Happy Christmas from Unity is Strength

Thank you for supporting Unity is Strength this year. We wish you a Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year. We are absolutely delighted with the work we’ve been able to achieve this year. Thank you so much for your support, we couldn’t do it without you. Here are our highlights for 2023.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

KAASO Staff Development Association established!

The KAASO Staff Development Association (KAASO-Dep), which was started at the beginning of 2023, issues microloans to individuals and groups working at KAASO to run small businesses to supplement their salaries.

KAASO-Dep’s Vision

“To create a society where workers have equal and sufficient economic and social opportunities to improve their standards of living and where they can contribute productively towards the overall development of the country.”

Headline stats:

  • Β£4,500 was loaned out when KAASO-Dep was first set up to a variety of projects including purchasing oxen, starting a piggery, developing a poultry project, growing crops, and brick-making.
  • Β£3,000 has been paid back already.
  • The KAASO-Dep committee has received a further 23 applications totalling Β£8,460, which will be loaned out as and when funds are repaid.
  • Unity is Strength added an extra Β£2,000 to the loan pot (in addition to the initial Β£3,000 given earlier in the year), to facilitate new loans being made to staff members at KAASO.
  • Unity is Strength and the KAASO-Dep committee are working closely to evaluate the impact of the initiative and assess when no further capital needs to be added to the pot.

The KAASO-Dep initiative is also helping to sustain the projects set up during COVID for which we provided some seed funding (brick-making, chair hire, coffee plantation, nursery-bed, and the piggery). It is great these can be maintained and improved without additional grants from Unity is Strength. 

Impact of KAASO-Dep

Teachers and staff members want to stay and work at KAASO. One staff member who left earlier in the year has returned because of the KAASO-Dep initiative!

Having the autonomy to design a project, apply for a loan, and earn additional income has been hugely positive for the teachers and staff members at KAASO. As well as increased economic independence, running these projects enables the teachers and staff members to advance their knowledge in a new discipline and collaborate with their colleagues in a different way. Dominic reported that members were happier and more motivated in their school work.

KAASO-Dep is run entirely by the committee at KAASO. Other than our due diligence, Unity is Strength is not involved in the group’s decision-making.

Nurse Shiba, Teacher Annette and Teacher Sarah explain why they started a brick-making project as part of KAASO-Dep.

A visit to KAASO

In March 2023, my boyfriend Rob and I visited KAASO. It was my seventh time visiting the school! On our return, I wrote a blog post all about the trip, which you can read here.

Visit to KAASO March 2023

Northbourne Park School supports the KAASO students’ Rabbit Project

We were very grateful to receive a donation to support the Rabbit Project from Northbourne Park School, which has had a partnership with KAASO since 2015. The Rabbit Project is run by the students at KAASO.

Rob was fascinated by the design of KAASO’s farming projects as everything is interconnected and nothing is wasted. He explains this in the following video.

Investigating a land purchase

On land that KAASO owns, they can establish longer-term projects such as coffee gardens. Where they rent land, this is not possible as the owner only allows annual crops to be grown.

Coffee is a good source of income in Uganda and Dominic would like to do this across more land in future if there are opportunities to buy that are suitable for KAASO. The following video explains why this is so important.

Teacher Enoch has now been appointed Custodian Manager to identify a piece of land that may be suitable for KAASO to purchase. There is a 5-acre plot, which is worth investigating. The next stage is for Dominic and Teacher Enoch to produce a 3-5 year cashflow forecast to show how the costs to prepare the land and grow the crop(s) would be covered before there is a financial return. We will keep you posted in the New Year about how this develops!

Dominic explains the importance of owning land for their future security.

Emma’s visit to KAASO

In November, the KAASO volunteer coordinator, Emma Outteridge, visited KAASO. In her blog post following her visit, she wrote about some wonderful updates at KAASO that we’re delighted to share with you.

Major projects were completed thanks to the amazing support of KATKiDS in Bermuda led by Jennie Lee and Rebecca, including the upgrade of the children’s kitchen to a β€˜modern’ kitchen – a system whereby the fire beneath the giant pots can be closed in order to reduce smoke and save on wood – the firewood used is now just a quarter of that previously.

KATKIDS also funded guttering to be installed on the main hall and purchased two giant water tanks to catch all that glorious rain that falls in the bi-annual rainy seasons – another huge gain for the school that now goes weeks without needing the generator to pump water – an almost daily occurrence in the days before gutters and water tanks.

An amazing family friend of Emma’s generously donated money to purchase a piece of land that lies in front of the new Main Hall at KAASO – something that had been on the priority list for nearly 15 years.

KAASO Main Hall

Read Emma’s full blog post >

Total raised this financial year

Since 1st April 2023, we have raised an incredible Β£13,933.74! Thank you so much for your continued support. We appreciate your generosity.

Total raised so far

We hope you enjoy the festive season. Wishing you all the best for 2024.