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!

KIBO_2013end_of_year_letter

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 www.kibogroup.org/give. 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.

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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.

bubugo_dryingrack

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.

Bubugo_HIC

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.

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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.

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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.

WASH:

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.


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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:

 

Women’s Empowerment

Each week groups of women meet together to discuss ways to better the lives of their families. The topics range from malaria prevention to gossip abstinence. Each group is a diverse representation of their community: Christian, Muslim, traditional religion, old, young, married, widowed, landowners, renters. But they share so many things in common: hope for their children, a water source, the burial of a neighbor, the wedding of a local school teacher.

With so many things in common it seemed fitting to talk about health and God in such a collected setting. Each comes to the group with a healthy respect for the others. We want to be peace-making people. Each week, members bring their ideas of who God is and the ways in which we are part of Creation. Some weeks women come with bruises from abusive husbands and need comfort as well as an advocate in their homes. Other weeks conversations flourish around Mark’s account of Jesus.

The community groups have gone so well that government offices have asked us to partner in different districts. In order to keep up with the workload, Ida Bazonoona, the director of the Women’s Empowerment program, trained five more people to broaden the scope and partnership of Kibo Group. The training has recently been completed. Look forward to many new stories from these new field staff members in the months to come.

Two years ago the Women’s Empowerment initiated a campaign to address several issues surrounding cooking over an open fire. A pot rests on top of three stones while the fire burns below. This standard cooking practice is centuries’ old, but it is not without its problems. The fire is open so any passing toddler is susceptible to severe burns. Most cooking happens indoors as this helps to regulate the flame and discourage animals from knocking over pots. The downside is that all the smoke is kept in a small space, damaging the eyes and lungs of the cook. The arrangement is also not the most efficient at heat retention and firewood usage. Women all over the developing world spend hours each week gathering enough firewood to cook.

The campaign encourages the adoption of a stove design made from local materials in order to address all three problems of safety, health, and conservation. The stove is built from the soil of a termite mound, Bermuda grass, water, and banana plants. You can see the building process in a short video at on vimeo.

Malo Ga Kujilana Update

The MGK team has continued to work with local groups. The groups include Tukamulane in Nomba, a Woman’s group in Nomba, Mitava and ceNtoto. We worked through our Sanitation, Nutrition, and Malaria programs, and created a new program dealing with AIDS. Various groups received mosquito nets, training in natural medicines, eco-latrines, hand-washing stations, and water filtration techniques. Two of our groups received micro-loans and are currently paying them back. Our difficulties were the perennial issues we often struggle through: jealousy and suspicion. Our programs are geared to directly tackle these cultural problems by encouraging group work, accountability and justice. Our successes were various, but we are very encouraged by the group in ceNtoto. Our studies, integrated throughout all of our programs, in sacred scripture have taken root and the members have started to initiate these studies on their own. This past year also represented a full year in which MGK leadership independently ran all community programs and managed all finances associated with the projects.

The new AIDS program began in ceNtoto. This is a very sensitive topic, but the team has created a wonderfully informative and culturally-appropriate way of educating people and discussing the spiritual significance of families, sex and commitment. Working with a culture informed by Islam, we have been careful to differentiate between irresponsible sex, which is associated with western immorality, and responsible sex informed by a concern for women. In the end, we’ve been successful in discussing this issue with women in the context of marriage. The discussion has opened up an admonition that certain objects can be wielded for good and bad. Evil is the intention and behavior that come from human motivation.

Finally, through a connection with one of the members of MGK who has been working closely with a few families, MGK has started another new work in Mitava. This group was created by MGK member John James through weekly Bible studies. The group already has a deep connection with John via Bible study and allowing MGK to come and provide assistance is proving to be a powerful equation.

MGK has needed transportation to the villages and town to purchase supplies. Consequently, it was decided that a small Toyota Corolla would be purchased to combine the need for transportation and the constant request for serving as a rural ambulance. With donated money, we were able to purchase a vehicle and hope to begin using it this next week. Not only with the vehicle be a service to the community, but it will also serve as a taxi during the day and generate income for the center and for maintenance costs.

As old colleagues have left (Holtons & Caldwells), MGK has been hammering out leadership structure. Though the MGK team will continue to be led by the management team, we also have a board of directors who meets quarterly to help provide counsel and decision-making authority for large decisions that affect finances and vision. The board is made up of key MGK members, local leaders, and a few expatriates connected to MGK like the Holtons and Caldwells. This group has been a real blessing to our work as they bring another level of accountability, depth of experience and wisdom.

We continue to receive offers to partner with both Christian groups and local non-profit organizations in our area. The love and support MGK offers to her neighbor continue to be a

strong witness and source of authority to other organizations.

After waiting for two years, electricity has been scheduled to reach Nomba in November. Our mill is installed and ready to begin grinding people’s maize for food as well as for the chicken feed project. Once the mill is running, it will help reduce the price of chicken feed and provide a cheaper product for local chicken breeders. We received a donation to begin the next step in growing our chicken feed business for purchasing concentrate and local maize. We hope to begin using these funds in November.

The guesthouse has been slightly remodeled and will now serve as a rental house for long- term visitors. Again, this project will be another source of income for continued sustainability and self- governance. The guesthouse is equipped with a full kitchen, living area, two bedrooms and two bathrooms with eco-toilets! The Holtons house was donated to the center to be used as a long-term rental property for families that work in town, but desire a place outside of it. The house was equipped with a flush toilet to help attract the clientele and now is managed by Jean, the accountant.

Our goal has always been to be a sustainable community that loves her neighbor. Financial stewardship is a huge aspect to MGK. Each area of MGK that makes an income gives a percentage back to the community work as a tithe, allowing the work to continue.

Incredibly, the various business initiatives will help to sustain 13 families, manage the community center, farm, and community-service projects.

MGK has continued to reach monthly goals despite a stop in the chicken feed business due to a supply-line disruption from the manufacturer. Further, the center received a couple more donations for MGK to use expressly for digging bore wells. MGK had already received a donation for digging one on the farm, but will now use donations coming from supporters in Australia to provide community wells in two other locations.

Email Newsletter Issue Number 1!

Here is the blogified version of our first email newsletter. If you want to get future newsletters in your inbox sign up with this form:

Kibo Group has been around for a while, 10 years in fact. We thought it was time to start a regular newsletter.

There is a lot of activity that goes on every day. Some days our staff travels around the Busoga region of Uganda visiting villages, planting trees, digging wells and teaching classes. Other days are full of meetings and office work. We want to tell you about what we do. But there is something even more important than what we do, and that’s why and how we do these things.

It’s not really very hard to dig a well. You just have to have lots of money to hire a big truck which will drive out to the village and start drilling. A successful water project is much more complex and a lot harder. Even the definition of “success” has to be evaluated. Suddenly the values that underly our projects come into view. Do we value long term relationships, photo ops, solutions that will outlive Kibo, checking things off a list? The answers to these questions indicate the values that underpin our organization.

For the next few issues of this newsletter we are going to explore some of Kibo Group’s values, and how these values shape what we do. We hope that hearing about our values will challenge you to consider what you hold as the most important things in your life. Who knows, we might all learn a little bit from each other!

Watch your inbox every couple months while we explore what drives the way Kibo Group works to find creative solutions to poverty in East Africa.


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Project Update

Ida (that’s her picture on the left) runs the Women’s Empowerment project. She travels around the region teaching on a variety of topics, everything from basic health care to Bible studies on suffering. Here is one of her reports from a village visit in April:

On April 10, Ida met with the LC 1 (LC 1 is a local government official) and 67 community members for a health lesson on immunization and teeth care. Ida sees value in informing women about immunizations. Immunizations are a free service that the government provides, but people are hesitant to take their children for injections, because of a lack of information about the medication and its preventions.

The Bible lesson was about, prayer. Some ladies thought that prayer was only between men and God and were encouraged to learn that prayer is for all. The women expressed gratitude towards Kibo Group for sending Ida as a messenger with information that will better their families.


Help Kibo Out

It takes a lot of people to make Kibo Group’s work possible. And you are one of those people! Sometimes it’s hard to know how to help out, so in each issue we will give you an idea. This time around we just want you to join our Facebook page, then ask a friend or two to join as well. Its a great way to spread the word about Kibo!


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: International Adoption.

Adoption has been in the news a lot recently because of the book The Child Catchers. Here are a few resources that make important points on this issue:

Replacing Pipes to Restore a Well

Recently three villages we work with started having problems with their wells. The water which had been clean became dirty and unusable. It turns out that the pipes in all three villages were defective and had corroded. We were abel to work with the village, the drilling company, and a donor to replace the pipes so the villages can continue to have clean water. Here are some picture of the process.

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