This week at The Real Uganda

Wow Wow Wow, it’s been a crazy week here at The Real Uganda! Volunteers traveling, potential new donors visiting, new volunteer applications received, current programs receiving funds, and an emotional good-bye. I’m exhausted.

It started with a couple of current volunteers taking Walter’s Boda Boda Tour of Kampala – the only way to see this crazy city. I’ve written about it in the past here. They visited the Ghaddafi National Mosque, the B’hai Temple, down town Kampala, and all points in between. Check it out:

After their day in Kampala, they went on a 3 day wildlife safari to Murchison Falls National Park. Nice.

On Sunday we were host to Eliza and Dany from Kain Foundation of Australia. After Eliza’s first visit in March, Tony (of Hopeline Organization) and I were invited to submit proposals totaling up to $40,000 for community based development projects. You can read about Kain Foundation’s current projects here. Eliza and Dany are very enthusiastic about our ongoing programs in Buikwe District, and our new project proposals. They are set to present our materials to Kain’s Board in October. If all goes well, funding will start in July 2016 for the following 2 to 3 year projects:

Primary school in rural Uganda
Eliza and Tony discussing the future of Kkoba Parent’s Academy

1. Developing a farm and food trading business as a social enterprise, meant to fund the building and operation of a modern primary school near KKoba village. The only full primary school immediate to Kkoba village.

2. Holding 6 workshops for 150 youths, focused on staying healthy, making decisions for future success, and career planning. The most involved 73 youth will be granted apprenticeships and given inputs upon graduation that will enable them to create work, rather than look for it.

3. Chairing 24 weekly village meetings over a 6 month period that will address communication between adults, and adults and children, within the home. The inspiration for this project can be found here.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this potential future partnership. While The Real Uganda is indeed more focused on cultural exchange, we were last involved in a large project management role in 2012. (At that time we renovated two natural spring wells and built two water pumps, benefiting over 8,000 people in 4 communities.) We usually fund smaller initiatives like our hot lunch program or facilitate animal giveaways with training. Watch this space for future updates!

The Real Uganda received two new applications for potential volunteers for February 2016. Both are interested in working in public health and community outreach. I’m busily answering their questions and helping them get up to speed on how we run things out here. Currently, we have 1 new volunteer joining us in September, 5 in October, 1 in November, and 1 in December. If you know anyone interested in volunteering in Uganda – why not send them our way? A summary of our programs can be found here.

Next? We received funds to cover our hot lunch program at Nalusse Success Primary School for 2015’s final school term, starting September 6th. This came from GVN Foundation in New Zealand, our long time partner in funding!

fundraising ideas for volunteers
Winning team of the “Kick it for Uganda” fundraiser in Bonn

Not to be outdone, Jens, a former volunteer from September/October 2015, sent over $836 to start off the hot lunch program for 2016. This is 64% of what is needed to fund the entire 1st term! How did he do it? He organized a huge football and family day in Bonn, Germany. 20 local footie teams competed in a tournament for a cool trophy. There were food and drinks for spectators and a bouncy castle and face painting for kids. Jens says it was a successful fundraiser that he intends to make an annual event.

community football team in rural Uganda
Jens with the Hopeline young man’s group in Uganda

youth programs in UgandaWe’re also putting together an itinerary and budget for a group of GVN Youth Ambassadors, wishing to visit Uganda in July 2016. It will be a week of project visits and seminars designed to inspire learning, innovation, and action. Participants will leave Uganda as empowered and engaged global citizens. They will have learned the real situation on the ground, connected with local leaders, and learned the importance of supporting locally led initiatives. This is a program I wholeheartedly believe in. Instead of having kids sign up with a media company and compete in an empty challenge to raise awareness about a particular issue, these kids are joining an organization that has over a decade of experience in directly supporting programs around the world. Participants learn about, travel to, and engage with real people all over the world. How cool is this program?

And of course, there was today. Saying goodbye to Maureen. She’s the mum of a former volunteer and came to us all the way from Canada. She’s been a great vollie – with the expected highs and lows of a 1 month stay. Lots of fun and travel, working with tonnes of amazing people while getting used to pit toilets, tinged with a little homesickness. She worked with our partner in Lugazi doing daily outreach at village primary schools, women’s groups, and a clinic. Here she is in action:

Thanks for coming out Maureen. It was awesome to have you!

That’s it, our week. It was whirlwind, but fun. How did you spend yours?

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