A new well in Bukoma Village saves people five hours a day.

Getulidha Nabirye lives with her two grandsons in Bukoma Village. She recently donated some of her land to the community to make space for a new well, even though she would have less space for corn and sweet potatoes.


The reason she was willing to share her land with the community is simple: The nearest borehole was 1.5 miles away. Everyday she and her grandkids would walk to the well where she would would often wait three hours for her turn to get water. Sometimes she would not get a chance to pump and would have to return home and use water out of a nearby pond which caused diarrhea. When she did get water she would have to carry the 40 pound jerrycan 1.5 miles home. This daily journey took the entire day, and most of Getulidha’s energy, leaving little time to tend her garden, cook, take care of her grandkids, relax, or earn money.


Trading part of her garden for easy access to water was an easy choice. Getulidha even gave two hens to the drillers as a thank you gift!


The long term success of  the new well depends on the community’s commitment to take care of it. They have established a Water User Committee to save funds for future repairs and ensure the the well is used correctly. Getulidha has taken ownership of the well by making sure it stays clean, and if she sees anybody pumping in a way that will cause damage she teaches them the correct technique. Getulidha, the Water User Committee, and the rest of the people in Bukoma Village are committed to long lasting clean water. Getulidha Nabirye and her grandsons are  just happy that she can spend more time in her gardens, she has time to clean her home, and they have clean water to drink.


The Mvule Program helps Buwologoma Village start a business selling tree seedlings.

Kibo Group’s Mvule Program works with village communities establish groups of people who are working together to solve problems they face, and develop economic opportunity. One community we work with is Buwologoma Village which relies on growing sugarcane as its major industry. Sugarcane requires large clearcut fields, so there are few trees and little shade in the area.
The Mvule Program started working in Buwologoma Village in 2009 with a group of 45 people. After successfully completing the first phase of the project by planting 600 trees the group received 90 goats to use as start up capital for an economic development project. They spent the next few years adding members to the group, and increasing their capital by raising the goats and offspring.
IMG_20161208_103015In 2016 the group had 110 members all working together to save money and solve problems together. Abraham, who works for Kibo Group, visited the group and asked them what the next  project they hoped to undertake was. The chairman, Mr. Balamu Mukasa, said that they were taking all the knowledge they had gained during the Mvule Project and starting a tree nursery. There is still a great need for trees in the areas, in particular trees the produce fruit, so the group started a nursery with seedlings for passion fruit, mvule, cocoa, mangoes and orange trees. They were selling these seedlings to people in surrounding villages, and hoped to become Kibo Group’s seedling supplier someday. The district government and other NGO’s have noticed their work and have invested in the seedling nursery by helping drill a well that can be used to water the seedlings, and local government officials have offered their support of the group’s goals to restore the ecology of the district by planting trees.
Mr. Balamu and the rest of the group in Buwologoma Village have taken full advantage of the knowledge they gained from the Mvule Project by saving money together and establishing a business that generates income and helps solve the long term problem of deforestation the district faces.


Through CLTS Mr. Nakalya and his community are ending open defecation

Last June a health inspector told Tom, who works for Kibo Group, that Nabikenge Village had particularly poor hygiene and sanitation. Tom visited the village to begin the process of Community-Led Total Sanitation which aims to engage the community in improving their sanitation practices. On one of his first visits Tom met Mr. Nakalya Dan who is a father of five, and is disabled, using crutches to walk.
NakalyaWhen Tom first visited Mr. Nakalya’s home the sanitation practices were very poor. He did not have a dish rack, rubbish pit, or adequate shower area. Most importantly he did not have a latrine, in fact Tom stepped in feces behind his house on a tour. The poor conditions mean that the entire family and community were at risk for disease. Tom and Mr. Nakalya discussed the the dangers of open defecation, and he committed to coming up with a plan to dig a proper latrine.
Mr. Nakalya worked hard, and after a few weeks had dug a pit 20 feet deep, despite needing crutches to walk. With the  help of his wife he had built a ladder from bamboo which he used to dig the pit and he built a structure over the pit for privacy and protection from the rain. His latrine and other facilities are some of the best in the village and he is an inspiration to the community. He’s thankful to Kibo Group for helping him see the need for proper sanitation, but he was the one who did the hard work. He is an inspiration to us as somebody who faced difficulty but still took advantage of an opportunity to improve his community.

Jane Wankuluna’s leadership helps build a strong community.

Jane Wankuluna is an entrepreneur and mother of seven children who lives in Ikumbya Village. When Harriet introduced the stove program to people in the village they elected Jane chairwoman of the group. Having a good leader is a key to the success of any development program, and Jane was reluctant to take the position. Eventually she accepted. This was an opportunity for personal development, as well as a chance to help her community.


Jane has been a strong leader for the group building stoves. These stoves have three main advantages over traditional cooking fires:

  1. Stoves are more efficient which means they use less wood and cook food faster. This leaves more time for other activities.
  2. Stoves vent smoke to the outside of the kitchen which prevents health and respiratory problems like pneumonia, cancer, pulmonary disease, and heart disease.
  3. Stoves have an enclosed flame, which is safer for cooks and children.

Jane Wankuluna with her new stove.


We asked Jane how having a stove has impacted here life. There are several areas she mentioned. First, she she said that the women in the village have worked together to build stoves for everyone using their own time, labor, and resources. This is a great achievement, and helps establish a strong healthy community.


Jane owns a restaurant near her home, and the new stove has allowed her to run the restaurant more effectively. She is able to use the stove to cook for the restaurant when needed, or even use it to cook for her customers while making food for her family at the same time! She also has to spend less time collecting firewood, and food is finished faster, so she is able to dedicate more time to her restaurant and family.


Jane has worked hard over the years to create opportunity for herself and her family. Having a fuel efficient stove helps her be even more effective as a business woman and mom. Her leadership allows other to take advantage of some of the same opportunities she has, and builds a strong, healthy, community.


Relief or Development?

reliefvsdevelopment_explinationRecently I pulled into my driveway in Tulsa, Oklahoma as huge flames started pouring out of the house two doors down from mine! The entire front of the duplex was on fire. My neighbors I and called 911 and made sure everybody was safe. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and a firefighter saved the family cat.

The people who lived in the house were in a crisis. It was 10:00 at night, they had nothing but the clothes they were wearing. They had no place to sleep and had just watched their house burn down. They had some pretty big immediate needs.

Before the fire was completely out a Red Cross van pulled up and a representative started talking to my neighbors. The representative made sure they had clothes and a place to stay for the next few days, helped them get in touch with family, and connected them with other resources. The Red Cross had a great system in place that helped at the moment of crisis in an effective way.

The work that the Red Cross did that night is called relief. Relief is giving immediate, temporary aid after a crisis. This crisis can impact a single family like a house fire, or be spread across an entire state, region or country like an earthquake or hurricane.
Relief can be contrasted with another way of helping people called development, which is an ongoing process in which people and communities work to improve their lives. Kibo Group is a development focused organization. The people we work with are in a long-term state of poverty. They have some immediate needs, but our focus is on helping them identify and mobilize the assets they have so that in the long-run the poverty they experience can be reduced.

Relief and development take very different skill. Relief requires bringing outside resources to bear quickly to solve an immediate problem and requires experience in efficiency, logistics, prioritization, and fundraising. Development requires people to work together to solve the problems they face in their own community. This takes a long-term commitment, patience, cultural awareness, and lots of listening.

Both relief and development are critical tools to helping people, but we often misapply them which leads to poor results. If an organization uses relief techniques when development is needed people become depended on that relief because the real issues that cause poverty in the first place never change. Providing relief when development is needed is a common mistake that every organization, even Kibo Group, falls into at times.

In the parable of the good Samaritan Jesus calls us to love our neighbor by telling a story of relief. In the story the Samaritan comes across a man who had been beaten by robbers, so he bandaged the man’s wounds and cared for him until he had recovered. We are called to help those in need, it is not optional! The challenge we must face is how to do that effectively, even if their need is not obvious or simple. At Kibo Group that means we start by listening and understanding the situation people find themselves in, then working with them to find the best solutions to the problems they face.

How can you use the idea of relief and development in your life? What people in your community need relief, and who needs to be part of a process of development?

Finding Solutions Together

Tom has been working in Nawandyo Village to teach about hygiene and sanitation. During the discussion an issue came up: Who is responsible for maintaining a clean home? Men or women?

There were lots of opinions, and Tom did not make suggestions or support one position. Instead he offered various scenarios for them to consider and asked questions about each. The men and women continued to discuss the issue and concluded that everybody has to contribute to a clean home and community. Men and women must all work together for a home to be clean and healthy.

We love seeing a community work though an issue and unite on a decision together without someone telling them what they should do.



Please consider supporting Kibo Group!

Thank you for considering giving to Kibo Group this year!

Every December as we look back on the year, we are grateful for your support of Kibo Group. We rely on the hard work and generosity of people in Uganda and the United States to make our work possible. We are thankful for your support.

This year, our board of directors spent a lot of time clarifying our mission statement. This is really important because we want you to know what your time, money and energy are supporting. Here is our new mission statement: Kibo Group is a faith-inspired nonprofit that partners with East Africans to pursue local solutions for poverty and injustice to help communities flourish.

Clean water, efficient stoves, healthy families, trusting relationships and working latrines are all important parts of a flourishing community. During the last fiscal year, we partnered with over 40 communities in Uganda to live out this mission. Here are a few highlights from the last year:


Our mission calls for local solutions, so we work hard to partner with the people we serve. We work with local Water Users Committees to repair wells using mostly local resources. Kibo Group does not pay for or build stoves, we teach the process. We have not built or paid for a single latrine, but people in 13 villages will soon benefit from ending open defecation in their village because of their own hard work.

In Kigalama Village, an elderly man was having trouble repairing his damaged house but was still living there even though it was unsafe. Abraham and Duncan had asked people in the village to plant trees together and collaborate on other projects that would improve lives. During a meeting, the group was reflecting on the parable of the Good Samaritan in which Jesus tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” As the group considered the lesson, they realized that they had a neighbor in need: the man living in an unsafe house. They agreed that if they were going to take the parable seriously, they should find a way to help their neighbor. So they made a plan, and the community is working together to make bricks to repair the house.


In the face of problems like water shortages, sickness, and lack of economic opportunity, fixing one man’s home is a small step that signifies a big shift in thinking. For communities to thrive and flourish, people must work together to solve big and small problems. Our work and mission is focused on partnering with people so they can learn to work together to create a flourishing community.


During this holiday season as you prepare for your end of year giving, please consider a donation to Kibo Group. The work of finding local solutions to problems faced in Uganda is a long-term project that takes long-term commitment from supporters like you. Thank you for considering a one-time gift to Kibo Group or becoming a monthly supporter. Just follow this link to donate:

Thank you for your support!

Fighting Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution is a major health problem in Uganda and much of the world. Smoke from cooking fires has a range of health effects such as child pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. World wide 3 billion people cook on open fires, so this is not a small problem!

Kibo Group partners with men and women in rural communities to build low cost, energy-efficient stoves that are safer, faster and use less wood than traditional stoves. This improves health and gives women more time in the day for other pursuits.


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Uganda has a Problem: DEFORESTATION

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Why are there 50,000 broken water wells in Africa?

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