education…working hard enough to rank 10 th in his class. Listening to the words, "I am the only one in my family to study at secondary" come out of his mouth hit me unexpectedly hard as thoughts of anyone in my family not attending high school, or any school for that matter, flashed through my mind before I almost immediately dismissed the thoughts as ridiculous. That unexpected intense moment forced me to put my life in perspective and made me realize how often I take not only my education, but also its quality, for granted. I thought that I had become desensitized to a lot of the scenes of poverty I see each day, but I found myself seeking refuge in my small notebook as I stared blankly down at the paper for a minute trying to collect my thoughts. "

Monday, September 24, 2007

Late September Update, Part 2

Shallow Wells:

1. Last Saturday I went to Idinda with Herbert to choose a site for the well. We selected a site with the community leaders based on their social map and walking around to two of the proposed seven sites. Herbert told them the specific amounts of locally available materials they will need and told them to mobilize the materials at the site.

# Yesterday I went to Kigulamomukidozi with Banuli. Banuli told me about this village as we were moving around to see the goat sheds the previous week. Apparently they have done a community-wide baseline survey and identified lack of pit-latrines and safe water as their primary needs. They are addressing the pit-latrines, but need help with the safe water. Banuli told me Ben has spoken with this village about WaterGuard and possibly other topics before. I'm not sure if Banuli told the community members to come at 1:00, but I showed up at 2:00 to a waiting crowd of at least 100 people. In the ten minutes of introductory speeches, at least another twenty showed up.

1. Kigulamomukidozi, aside from having a difficult name, also has a difficult water situation. The village is relatively large in area, bordering the Busalmu Trading Center. The community members estimated that the village is around 4 km2 with around 300 households.
2. The village has only one borehole. The borehole is located at an extreme end of the village, which, according to the social map they have already made, doesn't even contain a lot of households. When asked why the borehole was placed there, I was told there used to be a church there.
3. Kigulamomukidozi has no open wells or protected springs. Because people have to walk so far to access the only borehole, most resort to taking water from open streams or dirty water sources.
4. These people are SERIOUS. They asked me several times if they hurried, to mobilize the materials, could we work with them before Idinda. I told them we already made a commitment to Idinda, but the reason for such an early meeting is to prepare them so that as soon as Idinda finishes, we can start their well. I hope to go back next Saturday with Herbet to select a site so they can also begin mobilizing materials.
5. Heavy rains interrupted the meeting, but people crammed into the host's house and waited for the torrential rains to subside to elect the Water User Committee. None of the elected members have phones, but Banuli is more than willing to help with the project, so I will work through him.
6. I'm really impressed by Banuli. He is very respected in the community, but he is not really that well off. He lives in one or two rooms at the Busalmu Trading Center. Banuli truly seems like a people's person. He told me he has been elected to his local government position, I think the counselor, uncontested four times straight. He even continued to hand out the scholastic materials Dave brought over as we were leaving. I told him that as we run out of JIDDECO villages for shallow wells, we could use his help in identifying new villages lacking safe water that will be willing to dig, especially if they are as responsive as Kigulamomukidozi.

Pineapples/Fruit Drying

Click here to read the Wikipedia article on Pineapples!

The exposure visit to the fruit-drying project, Patience Pays, in Kayunga went really well. I'll attach what was actually spent on the trip. Miti from the Jinja office came and took loads of video and pictures. I also took some pictures, which I'll send as well. Everyone seemed really interested in the project. Margaret gave a really good speech about being tired of false promises. She urged all members to commit to improving their livelihoods and take advantage of the resources JIDDECO and UVP are providing. Before we left, Miti walked them through establishing a work plan, which involves them going home and sharing the information they learned as well as preparing their land.

The farmers weren't able to see the drying in action. Charles and Jane are expanding their project. They are giving dryers to pineapple farmers under an agreement that the dried fruit produced will be sold to Patience Pays for 3,000/kilo. Then Charles and Jane take it to Jinja and sell at 5,000/kilo.

Matt with a baby pineapple

# Charles is willing to help us find the 150,000 suckers we are proposing to start with. I told him to wait as I wanted to hear from Soleil first. He asked for a 20,000/= per day allowance for his expertise in selecting suckers, which is reasonable. His transport will be covered as he will just move with the vehicle that is hired. He warned against just using the farmers to select the suckers as they may pick their worst ones and keep the best suckers.
# Charles told me that the cheapest suckers go is 20/= and the most expensive ones are 35/=. I revised the cost-benefit analysis for 35/= a sucker just to be safe.

Late September Update

- School Desks Project

I went to WAACHA and spoke with Faruk. The carpentry instructor did not honor the appointment, but Faruk assured me he would take of everything. I gave him pictures of the different styles of desks and asked him to give me an estimate for transporting the desks once complete. I'm waiting to hear from them on the quote.

(Desks at Goodheart Secondary School, a UVP Scholarship partner school)

Goats for Widows Project


1. I have sent the revised Memorandum Of Understanding to THE COORDINATOR (I love how everyone refers to him with his title instead of Mr. Bateeze or something. I feel like we're speaking about a character in the Matrix)
2. Once he okays the new MOU, we can organize for the goat delivery. I'm pretty sure all of the widows are ready, but will confirm before we set a day.


1. Last weekend I moved with Banuli to the four widows' homes. Only one goat shed is complete. Each widow apparently raised 10,000/= to have a man with experience build the sheds. He was away during our visits, but Banuli told me that they would be finished in one week. I saw him yesterday to do a shallow well introduction and he told me that the sheds still need work. He was actually helping them build the sheds and had his finger hit by a hammer. He's got the swollen finger to prove it.
2. I met with Samuel over the Memorandum of Understanding. He reconfirmed that MURUDA can and will meet the commitments stated. He had no qualms with the MOU, so we signed. I also gave him a copy of the goat husbandry training agenda that Margaret came up with for JIDDECO.


1. I can't wait for time when I don't have to talk about this any longer. I showed up at immigration to find the lady in charge of NGOs out for burial. This time I got her phone number, so I will call before I leave to save time and money. I did find out that there is a restaurant in side of immigration. As I was waiting for her, before anyone thought to tell me that she wasn't around, I thought I would have to go into town, eat, and come back. I think this eatery is the best thing the immigration office has going for it. It is the only thing there that saves time and money.

Orphan Scholarships:

1. I met Richard on the 21st. He told me everything will be okay and that they would start paying fees that very day.
2. I got two receipts. One for the monitoring stipend and one for the school fees. I also bought a small blank receipt book for their use when official receipts are not available, i.e. for transport associated with monitoring.
# As far as the other missing students go, Richard says nothing can be done unless they report to ACCOD. For the ones they knew the whereabouts of, they have visited several times without luck. I told him again that this term we are looking for 100% retention, so no more missing students and no new students, and also stressed 100% accountability. Richard agreed. He also assured me that no money will be given directly to students or parents.
# Since I was going to WAACHA to discuss the CAN desks, I told Richard I would handle those school fees.
# At WAACHA, since Noah wasn't around, but I told Faruk to pass on the message of trying to retain students. I told him that if a student disappears before completing his/her course, that slot will not be filled. As students complete their courses, UVP will may or may not consider adding students given the short course durations of 2 years. Faruk supports the policy and agreed to pass on the message. I also requested that, at the end of the third term, they compile an updated list of students and their status in their course and which ones have completed successfully.
# WAACHA tuition is 43,000, so Faruk agreed to work with Hannah the Peace Corps volunteer to see what the balance of 4,000 per student can best be used for.

At the WAACHA office

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fruit Drying Notes

Fruits of the Nile
Henry and I were given a tour. The man taking us around told us that the pack house is producing about one container a month for export, but the people from the UK could be taking four containers a month, However, when we returned to John, the manager's office he seemed keen on hiding the fact that they are not even close to meeting the demand. He told me that he doesn't want to increase the number of suppliers to the factory because he needs to keep the balance of supply and demand in check.

Training has been done for free, but John said if they are not well off, it can be between $100-$150…I thought I heard him wrong and asked if he meant thousands of shillings, but he said dollars. He made this sound REALLY flexible…from free to astronomically expensive.

# FOTN works through "Primary Producers," who may have a group of surrounding farmers feeding their product through them. According to the study on Successful Supply Chains I sent out, and somewhat confirmed by John, FOTN has not had the best luck working with groups, which is why they focus on their primary producers. FOTN has about 200 primary producers and according to their "trickle down effect" estimates, FOTN is improving the lives of over 10,000 people……
# To become a primary producer, one must apply, specify the number and size of gardens they intend to acquire pineapple and pass standard hygiene requirements. They also prefer primary producers to be near sources of clean water.
# John said that he felt between 6 and 10 dryers would significantly impact a family of five, however, I'm not sure why the number is so high. The more dryers one starts with, the higher the start-up costs. Despite the higher outputs, most farmers don't have very profitable first or second seasons.
# Training covers: "solar fruit drying and how it works, cleanliness and sanitation, personal hygiene, food hygiene, food safety, food handling, practical solar fruit processing, procurement of quality fruits, acceptable transportation, washing, slicing, clean storage environment, food grade packaging, waste management, business records, repairs and maintenance." More on training is outlined in the cost-benefit analysis.
# They keep files on their primary producers containing their training history, conditions of sites, etc. They will make notes in a file when they do site visits, making suggestions on improvements ( i.e. maybe a dryer is too close to the latrine), and then will update the file to see whether the farmer makes the improvements.
# Seasons are unpredictable depending on the rains

Saturday, September 15, 2007

UVP Wins a Google Grant!

You can now look forward to seeing UVP pop up in your searches and your Gmail account ads... we have been awarded a Google Grant for $10,000 per month worth of free Google AdWords advertising.

Google has assigned an AdWords representative to design the campaign and optimize it for us. Thanks to Google for this fabulous opportunity to get the word out about Uganda Village Project and its programs! As a small nonprofit this is an exciting advancement for us, since our all-volunteer staff devotes most of its time towards program administration issues and has little time left for public relations and advertising.

We hope that this grant will help bring like-minded individuals to our website to learn more about our programs in community health and development, and hopefully to get involved with our organization.

More September Updates

More news from Matt, our new program manager/intern, who has spent part of the month visiting and checking up on wells built by UVP.

He also did some research into fruit drying as a potential income generator for rural farmers.

Margaret was in Kiwanyi and Bugole for a different JIDDECO program and enthusiastically told me that most of the widows have completed the requirements, including the one in Kiwanyi that I mentioned who barely had any of the requirements met. She told me that the others came together to help.

The Kimanto well pump had been fixed by the community through the sub-county pump mechanic that the district trains. However, the cement that was cracking slightly when Ben and I visited had worsened. The community tried to build up the cement around the crack and pipe out of the ground, but that only caused more problems. The whole fixture was easily shifted, but was still pumping water. Herbert gave pretty detailed instructions on how to fix the problem to the LC1 and the woman who stays in the nearby home so they wouldn't have to pay for further repairs. Herbert promises to check up on them to make sure it was done properly.

Herbert assured me the other well is okay. He said that the water may change color and smell after heavy rains, but that has to do with the nature of the area's sandy soil. There is nothing that can be done. They must wait for it to clear up for some time after the rains. He said that the water coming out of the sides is caused when there is too much water in the well, which may cause some wear and tear on the parts, but again there is nothing really that can be done. He did say that it is a good indicator that the well should never dry up.

- Visited the Fruits of the Nile factory with Henry and got loads of information and tasty samples.
- Before I type up the lengthy notes from the visit and from speaking with David, I want to continue doing my preliminary research and lay out all of the options in one big report and then move on any questions or further research that may need to be done. This week I'm going to focus on the C-B of getting suckers for the initial planting and a basic C-B of the long-term plan involving support with solar-drying. I was able to get a cost break down on one dryer, which I will include in the report which I hope to send out late this week."

Visiting the fruit drying facilities

Tour of a gas dryer

Meeting with the Widows

From Matt, our new program manager/intern:
Spent most of the day in Kiwanyi with Margaret and Bugole with Kapere inspecting each widow's home. Kiwanyi had incomplete goat sheds and was missing some of the other sanitation requirements. One widow expressed concern that she may not have enough land to accommodate a larger future flock of goats in terms of the grass and legumes. Bugole was a bit better off. All but one goat shed was complete. Hower, Bugole did not have a single tip-tap built aside from a missing requirement here and there, which I found to be strange given that tip-taps are the easiest requirement to meet.

Spent the morning moving to the goat rearing trainings, first to Kiwanyi with Margaret, Monic, and Mr. Mulia. I believe four of the six goat recipients were present at the training, however I will confirm when I get the attendance sheets on Monday. I will also forward the agenda of the trainings next week too. I gave a short speech about how they have done great, but are only lacking the simple sanitation requirements like tip-taps and plate stands and that they shouldn't let those easy requirements keep them from getting their goats when we deliver. Then I observed Monic conduct her first day of training. I didn't understand a word, but the women that were present (not all participants were widows) were very active and curious.

I moved with Basil to see all of the goats we will be buying. He also took me to a man's home who has been involed with Heifer Int. since 1998. The man has educated three of his kids and one is now a police officer. I was really impressed by Basil and the operation. I also got some free goat's milk, which I later shared with Henry's family. It tastes just like cow's milk, but is supposed to have a lot more nutrition. All of the goats the Basil has identified look good as far as I can tell. He told me that standard retail price is around 350,000, but when Heifer buys, it is subsidized down to 200,000. Some goats have just conceived and one is ready to pop any day now. He told me even these goats will be kept within the budget range. Basil is giving us a great deal, I think we should be pretty grateful. He told me usually when other NGOs come to Heifer for goats, they charge between 350,000 and 500,000 depending on the goat, but he likes our widow project and has spoken to his farmers as if it's Heifer buying and they should all be kept within budget. Henry was very excited about the prospect of buying goats that have recently conceived. I think it's a great idea and will speed things along for some of the widows. I proposed giving the one that is ready to conceive soon to the neediest widow and the other pregnant goats to the other more needy widows to give them a head start."

New Program Manager - Meet Matt

Uganda Village Project has a new intern - Matt Putkoski, who took over for the fabulous Ben Krause in August. These updates will help give an idea of what Matt does as the program manager for UVP on a daily basis... he is an integral part of our programs in Uganda, we could not run year-round without him.

Matt is currently applying for college from Uganda after taking two years off to live and work in East Africa. He originally came to Uganda as a volunteer with Students' Partnership Worldwide (SPW), and worked in Jinja with a team of Ugandan and American students on community education and income generation programs. He fell in love with Uganda and was looking for a position so that he could stay and continue community development work. Through Idealist, we connected with Matt, and are extremely excited to have him as our program manager until summer 2008. The beauty of the internet is that a small nonprofit was able to find a qualified and enthusiastic intern already living in rural Uganda - thanks to, which we would recommend to anyone for connecting with others who want to change the world.

Matt meeting with our group of widows in the UVP Goats for Widows program.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

UVP Makes It Official in Iganga

Update from Ben Krause, our hardworking program manager who is preparing to depart from Uganda after 8 months with us...

"We're an organization! As of the 6th August 2007, Uganda Village Project (UVP) is a "Registered Association with Community, Culture, Youth and Women in Development Sections of the Community Services Department" of Iganga District.

We've got an office! Henry (of JIDDECO) has agreed to rent space in this new office to us as well as have us continue to use the electronics.

We've got a sign! I kid you not, and it looks darn smooth! It cost 45,000/= and is double sided. We're working with JIDDECO to either 1) hang it on the bottom of the JIDDECO sign or 2) hang it in the court yard in the front of JIDDECO where you'll be walking into our new shared office space. The main sticking point is that apparently you have to pay money to the local government to put up a sign (and it's to the tune of 100,000+)."