Friday, October 23, 2009

Micro-loans Programs

Micro-loans programs in developing countries are all the rage. 

Probably because they work. 

Let me introduce you to Caroline, a participant in our community centre's micro-loans program and the protagonist of one of our success stories.

Caroline lives in Kibaale town and is a single mother.  She has two children and cares for a child that has been orphaned and is of no relation to her.  Before Caroline joined a group of women and became a recipient of a micro-loan, she was unable to adequately provide for the basic needs of her family, nor send her children to school.

After forming a group with some other women in our community, Caroline received the first of five loans from our centre and began to grow a charcoal distribution business. 

Being a part of a group is a pre-requisite to receive one of our loans to encourage accountability and transparency and guarantee re-payment.  10% interest is charged on the micro-loans and the repayment term is 6 months, although grace is extended when a longer period of time is needed to repay the loan.  While this interest rate may be considered high compared to what is paid in developed countries, it is lower than what all other micro-finance and banking institutions charge in our area.  Loan recipients are encouraged to attend the seminars that our centre organizes that teach basic bookkeeping and business management skills.  Our micro-loans program is managed by Vincent, one of our former students, who is now an integral part of our staff and promising future leader in our centre. 

The subsequent loans Caroline received (the total we have loaned her is about $500) have enabled her to expand her inventory and stock on hand in her small store.

Caroline now has a successful business that earns more than double the average monthly income in our village. She has built herself a very nice home, is able to send both of her girls to boarding school (the goal of most parents in Uganda), has four storerooms in "town" FULL of charcoal as she has monopolized the charcoal market in Kibaale, and perhaps most importantly, in my opinion, has become a vibrant, confident, happy and empowered woman who is able to contribute positively in her community.

It is encouraging to see women (the predominant recipients of loans) making tangible differences in their family’s lives as they take advantage of our micro-loans program.  Stay tuned for more stories of success!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christmas GIFT List

The Kibaale Christmas Gift List is updated at, you can also check it out below!! 

If you don't have a sponsor child you can still give a special gift, and designate it "Where Most Needed". Our staff in our KCF (Kibaale Children's Fund) office will make sure that your gift goes to our neediest students. 

Please email Jenny Nel ( for more information!!

Gift Basket


Double Gift Basket


Bed Set (mattress, blanket, 2 sheets)


Water Collector






Primary shoes and clothes


Secondary shoes and clothes


2 Mosquito Nets




2000L Water Tank




Reusable Feminine Products


Secondary Textbooks


Antibiotics (for 10 children)


Housing (house, kitchen, latrine)




Monday, October 19, 2009


This week our Secondary 4 students have started writing their UNEB exams. That is the equivalent of provincial exams in Canada. Between now and the end of November they have an intense schedule of exam writing. 

Our Primary 7 students are also about to sit for their UNEB exam. Primary 7 students only have two chances to pass this exam.

Please pray for all our students who are busy finishing up their school year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sports Day

Another great event put on by our social committee in Kibaale!! 

Friday, October 16, 2009


One of the programs we are able to operate here at Kibaale Community Centre is SODIS.  We have been blessed to receive a generous donation from Compassion Canada in order to fund this program, and we are excited about the benefits it will reap in our centre community and the surrounding areas.

SODIS is a water disinfection method that uses solar; the rays from the sun.  Dirty water (from a lake, river, puddle, unclean borehole or well) is poured into a specific plastic water bottle, placed on a table made of corrugated metal, and left to soak up the sun’s rays until it is purified.  The water needs to stay on the table for about five hours in intense sunlight.

Yobu, a former student of ours and now an employee here (he was sponsored all the way through university and has a B.Sc.), does SODIS training in our schools as well as in the community.  At the community level, he first trains several leaders on the process and benefits of the program and then has them mobilize the community, distribute the equipment, and report any problems that may arise.  He also tests the water being purified (before and after) every two weeks to ensure that best practices are being employed.

There are several advantages of this program.  The initial cost for supplies is minimal, and as our centre can provide it, the equipment is free for those in our area.  As most people were boiling water (over a fire) before SODIS to try and purify it, they had to purchase firewood, charcoal, paraffin etc., which can be expensive.  And, of course, the health benefits of drinking and cooking with clean water as opposed to using dirty water, as many people still do, can literally save a person’s life.

The community that I visited with Yobu last week is SO thankful for the provision of the equipment to purify their water, and is already experiencing a decrease in water-borne diseases in their families.  I didn’t see one table that didn’t have at least several bottles of water on it.  We are looking forward to expanding the program into more villages in the New Year and seeing our community’s health improve as a result!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Computer Lab

In the summer we finished the construction of a new computer classroom in the secondary department. We've decided that before we offer computers as a class to our students we want our teaching staff to be capable on them first. 

Yesterday was our first day that we opened the "Staff Computer Lab". It was exciting for us to see all the staff's enthusiasm in wanting to learn how to use the computer. Some teacher's were making notices for their classes, or writing certificates and asking a lot of great questions.

Sean Davis has donated his afternoons to the lab to help the teacher's with questions they have.