Values: Going Slow

Sometimes when faced with a problem or task there is a tendency to rush through it. We want to find the quickest way to get something done. Other times we may suffer from over analyzing. We spend so much time gathering information or trying to understand a situation that nothing ever changes. Kibo Group is not immune to these two extremes of rushing or over analyzing. If we can avoid the extremes and see value in going slow and working efficiently, great things happen.

So far in our series on things Kibo Group values we have talked about interfaith partners, celebration, and financial stewardship. This time we want to reflect a bit on going slow. It is easy to think that going slow is the same thing as inefficient, or even lazy. We want to avoid being lazy, but we don’t want to be so focused on doing a task efficiently that we find out our goal was wrong.

issue7_sidebar2Abraham Mulongo is in charge of the Mvule Project. This project uses planting trees and raising goats to help people learn to trust each other and work together. This means that conflict is an important part of the process. Conflict cannot be rushed. Abraham says that “going slow gives time for people to think, and it removes the blame.” If people just react they end up “saying you have done this so go away, or you have done that so I am done with you. But if we go slow when tackling problems it lets people understand first.” If somebody is kicked out of a group because of conflict then we have missed our goal. It may take weeks or even months, but if people take the time to understand each other and resolve their conflict they are taking steps toward a healthy community, which is much more important than how quickly trees are planted.

We want all of our projects to be effective and to use our resources efficiently. We also want our projects to truly help people by solving real underlying problems in ways that give people power and dignity. Perhaps Abraham puts it best: “If Jesus was here, what would we say or do? That takes some time to think about, how would Jesus respond to such situations. I want to respond as Jesus would.”

Taking our time to understand other people before responding to a situation or problem is good advice no matter what country you live in.

Project Update: Water Rehabilitation

issue7_sidebarThe Water Rehabilitation project works with government offices and communities to repair existing wells, and it is not hard to find work to do! In Busia District there are 36 boreholes that do not work. This is an overwhelming number. The local government has money and capacity to fix some, but not all, of the wells. Alex and Stephen recently had several meetings with the Water Engineer and other officials in the district to discuss how Kibo can help increase the number of working wells.

The meetings resulted in a partnership that lets Kibo Group focus on the lower cost repairs and the district focus on the more expensive repairs. Kibo will start on a list of 15 wells and the district will work in the remaining villages.

Water Rehabilitation staff will travel to each village and work with community leaders to come up with a plan for fixing the well. Typically this will mean establishing a Water User Committee to collect funds from people who use the well. These funds will be used to pay for a portion of the the repair.

As we work in these communities one of our goals will be to ensure the wells will not fall into disrepair again. Very few boreholes in this district were built with stainless steel pipes. Switching to stainless will be a key to long lasting water access. This will cost more, but is important for longevity. Along with the technical aspects we hope each village establishes a commitment to clean water. This usually means a trusted group of people who will take care of the well, collect money, and work with hand pump mechanics to repair worn parts.

Take Action

We added a section to our website called Take Action. We will keep this page updated with ways you can support Kibo Group. Check the page out on the website at Here are a few things you can do now:

Shop at

You can support Kibo by buying stuff. Just set up an Amazon Smile account using this link: The price you pay will not change, but Kibo will get a percentage of each purchase.

Listen to Music

Check out Four West on their Facbook page. If you buy a CD from them, Kibo gets a percentage of the sale price, and even better you get some great music.

Read a Book

Check out The Change Moment by Jerry Morgan. Jerry is a friend of Kibo and he donates a percentage of each book sale to Kibo. Find his blog at


If you would like to support Kibo financially just head over to

Tell A Friend

The more people that know about Kibo Group the better. Tell a friend about us!

Big Issues

Sometimes we notice an issue in the news or on social media that we think is interesting, or that people need to think about. We want to offer a few links that can give you a starting place for more research. Up this time: US Food Aid

The United States contributes more food to worldwide anti-hunger campaigns than any other country. There has been a rising debate the last several years about the efficiency of these programs and ways to reform them. If you are interested in how the United States distributes food around the world and possible reforms here are a few articles to check out:

We think there is real room to evaluate the effectiveness of any aid or development program. The debate over food aid reform is a great example of how the emotions, interests and motives around helping people are very complex for all of us.

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Kibo Group Reports for April and May

April is planting season so it was a particularly busy month for Mvule Project staff. They delivered seedlings to 24 villages for planting! Each of these communities are investing in their future and learning to work together to accomplish great things in their village. For a full report of Kibo Group activities in April just download the PDF for April.

During May the Water Rehabilitation staff solidified a partnership with Busia District. The district has 36 boreholes that need to be repaired, which is an overwhelming number. Kibo Group has agreed to work on a list of 15 specific boreholes so the district government can dedicate resources to the remaining 21. For details on Water Rehabilitation and other project activities in May download the PDF for May.

Sometimes the work we do in Uganda has results that are easy to see, like when a new well is drilled. But more often there are small conversations and events that lead to change. For example, recently Ida went to Kyani Village to resolve a conflict between two couples. A lady had left her current husband to go back to her first husband. This left her current husband bitter. They realized their mistakes and asked for forgiveness. It is hard to know what will happen in this situation, but it is a great example of the way Ida is part of people’s lives and is able to help people through hard situations. These small conversations add up, and over time there is change in a community.

Reflections from Rwanda

Recently students from the Pepperdine University East Africa Summer Program were in Jinja working with Kibo Group. As part of their time in East Africa they visited Rwanda along with Henry Oyier who is the Kibo Group Country Director in Uganda. Henry had a few reflections on his time in Rwanda we wanted to share. -Ben


Our week long trip to Rwanda ended on a very high note on safari and just a time to reflect a little bit on the week itself, and a trip as a whole for the students.

Today we have a “surprise” public holiday… Lenny and I didn’t know it was Martyrs’ Day, until last night, but I’m not complaining as I need to catch up with Kibo stuff from last week when I was in Rwanda.

While we honor the Martyrs who died in Uganda several years ago for the sake of Christ, we also had an opportunity last week to visit the Genocide Museum and two memorial sites (church buildings) in Kigali to see how evil our world can be sometime. I must say that the forgiveness that we saw on videos and from stories we heard about the victims were so powerful.

It was a very humbling experience for us, in fact I want to learn more about forgiveness, we watched a video of victims going back to the people who killed their family members, they listened to them narrate the whole ordeal, then they would later shake their hands and forgive them. If this is done genuinely, God is good, the power of forgiveness is unbelievable, I cannot even imagine being the victim.

While this is a very important part of the Rwandan history, I think the world can learn from it but not just stop at that.

We also saw a clean city, secure streets, high rise buildings, good infrastructure, street lights are actually working downtown (cars actually stop on the red light), Even boda boda drivers and the passenger put on helmets, Everyone talked of good security in their neighborhoods.

We attended a local church next to “Peace House” where 14 of us spent the nights, they sang hymns every evening that were very peaceful, we visited this place to find God’s peace at the end of the day of despair. There is still hope in the church in Rwanda. We also saw lots of big businesses premises in different corners of Kigali.

I think as much as Rwanda is being associated with the Genocide, the economic in the last 10 years is probably worth exploring in the future trips, I think most African countries if not most countries in the world can learn from Rwanda too in my opinion.

Pray for us here as we work sometimes with people who have experienced brokenness, that we can support one another, pray even for Kibo staff to be strong, God to guide us in everything we do.

We are thankful for you guys for all you do in the States side to tell stories of how our lives and the lives of people we work with are changing everyday, we are also thankful as you tirelessly give funds for Kibo to continue serving the people here in Uganda. We are blessed to be part of their stories.

Peace and Joy!

Have a good week, see some safari pictures below.








Why We Celebrate and Upcoming Events

We think that celebrations are really important, so many of our projects end with a celebration. An entire community gathers together to reflect on the hard work that has been done planting trees, building latrines and planning for the future. There are songs, speeches, skits, food, a band and a lot of dancing! If you have never been to a celebration in Uganda check out this video of a celebration in Bubugo Village:

We have lots of reasons to celebrate! Twenty years ago a group of missionaries moved to Jinja, Uganda and started meeting many of the people who make up Kibo’s staff today. Ten years later they founded Kibo Group. We are pretty excited to get to celebrate 10 years of working in Uganda as Kibo Group.

Abraham and Ida, who are both part of Kibo’s staff in Uganda have been traveling around the United States and the work they do is worth celebrating! Ida manages our Women’s Empowerment Program and Abraham coordinates The Mvule Project.

With so much to celebrate we decided to have our first ever Partnership Dinner in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sharing a meal with 200 of Kibo’s supporters and hearing Ida tell about the work she does was a true party, we even ended with dancing! We could not find a Ugandan band to come play for us, but Got It Covered did a great job filling in.


You may be wondering why we have dedicated an entire newsletter to talking about recent celebrations. There is a simple reason really: it’s hard to celebrate alone. The work that we do in Uganda is about people who live in a village in Uganda, Kibo staff, and Kibo supporters (that’s you!) all coming together to accomplish something that none of us can do on our own. And sometimes its good to pause and say thank you to everybody who is part of this adventure. Even if you did not make it to the dinner in Tulsa we want to say thanks for being a part of Kibo and making the work we do possible. So…Thank You for being part of Kibo!

We have to give a really big thank you to all the organizations that sponsored the Partnership Dinner: Strength of Mind Behavioral Health, Air Hygiene, Tulsa Christian Foundation, Continuous Improvement Solutions, Memorial Drive Church of Christ and Garnett Church of Christ.

There is one more big opportunity to get together coming up. If you are going to the Pepperdine Lectures in California this year, we want to have dinner with you! We will be having a dinner on April 30th starting at 4:30 (come and go as you wish) in the Faculty Dinning Room. Find more info on the Facebook event and let us know if you will be coming. Or, check out the conference schedule for more details.


Financial Stewardship

We really like talking about the good things that happen in Uganda: wells that are working, women that are learning life skills, and villages that are developing healthy sanitation habits. These are great things to talk about! But there is so much more that has to happen behind the scenes to make these projects possible. One, which seems particularly relevant to this edition of the newsletter, is managing our finances.

We take the responsibility of managing money entrusted to us very seriously. We want to ensure it is spent appropriately, that our projects are effective, and that Kibo has the resources needed to be healthy over the long term. Therefore, many people are involved in developing our budget and overseeing our finances. On a basic level Bobby Garner, who is the Country Director in Uganda, works with Kibo staff in Jinja to set a budget each year. This process is overseen by our Executive Director Larry Norman and approved by the board of directors. During the year, money is moved from our bank accounts in the United States to Ugandan banks to cover approved expenses based on requests for money. This money is then spent, receipts turned in, and reports generated to ensure that money is spent properly.

Kibo Group’s accountants Justine and Samantha (Sam) are critical in ensuring that this process runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Justine’s office is in Jinja, Uganda at the Source Cafe, while Sam lives and works in Rochester, Michigan. Justine works to track expenses incurred during the course of doing our work in Uganda, making sure we stay within budget, and compiling requests for funds each month. Sam maintains detailed records on incoming donations, monitors expenses to budget, prepares consolidated financial statements, and completes all required government filings. They both work together to keep everything in sync, check each other’s work, and make sure that money is being used to reach our objectives and goals.

Sometimes there are obstacles: two countries, two languages, two currencies, two sets of accounting laws and best practices, compounded by a 8-hour time difference! Sam and Justine both agree that the occasional frustrations of a delayed wire transfer or late night email are worth it. As you can see, tracking our money is critical to the health and success of Kibo Group, and is a great opportunity for all of us to learn from each other.

We have a crazy goal and we need your help!


Dear Kibo Family,

We recently mailed our annual report to Kibo Group’s friends and supporters. If you did not receive a copy, let us know and we’ll send you one. The most important page in this year’s annual report is near the back and features pictures of the Kibo Group staff in Jinja, Uganda. It may be tempting to think of these staff members simply as paid employees of Kibo Group, but they truly are more than that. In a very real sense, they are Kibo Group. In their jobs, they design, run and manage all our projects with skills, knowledge and insight that no Westerner can ever have. Every member of Kibo Group is a friend, partner and collaborator in the fight against poverty in East Africa.

All of us are learning together, and there have been exciting lessons to learn over the years! One important skill we have been focusing on is listening to the voices of our partners in rural communities. By listening better to our partners, we are better able to understand and respond appropriately. As a group, our effectiveness has increased in large part as we recognize the abilities and ideas of our partnering communities. This leads to more communities desiring partnership on a regional and national scale. As a result, we have produced a plan for the coming year that is our most extensive yet. Here are a few highlights we are looking forward to this year:

  • We are ramping up regional women’s groups to offer more health and personal transformation opportunities than ever before.
  • Our stove program is embarking on a higher-level government partnership, creating an opportunity for drastically reducing child burns in the region.
  • The CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) program will move from a pilot program into a larger government partnership, allowing more communities to make great strides in community-wide hygiene and sanitation.
  • Our new regional partnerships also mean we will dig more wells than ever before and facilitate more well repairs than we’ve completed in all other years combined.

Our plans require an aggressive budget, our largest to date, and it cannot happen without your support. We have set a goal to raise $150,000 by December 31, 2013. While that is an ambitious goal, we have an amazing opportunity to achieve it. Three donors have challenged us with a pledge of 40% of this goal. That’s $60,000 to get us started! Your generous gift will allow Kibo to keep saying “yes” to ongoing opportunities to improve the lives of people in East Africa.

We need your help to reach this goal! We need as many people as possible to partner with us, and you can help spread the word. If you have friends or family who are not donors to Kibo, this is a great opportunity to introduce them to our work. If you are a monthly donor, please consider increasing your donation or making an additional one-time donation. If you have not donated to Kibo recently, please consider a one-time gift. You can support the work of Kibo Group in East Africa by submitting your donation at Please help us reach our goal of $150,000 by December 31, 2013.

We are thankful for the support you have given us over the years, and we are excited to see how God will continue to work through all of us to fight poverty in East Africa. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed new year!


Clint Davis, President

Larry Norman,  Executive Director

Bobby Garner, Country Director

The Water Source Process

Bubugo_drillingBefore a well is dug in a village we spend a lot of time working with the community to help them prepare to take care of the well for years to come. There are two big areas we focus on. First, a Home Improvement Campaign establishes systems for keeping the water from the well clean. Second, a Water User Committee is established which ensures for the future upkeep of the well.

This is a long process! We started working in Bubugo village back in August are are working right now to finish up the actual well. Every village is different and are on different schedules, this is just one example of the process we work through with a community.

Aug 12, 2013

Kibo staff Bwana and Kibuuka went to Bubugo for the first time to visit the community and see the condition of their living environment and assess the need for a borehole in the area. They introduced the Water Source project and Kibo Group to the community, along with explaining the Water Source project. The community was quite excited to have Kibo working in their village.

Aug 16, 2013

Kibo staff asked the community to select two committees to work with the Water Source project in the village. One of the committees is in charge of the Home Improvement Campaign. The other committee is called the Water User Committee and will be a long standing committee in charge of the borehole once it is drilled as well as being responsible for the borehole account.

Aug 19, 2013

The two committees started their training. The Home Improvement Campaign Committee, and the Water User Committee began to learn what their responsibilities will be for the project.


Aug 23, 2013

Kibo staff visited the village to check on the Home Improvement Campaign Progress. They inspected 16 homes during their visit. The community members were busy making drying racks, rubbish pits, digging pit latrines, and maintaining their homes.

Aug 28, 2013

On this visit Kibo staff inspected 52 homes during a visit to the village. They saw that the people in Bubugo are serious about completing their Home Improvement Campaign and were busy digging pit latrines, drying racks, and rubbish pits.

Sept 4

A visit was made to the village to follow-up on their Home Improvement Campaign and measure their progress towards their sanitation goals. 21 homes were visited. This village seems to be working towards their goals, many of the members were digging pit latrines, constructing drying racks, and forming rubbish pits.


Sept 11

The village is shining as they progress through their Home Improvement Campaign at a steady pace that is showing improvements all over the village. Bwana observed that most of the village members were working in some way shape or form towards their HIC goals. There are members who still need encouragement to continue with the program.

Sept 18

Bwana and Kibuuka were in Bubugo to follow-up on their Home Improvement Campaign. They were able to visit 32 homes during their visit. This village has been working quickly to achieve their Home Improvement Goals. Each time Bwana and Kibuuka are in Bubugo they notice the change that has happened since their previous visit. Nobody is ashamed of their home, most of the village members are excited to show Bwana the work they have completed. The excitement in this village about their higher level of sanitation and hygiene is remarkable.

Sept 25

During this visit 16 homes were inspected. The community continues to excel in their work towards a clean and healthy community. Bwana was also able to demonstrate a hand washing facility to a widowed elderly woman in the village who was receptive to the idea.


Oct 2

Bwana and Kibuuka were in Bubugo to have a meeting with the community to see how much time they needed to complete their Home Improvement Campaign. There were 63 members present for their visit. The group of community members participating in the project committed to finishing their work within 2 weeks. There are only a few community members who have not finished their work, the rest of the community must pull together to encourage and help them finish.

Oct 9

Bwana and Kibuuka were in Bubugo to show the Experience Africa group of visitors what the Water Source project is doing there. When the village members saw that the group of white men had come to their village they all came to greet them. They conversed with the Americans about how the USA is and what they thought of their village. After they were greeted by the entire community Bwana and Kibuuka showed the visitors their work in the village; latrines, bathing shelters, drying racks and rubbish pits.

Oct 16

Bwana and Kibuuka were in Bubugo to check on their Home Improvement Campaign. They were able to visit 17 homes during their visit.


Oct 23

Bwana and Kibuuka were in Bubugo to begin grading the village on their Home Improvement Campaign. They visited and graded 68 homes during their visit. The LC1 (a local political official), and a Health Assistant were also present during the grading session. This grading session was a surprise to the community and only the Health Assistant knew that it was going to happen. Some of the village members had not finished their work and were instructed to finish before Bwana came back to do his final grading.

October 27-29

DRACO began drilling the water well. The drillers believe they have hit a large amount of water below a very thick (100+ feet) layer of rock. The owner of the land provided a land agreement, giving the land to the community. Pump installation will begin as soon as the borehole is complete.


Introducing Larry Norman!


The Kibo Group Board of Directors is excited to announce the hiring of Larry Norman as our Executive Director!


The growth of Kibo Group demands the services of a highly experienced management professional who has a deep passion for the work of Kibo Group. God has provided Larry as the ideal fit at just the right time. Larry has great depth of experience in the business, education and non-profit world and will oversee our administrative personnel and functions in the United States. Consistent with our mission statement, Larry will keep a strong connection with our African colleagues by visiting our work in Africa each year and through weekly conference calls. Larry will also work closely with our African colleagues in creating a vision for new development initiatives as well as scaling ongoing initiatives. This work will integrate and unify approaches for holistic community development in sub-Saharan Africa who face the tremendous challenges of extreme poverty.


Larry will lead Kibo Group from our office in Rochester, Michigan while he continues to manage our vibrant Kibo Corner coffee shop located at Rochester College.


Larry Norman (on the right) presets the first check from Kibo Corner which supports Kibo Group's work.

Larry Norman (on the right) presets the first check from Kibo Corner which supports Kibo Group’s work.

Larry was born and raised in Southeast Missouri. He worked in several industries, including 20 years in various positions with the St. Paul Insurance Companies. During that time he earned his MBA. In 1999 Larry came to Rochester College as the VP of Enrollment Services, and has worked there in various capacities until fall of 2011, which is when he became heavily involved in Kibo Group.

In 2010 Larry’s wife, Kay, went on a trip to Malawi with an organization called “Little Dresses for Africa.” When she returned they started talking about the possibility of being involved in a ministry focused on Africa, and decided to talk to John Barton (who is on Kibo’s board and past missionary to Uganda) about Kibo Group.

After they talked to John they decided that they had to honor their “show me state” heritage and go see Kibo’s work for themselves! Larry reflected on that trip by saying “While we didn’t get sick, we were both ‘infected.’ The biggest factor was not ‘what’ Kibo was doing, but ‘how’ they were doing it. We loved the relational and sustainable aspect of the Kibo approach. I came back wanting to do something to help fund the organization and my love for coffee led me to start a little coffee shop called Kibo Corner on the Rochester College campus.”

It was the beginning of a great relationship! Larry and Kay have returned to Jinja several times, and the Kibo Corner coffee shop is a really effective way for us to connect with college students, and earn some money to support projects in Jinja at the same time.

In early 2013 Clint Davis, the president of the Kibo Board asked Larry to come on as the Executive Director. Larry’s first reaction was, admittedly, “not a chance! I just semi-retired again and I don’t want to get back in the fire.” But God had other plans and after some conversation and prayer, Larry accepted the Kibo position and resigning the rest of his college position.

We are really excited to have Larry as a part of Kibo. As we continue grow and increase our impact in Uganda building a team of the right people is one of the most important tasks we have, and Larry is a key part of that growth.




Meeting Minutes for September 10, 2013

Every week we all gather together to discuss the past weeks work, sort out problems, and plan for upcoming work. Here are the minutes from yesterdays meeting. Just a little behind the scenes look at Kibo Group!

Present: Ida Bazonoona, Harriet Kefeza, Roy Mwesigwa, Tom Ngobi, Alex Bamulumbye, Justine Nandera, Bwana Ronald, Tim Penner, Abraham Mulongo, Duncan Ojiambo, Alex Walyomu and Steven Kambale. Martin Kibuuka – Absent with family after loss of his aunt.


Water Source: Ibaako 2/9; Bukhana 2/9; Bubugo 4/9; Lwandera 4/9

  • Ibaako: went to meet the community and to establish the committees for the Water Source Project. Preparing for the next training visit.
  • Bukhana: went to inspect a borehole, but did not find the problems since the Hand Pump Mechanic was not available. Working to find out what the problem is
  • Bubugo: Follow up on HIC to see how the community is doing and how much they are working on their sanitation.
  • Lwandera: Follow up on HIC to see how the community is doing and how much they are working on their sanitation. All members are starting to work on digging their pits and making drying racks.

Water Rehabilitation: Kyabogole 30/8; Bukamira 2/9; Bukamira 4/9

  • Kyabogole: They have a weak Water User Committee, but are going to re-elect the committee so that it is strong. This will be done before any fundraising or repairs begin.
  • Bukamira: Were there to inspect the work that the builder is doing on the slab. He was still working so they said they would follow up on the next field day.
  • Bukamira: Went back to see the finished work, and Bukamira now has a great slab.

CLTS: Nabituluntu 30/8; Report for 2/9 and 4/9 not available

  • Nabituluntu: This village has slowed down quite a bit and they are not working towards their CLTS goals anymore.
  • Maliga and Maliga Central: There is man with the nicest home in the village, his father didn’t ever have a latrine, so the community said that he would never dig a latrine. During Tom’s last visit this man started to dig a latrine.
  • Bumoga: Many of the village members are digging down to rock and they are not able to break the rock to continue digging their pits. There is only one pick axe in the village, Tom is considering helping them with a pick axe to help.

Women’s Empowerment:

  • Ida: Mbarara 30/8
  • Mbarara: National Conference Friday, Saturday…
  • Busia: to find a village to teach her lessons. The officials from Busia are trying to decided which village to select.
  • Teachers: The teachers finished their lessons and are now moving onto new villages where they can begin their teachings.
  • Stoves: Old stoves reports were given to catch up from when Roy had left the country.

Mvule Project:

Jinja 2/9; Jinja 4/9; Butaaswa 4/9

  • Jinja: A day off to rest from the National Conference. Did some work on the nursery beds
  • Jinja: A day spent in the nursery bed potting mangos. Abraham is hoping that once the trees start to grow we can invite someone who knows how to graft trees, so that all of Kibo can learn to graft trees.
  • Butaaswa: Was there to talk to them about how Kibo will be exiting their village. The village is worried that when Kibo leaves them they are completely on their own. Kibo will continue to be able to stay in touch with them, but we cannot continue to make visits to this village.
  • The village wants to start bee farming, and casava farming with the money that they are going to have from their offspring. They have already sold some of the offspring which have generated 1,150,000/= for the community. The budget for the farming projects would be 10,000,000/= and they have asked for kibo to help them with the money for this. They will not get money for these extra projects, but Kibo is available to help the ask the government for development grants and the such.


Newsletter #2: Fighting Religious Division

There are lots interesting details to our work (scroll down a bit to read an update about Community-led Total Sanitation for example). Sometimes its good to take a step back and consider some really important big ideas and values that shape the way we work. One of those big ideas is interfaith partners.

While Kibo is not a religious organization, the founders and members of Kibo are motivated by Christian faith and its call to love people, to see everyone as created in God’s image, and to work for the common good of all. Our mission, therefore, calls us not only to serve, but also to partner with people who may not share our theological assumptions or motivations. As our mission statements say, Kibo exists to nurture “creative partnerships” with Africans in order to pursue healthy and sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty and injustice, and those partnerships are formed without regard to “ethnicity, race, gender, or religion.” The diverse environments in which Kibo finds itself makes this work both exciting and challenging, and this is especially evident when one considers the incredible religious diversity in Africa.

The religious diversity in places like Uganda is beyond what most people are aware. Consider the following:

  • As one might expect, traditional indigenous beliefs and practices are pervasive, and we continually interact with those regarded as indigenous healers and diviners, as well as common practitioners of “traditional religion.”
  • There are churches everywhere in Uganda. In fact, there are too many groups that have historical connections to Christianity to name, but they include Catholics, Protestants, various non-denominational Evangelicals, indigenous African churches, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, and many others.
  • Between 15% and 20% of the Ugandan population is Muslim, comprised of various Sunni, Shi’a, and Ahmadiyya communities, with Muslims of African, Arab, and Indian decent. Mosques are found in most of Uganda’s cities and towns, as well as in remote rural areas.
  • Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurudwaras are also featured in Kampala and other major towns and cities in the country. Starting in the late 19th century, large numbers of immigrants from India established significant populations of Hindus and Sikhs that remain to this day despite the persecutions and deportations that took place especially in the 1970s.
  • One of the fastest growing and influential world religions of the past century is the Bahá’í faith. Kampala is the location of one of the eight Bahá’í “Houses of Worship” in the world, and it represents the faith for the African continent.
  • And if that isn’t enough, Uganda even boasts a rare and fascinating community of indigenous Jews. The Abayudaya (the “People of Judah”) is a small but growing community of Africans in eastern Uganda who converted to the Jewish faith over a century ago and who faithfully practice an African version of conservative Judaism.

What an interesting and complex web of religious beliefs, practices, and practitioners! And in that context, Kibo seeks to partner with and serve all people “regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, or religion.” In other words, in seeking sustainable solutions to problems such as a lack of clean water, environmental degradation, social conflict, or the need for education, Kibo partners with a wide variety of people and faith communities.

Recently, some of our best partners have come from Uganda’s Islamic communities. Muslim men and women have both openly received and productively contributed to our discussions about poverty relief and our attempts to foster social reconciliation in communities that experience suffering and division. Some become interested in our Christian motivations and some don’t, but all are valued partners. This is just one example of the interfaith context in which Kibo works.

Religious division and conflict continue to plague our shrinking world and significantly contribute to the suffering and limitations of millions of people. In the corners of the world where Kibo reaches, however, we are committed to reach across religious lines, foster collaborative and peaceful partnerships, and pursue the common good. How could we do otherwise? After all, our Christian motivations call us to pay attention to the planks in our own eyes, to practice neighborly love toward all, and to always do unto others as we would have them do unto us.


Project Update

Traditional attempts at eliminating poor sanitation have often relied on incentives and outside resources to encourage change. But this often led to uneven adoption and problems with long-term sustainability. It also created a culture of dependence on subsidies.

In contrast, Community-led Total Sanitation focuses on the behavioral change needed to ensure real and sustainable improvements. There are no incentives or outside resources. Instead we help communities see the need for change and help them mobilize their own resources to eliminate open defecation. Check out the CLTS section of our web site for more info.

Tom, pictured at left, runs CLTS for Kibo Group. He recently gave this report at a staff meeting:

“This was our first follow-up visit to Bumoga. LC1, VHTs (local government officials) continue to come and follow-up on the progress in the community. There is an area in Bumoga that is sandy and swampy, which prevents some of the people from digging latrines. I gave the people from this area some new ideas about ways to deal with the sandy soil and prevent the latrines from collapsing.”

A key pat of CLTS is that Tom helps villages find solutions to a problem they are facing (like the sandy soil causing latrines to collapse). This process is very collaborative. The entire village has ideas and they all talk them out to arrive at a good solution. Most importantly the people in the village must chose to implement the solution on their own. Tom, and Kibo Group, does not do it for them.

Sometimes we notice an issue in the news or on social media that we think is interesting, or that people need to think about. We want to offer a few links that can give you a starting place for more research. Up this time: Sending Stuff to Africa.

It is common to see an organization collecting shoes or shirts to send to people in need. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the effectiveness of programs that send clothing and other goods to developing countries. Here are a few links to get you started as you consider this issue: