By Leslie Stroud-Romero, Executive Director
2015 felt like a great year for Uganda Village Project. You can read more about it in a previous post from our Managing Director, Kelly Child, but we got the chance to do a large survey to determine the effectiveness of our work, we received a record amount of grant funds, and we started dreaming of the future.
The end of the year is always a good time for reflection, and with all the talk of resolutions, the beginning of the year seems like a great time to think about what’s ahead. We’ve done both over the past few months.
In October, our staff (with special guest Alison, in Uganda for the first time in six years!) met in Iganga to discuss programs, staffing, and other things we want to focus on in the next three years. In November, we did the same thing with the Board of Directors in Portland, Oregon. As we held both of these meetings, we reviewed what donors and partners have helped us to achieve in the past few years. Every year we become a stronger, more effective organization. That set us up to talk about how we want to continue that growth for the next several years. By combining staff and board feedback, we agreed to focus our efforts on:
- Increasing our income and diversifying our funding sources to be able to grow and reach even more people in the future
- Systematizing our monitoring and evaluation processes so that we can build on project strengths and adjust areas that aren’t as effective
- Getting UVP’s name out to new audiences to grow our donor and partner base
- Continually improving the internship program, especially by offering more options for long-term engagement with intern alumni and adding components to keep our internship a competitive program
- Reviewing our staff and office systems to make sure we have the support we need to run programs efficiently
- Using the large-scale survey to look at where we need to make program improvements and implementing new program areas as needed to offer villages comprehensive support to improve health
These six areas may sound overly administrative and full of nonprofit buzzwords, but at the core of each focus area is the idea that we want to give each community in Iganga the best chance at improving their own health. Increasing our revenue means we can add programs or increase the number of villages we serve each year. Focusing on monitoring and evaluation means we’ll be able to easily share our impact and ensure that each project provides the best outcome for the money spent. Expanding our name recognition means we can partner with other proven organizations or donors to become even more effective. Setting up a well-staffed office in Iganga with strong administrative systems will give each of our programs the support we need to make a difference.
Over the next few months, we’ll be creating action steps for each of these focus areas and they will guide us in our work for the next three years. We’re all excited for what’s in store for UVP. We’re even more excited for the donors and partners who have walked alongside us to help us make a difference in the lives of families and villages in Iganga. It’s a wonderful feeling to receive donations from people who have been faithfully giving for years, as well as welcome new people into the UVP family.
We’re not looking to make drastic changes over the next few years; we’re proud of our work and grateful for the people who have helped us change lives. We simply want to be as effective as possible, and we think focusing on these six areas will help us do that. As we move into 2016, thank you for the support you’ve given to UVP, and we look forward to the year ahead!