Rob’s trip to Kampala
One of the things Workaid people do is visit our partners in Africa, and see the projects we support -there are often things better done face to face!
I visited Kampala in February 2017, mainly to try to persuade the Ugandan government to reinstate our tax-exempt status, which would materially reduce the cost of sending containers there. I met with the Speaker of the House and others in positions of influence – things look promising but we’re not there yet!
My visit also coincided with the arrival in customs of our container Hosea so I was able to watch the offloading and inspection process first hand which in turn has led to a couple of tweaks to our packing processes so that the customs clearance can go as smoothly as possible.
The most fulfilling part of the trip though was the project visits. These we do so that we can reassure ourselves and our donors that the projects we supply tools to are the right ones to support.
I met some really inspirational people – people with so much less than we have who happily give so much more. Mohammed was from the Bwaise slum and had had to leave school at 11, to carry water and garbage for others to raise money for his family. With some of the money he made he bought school equipment for other children so that they could carry on at school. Inspired by the difference he was making he set up a fantastic project with three friends from the slum. They now enrol 200 people a year in courses to learn the vocational skills they need to help themselves out of poverty, using the equipment we send them. It really is humbling and inspiring to see these projects in action and meet the people who make them happen!
Workaid volunteers have also been on trips to help train our beneficiaries how to make best use of the things we send, and to maintain them well so that they provide long-lasting support.