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.