Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Focus, The Need and The Project

In June of 2008 I will embark on a coast-to-coast (USA) bicycle ride to raise awareness and support for Kyamate CDC, a children's aid organization in Uganda partnered with Compassion International. The goal is to raise $30,000 by August of 2008 (the end of the bike ride) to build a community center for the 285 OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children). The center will also serve the secondary school, primary school and church in the community.

The Focus: Kyamate Child Development Center (CDC) services 285 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) of the poorest of poor families living in and around the Ntungamo community. 90% of these children have lost one or both parents, most of which have died from HIV/AIDS. The Child Development Center provides health care, pays for school fees, uniforms and supplies, develops income generating activities (IGA) and facilitates educational, health, spiritual, and economic teachings as well as socio-emotional support to the children. This community believes wholeheartedly in the value of education and service to these needy children.

The community center will serve as a learning center and dining hall for the Kyamate CDC children and will be rented out and function as a multi-purpose meeting hall, banquet hall and theater for the community by servicing weddings, the arts, and organizational and school meetings. A number of other schools, churches and community members will also benefit from the proposed center.

The Need: There is an immediate need to provide basic shelter where the children of Kyamate CDC will meet especially during the rainy seasons. Since 2003 they have conducted their weekly classroom sessions and eaten their meals outside. The facility would also directly serve the local secondary and primary schools for organizational meetings as well as for music and drama competitions. The local church will also be a direct beneficiary and will use the facility for wedding receptions and various meetings and seminars. Kyamate is a developing community. Within the last 3 years a 3500 sq ft church has been constructed. If the project is not completed the Kyamate CDC children will continue to meet outside and the community will continue to struggle without the aid of a community center.

The Initiation: The building project idea has been around since 2003 and was brought to my attention by the Project Director of Kyamate CDC, Japheth Weyakala, in 2006. The Kyamate CDC Committee, consisting of local community leaders, has organized a specific committee for the proposed project. The project committee has assessed the need for the project, identified the direct and indirect beneficiaries, solicited local contributions from community members and organizations, rendered construction plans and estimations and assisted in proposal writing. The committee will oversee the construction of the building, after which Kyamate CDC will manage the use of the building.

The Sustainability: Upon completion of the community center, 285 OVC of Kyamate CDC will weekly use the center for services in education, economic, spiritual, socio-emotional and health programs. It will also be used for meal service, dramas and singing, a shelter for cooking and preparing food and income generation (through renting). By providing a basic shelter we will be able to provide continued services to these children throughout the year.

Once the structure is built, Kyamate CDC will oversee and manage the use of the community center. It will be sustainable so long as it is under the provision of Kyamate CDC. It will be used by a variety of community groups and members for many years.

The Community Contribution: Kyamate Church of Uganda will contribute land, poles for scaffolding, transportation of poles and water valued at 6.16 million Ush ($3,500 USD). Kyamate Primary School will also contribute poles for scaffolding.

The Implementation: Throughout each phase leading up to the use and management of the project Brian Dunn will be managing the fundraising and will be assisted in construction management by the Kyamate CDC director, Japheth Weyakala. Construction will be done by local skilled construction workers. Once the community center is finished it will be managed by Kyamate CDC.

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