Last night the Internet was too slow to upload the blog. Then today, we were busy all day and did not have time to post this. We will write another one from today as well! Also, because we were in meetings all day we took no photos!
January 31st: We began the day with a meeting with the ACT Staff. The first topic on our agenda was talking with our staff about the learning that the ACT MI Board has done with our book studies. We have completed two books to educate us on appropriate and successful mission work. Sue talked about When Helping Hurts and Charity Detox and what we took away about the negative impact of aid to developing countries vs. focusing on self-development. The ACT MI board is committed to removing aid from our focus unless it is for an emergency and appropriate. Charity Detox talks about how “you cannot serve people out of poverty.” Robert Lupton goes on to explain about the focus of wealth creation instead. How do you build profit-making into the community to bring people out of poverty. Sue told the ACT Staff that the Team Leaders in Michigan were challenged to think of ways to make their programs self-sustainable that requires bringing revenue in to support the programs. The ACT MI is working on this. Sue then challenged the ACT Staff to brainstorm ways they could do this with their programs. Wowsa! It was a sight to hear and behold. They had a MULTITUDE of grand ideas. At the end of the discussion, they were chartered to go write proposals for these business endeavors. They seemed excited to do so. This provides great hope that our Ugandan partners will be able to become self-sustainable and not dependent upon their US partners for revenue forever. This is just huge!
We next discussed the new Program Budgets provided to the Ugandan staff. This is a new endeavor for them to annually work within a budget for their specific program. Again, this is a big step to self-sustainability – to know how they are spending and what is the targe
After lunch we reviewed the 2017 ACT Action Plan & Program Outcomes document. This is an annual plan and strategy for ACT US and UG. We collectively recited the ACT Mission and Vision and talked about our performance on these. Following the Vision we reviewed the Strategic Objectives for ACT. This is the higher view of our “roadmap” for program planning. Without completing our discussion on this due to additional meetings already scheduled, we committed to return to this discussion tomorrow afternoon at 2pm, after painting at the High School.
A meeting regarding Life Pathways. Sue, Generous, Maurice and Josiah met to review the program for the MukoHOPE Orphans whereby Maurice meets 7 times with the children during their tenure in the Orphan Program. Those intervals cover things like their initial welcome into the program as an Orphan, information regarding puberty, their time taking the Primary Leaving Exam and so forth until they are officially launched from the sponsorship program. She has documents that were created in partnership with our MukoHOPE staff and the MukoHOPE US Team. Maurice shares these documents when she meets with the kids. This has been very, very successfully thus far. It has begun to change the expectations the orphans have of their sponsors. They learn that they are required to work in partnership with their US sponsors for achieving success.
Our last meeting of the day, from 4:00-5:30 PM, was with Benson Ariimpa, our new HEAL Manager. Benson has completed Dialogues with 16 villages and follow-ups within his first 5 months. He is very dedicated and patient with us as we continue to find our way with this program. We are still eagerly seeking sponsors for the various 74 villages in Muko Sub County who will be involved in dialogues and action-planning to improve their health and community living. In the US we are recruiting Dr and Dental practices to sponsor this health promotion initiative. If anyone can refer someone they know to Sue Waechter, please do so. Currently, we have enough money in the program for one year!
During the day, the HANDS team also managed to prepare 55 mushroom gardens and move them into the incubation house. Young mushroom growers, in training, helped with todays activities.
Amazing success stories on all the ACT Programs accomplished in partnership between ACT US teams and our incredible ACT staff in Uganda. Thanks to all for making such a difference in so many lives in Muko Sub County!