In October 2008 a group of four from Abingdon Vesper spent two weeks in East Africa visiting past and current projects supported by the club in Kenya and Uganda, and meeting members of African Rotary clubs to discuss work that we can do in the future.
Most of our time in Kenya was spent in Thika with representatives of Action for Children in Conflict, visiting their residential interim care centre and spending time playing with the children. Andrew Bartholomew, one of our group, gave a presentation to the children on looking after farm animals and we were given a song and dance performance by local school children, dramatising the issues affecting children on the street in the local area. We also spent time talking to AfCiC's legal team about the help they are giving local children who are suffering from abuse and abandonment.
We also met with some of the Kenyans who had lost their homes and businesses in the recent troubles and talked to them about how AfCiC is helping them to get back on their feet with micro finance loans and practical advice. We visited local schools, distributed school uniforms to children of the displaced persons, and visited some of the feeding programme work organised by AfCiC for children.
Other visits included a walk round Thika town centre to see some of the former children from the care centre in their work places and a trip to Kiandutu, the slum from which many of the children come.
Our time in Uganda was largely spent in Mubende with members of the local Rotary club. The main purpose of our visit was to finalise plans for the 3H project, Combining hands for Mubende, and a major event was held with over 200 people from the local communities to introduce the project. We also visited the local council to discuss the plans with the community leaders and some of the schools which will receive support if the funding application is approved.
Andrew Bartholomew gave several training sessions to the various community groups set up to manage the micro credit schemes supported by Vesper. Three were started in Mubende district in autumn 2007 and these have been a resounding success with all the 440 loans repaid in full and on time. A further three schemes are shortly to be set up to build on this success.
In total we were in Mubende for six days during which time we also visited:
In total we travelled some 2,000 km over the two weeks, visiting over 20 projects supported by Rotary and meeting members from several Rotary and Rotaract clubs at their club meetings and social events. There was also time to relax which included trips to game reserves, walking with chimpanzees in the jungle and a visit to a rose farm in Kenya.