Children at Bulindiguru campus.

Monitoring a village polling station

SanPads workshop during a Youth Caravan training.

IIBANDA LITERACY SCHOOLS

The Schools now have sixteen nursery teachers and seven teaching volunteers, six adult instructors, two night security men and a manage-ment team of four. The Hope Project provides the salaries and recently made a generous increase.  The generosity of our donors has meant that we were able to keep everyone on full pay when classes were closed.  They spent their time maintaining the buildings, tilling the Nutrition Demonstration gardens, installing playground equipment, and building new toilets.  Adult classes re-opened in autumn 2021, and children’s classes in January 2022.

In June 2021 we financed a two-day training for the staff.  The main topics were: Home-based Education (aims and methods);  Home-based Nutrition (health, diet and horticulture);  and Covid-19 (awareness and responses).   This was also an opportunity to strengthen teamwork and re-motivate them for their return to class teaching.  The training was run by Miriam Nyakake, who trains government teachers in good practice, and attended by our inspector and schools’ mentor, Bahati Muhesi.  The teachers enjoyed the day and expressed their gratitude.

RWENZORI PEACE BRIDGE OF RECONCILIATION:  

The 2021 presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.
The monitoring programme was led by RPBR’s new Executive director Noerine, with strong support from her predecessor Nelson Ndungo.  It had a number of components:

1.  Preparation of voter education materials.

2.  Training of the Peace Monitors to provide voter education and monitor the voting in their own areas. The Deputy District Registrar was involved in the initial training, which was followed by two co-ordination meetings.

3.  The Peace Monitors disseminated information, holding meetings in the villages to challenge misinformation put out by
the political parties and let people know their rights as electors.

4. This was supported by 17 Radio Talk Shows in which RPBR dealt with the procedure for registering as a voter, the conduct of polling stations, the roles of various officials and the police, the characteristics of free and fair elections, and common malpractices. Many people phoned into the broadcasts, often to express their appreciation.
5. Monitoring and observing polling stations on Election Days.  A number of flaws, incidents and cases of bribery were noted by our team, but not enough to bring the results into question.  RPBR staff and monitors were able to intervene in some cases to correct bad procedure or calm a conflict.

Outcome.   There were serious outbreaks of electoral violence in other Districts, often with the involvement of police and soldiers acting on the orders of the governing party.  The conduct of the elections attracted some international criticism.  But there were no such outbreaks in Kasese.  Rwenzori Peace Bridge of Reconciliation doesn’t claim the full credit for this, but we believe we made a significant contribution.

Youth work

RPBR has over thirty affiliated schools and youth clubs, whom they see as the peace-builders of the future. It is essential to keep good contact with them, visiting and providing peace training.  Otherwise they tend to disappear.  We funded a Peace Caravan—a conflict handling training programme which visited a number of centres.  We hope that this helps to revive this important part of their programme.

Reusable Sanitary Pads for women and girls.

The high price of commercial pads means that many girls drop out of school for part of each month, and women may be unable to work.  In January 2020, Julia Furminger and Judith Parkin on their second visit led a number of workshops to “train the trainers” in spreading knowledge of a simple and teachable design for washable pads.  Several hundred women and girls attended. We also produced manuals in the local language Lukhonzo and in KiSwahili.  Our hope was that the knowledge would continue to spread through the community without us.   

In 2021we gave grants to the Ibanda Literacy Schools and another centre where the trainings were held, to run workshops for women and girls who had not yet learned the skills. These were greatly appreciated.  We have further funds in hand to arrange a follow-up visit for Julia to Kasese District;  she has been invited to include Nairobi, Kenya, in this list and introduce the concept there.

OTHER PARTNERS

Since July 2020 we have also given financial help to two village peace organisations (members of RPBR and well-known to John Lampen personally) for building work, a new motorbike, and a loan repayment.  We have also sent monthly payments to an orphanage to provide fruit for the children’s diet.





The Hope Project works mostly with two partners in Kasese District, Uganda.  Rwenzori Peace Bridge of Reconciliation is a district-wide network of community and school organisations committed to peace.  Ibanda Literacy Schools is a group of six community schools and an Adult Education Centre in the Rwenzori mountains providing adult literacy and vocational training, and nursery education.  John was a founder-member of both organisations.   From time to time we also give to a few smaller organisations known to us personally.

FINANCE: Please note that the Hope Project no longer has its own bank account, and all money is handled by Stourbridge Quaker Meeting, which is a branch of Central England Area Quaker Meeting Charities, registered charity nº 224571.  If you would like to support the work of our partners please contact us at lampen@hopeproject.co.uk