Our Impact

Before sending funds, Dominic and Lizzie discuss the priorities at KAASO and how your donations will deliver the greatest impact.

Our Impact

Before sending funds, Dominic and Lizzie discuss the priorities at KAASO and how your donations can deliver the greatest impact.

Our Governance

Unity is Strength has three trustees, Lizzie, Tom and Jane Hulton-Harrop. Before sending any funds, Lizzie requests budgets from Dominic Mukwaya, the Founder and Director of St Paul KAASO, to see where funds are needed. The trustees discuss these needs and, with Dominic, decide how the funds should be spent.

When the funds have been spent, Dominic sends the trustees a report and set of accounts detailing the expenditure. We have regular calls to discuss how things are going and how the projects are impacting the school and the wider community.

If you have any questions about Unity is Strength and/or would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at info@unityisstrength.org.uk.

Photo from left: Rose Mukwaya, Jane Hulton-Harrop, Dominic Mukwaya and Tom Hulton-Harrop in Uganda, October 2017

Jane and Tom HH with Dominic and Rose Mukwaya, October 2017

Income-generating projects – The background

For as long as we have known KAASO, there have always been projects running alongside the school to subsidise its operating costs and help support the ever-growing number of students. While teachers have always used the projects as part of their lessons to bring learning to life, they were mainly run by Dominic and Rose with support from farm workers.

When COVID hit and KAASO closed, Dominic had the brilliant idea to expand these projects and give the staff members the opportunity to get involved and earn some money while their teaching salaries stopped. This initiative started with a focus on generating income for those out of work, but it brought many additional benefits. The staff enjoyed working together, they were grateful to learn new skills in agriculture and financial management, and it gave them a sense of purpose and motivation at an incredibly difficult time. 

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Unity is Strength was able to provide funds to set up these projects. 

Visiting in March 2023, seeing these projects in-person, and hearing about how they helped KAASO to open again after COVID was fantastic. What’s more is they are now a core part of working at KAASO. The impact has been immense.

The KAASO Staff Development Association

Following the success of the income-generating projects set up in 2020-21, the teachers and staff members at KAASO started a new project called the KAASO Staff Development Association (or KAASO-Dep for short), which issues microloans to individuals and groups working at KAASO to run small businesses to supplement their salaries.

Their vision is, “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.”

Individuals or groups are required to submit an application to the KAASO-Dep committee outlining what their project is, why they want to run it, and a breakdown of the costs. The committee, chaired by the wonderful Nurse Shiba, reviews the applications and decides which projects are granted loans. Each loan has a specified pay-back window with a small interest rate to ensure the initiative is sustainable, and loanees must have three guarantors in case they are unable to pay. As the loan is repaid, this money can then be allocated to another project, and so on.

We are delighted to see this initiative take shape. We, as an organisation, are reluctant to fund the maintenance costs of the projects and/or the school unless absolutely necessary as we never want to create a dependency on our fundraising. We are always working with the idea that if Unity is Strength stopped operating tomorrow, KAASO would not be negatively affected in any way.

So far, Unity is Strength has added £5,000 to the loan pot.

Lizzie and Shiba discussing the loan applications

Lizzie and Nurse Shiba discussing the loan applications received so far

Examples of KAASO-Dep projects 

Staff and students from KAASO visited a local training centre to learn how to make bar soap, liquid soap, shampoo, and chalk for the school blackboards.

KAASO Staff Development Association

Ray (below, left) teaches Computer Studies and manages the library, and has started a poultry project. Moses (below, right) teaches mathematics and is involved in the brick-making project.

Ray and Moses

Other highlights include:

  • Some members have bought plots of land for cultivation/ farming.
  • Some involved in farming have harvested more than 2 tonnes of maize.
  • Some have developed a ‘saving culture’ as they have additional income.
  • Nurse Jackie has constructed a house for her mother.
  • Teacher Prossy has bought a plot of land.
  • The chair hiring project has so far yielded a profit of 2 million UGX (~£425) for the group and it has helped promote the school to different audiences.
  • Staff members are happier than they used to be.
  • Staff members want to stay and work at KAASO.
Shiba, Jackie and Teacher Prossy

Left: Nurse Shiba and Jackie on KAASO Hill, March 2023; Right: Teacher Prossy at KAASO

There are now 56 members of the KAASO Staff Development Association, 34 teaching staff and 22 non-teaching. 20 projects have been supported so far at a total cost of 21,850,000 UGX (approximately £4,600), including purchasing oxen, starting a piggery, developing a poultry project, growing crops, and brick-making. Nearly £3,000 has been paid back already.

Interest in the project is growing rapidly – The KAASO-Dep committee has received a further 23 applications totalling £8,460, which will be loaned out as and when funds are repaid. If you would like to donate to the loan pot to enable as many staff members as possible to get involved, please make a donation to support this fantastic initiative.

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.

Happy, healthy, consistent teachers and staff members are essential for delivering a top-class education for the students at St Paul KAASO.

Dominic and students

Dominic’s caption: ‘Fatherly words of farewell to our beloved candidates of 2023.’

Impact of KAASO-Dep
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.

The brick-making project

The brick-making project is one of the first projects we funded. In July 2021, we sent funds for its establishment and initial running costs (labour and firewood). The brick-making project offered an alternative activity for teachers to diversify their skills, support local infrastructure development, and generate an income. In the initial stages, four teachers worked with Dominic to build a brick kiln on the school grounds and learn how to make bricks.

Bricks have been sold on the local market in Kyotera and have made enough money for KAASO to buy, rather than rent, the land for it. This new land is on clay, which is perfect for brick-making. Furthermore, owning the land reduces the project’s fixed costs and gives greater security for its longevity. Dominic and the teachers at KAASO would like to develop this project so they can supply construction companies locally with bricks and create more job opportunities for young people in the village. 

Here’s a clip of Dominic at the brick-making site:

Dominic talks about the brick-making project (March 2023)

Bricks have also been used for construction at KAASO. As Dominic mentions in the video, some of the bricks were used to build a platform for the water tank installed for the Teachers’ Quarters at KAASO with funds from Unity is Strength. 

Dominic and Lizzie - Water tank

Left: Bricks taken from the brick-making project; Right: Water tank installed at KAASO on brick platform

More teachers and staff members are now involved in the brick-making project. We had the pleasure of talking to Nurse Shiba, Teacher Annette and Teacher Sarah about why they are involved.

Nurse Shiba, Teacher Annette and Teacher Sarah talk about why they joined the brick-making project

Piggery & nursery bed

In July 2021, a piece of land was allocated to a group of teachers; they built a pigsty and were able to purchase two pigs. The teachers cared for the animals and learned animal husbandry skills, diversifying their own employment skills. Caring for the animals gave the teachers purpose and an activity to focus on, plus an opportunity to advance their own knowledge in a new discipline and collaborate with their colleagues.

In 2022, there was an outbreak of African Swine Fever, which had a devastating effect on the piggery project. When we visited KAASO in March 2023, we were pleased to see this project back on its feet after a very difficult year. Over messages and phone calls, we hadn’t fully appreciated the distress this had caused KAASO and the local community. KAASO has kept pigs since 2006 and has never had any problems.

The expansion of the piggery project in 2021 was set to make it the most profitable of all the enterprises – a real lifeline for KAASO. The pigs had all been named and Dominic spoke of the 4ft-long boar with great pride. It was hard to hear that after the pigs were lost, the staff were relying on the other projects for survival. And it was such a waste as none of the pigs were allowed to enter the food chain. We were so sorry for this loss but blown away by their resilience to keep going.

The piggery project is now doing well and measures have been put in place to mitigate the risk of a disease affecting them again. 

Both the piggery project and the nursery-bed are regularly used in teaching to give students skills to earn money before going to secondary school, as well as to share with their families. Teacher Enoch talks about this in the video below. 

Teacher Enoch talks about the nursery-bed and piggery in teaching

The ambition is to create projects that are self-sufficient and that catalyse a multiplier effect to enhance local market activity, increase local incomes and contribute to food security.

Chair hire business

For a long time, Dominic has wanted to run a chair hire business as an extra income stream for the school. In early 2023, we sent a donation to enable KAASO to buy 1,000 chairs. In Uganda’s dry seasons (June-August and December-February), there are community events happening nearly every weekend and there’s always a need for chairs, so they have a good market. 

The chairs have all been labelled and numbered, and a Hire Agreement is used for each customer. 

Chair project

In the wet seasons, the chairs come in handy at KAASO in their new main hall. During our visit to KAASO in March 2023, it was ‘Prefect Campaigns’ week. There were 30 posts the students could run for including Head Boy, Head Girl, Timekeeper, Health and Sanitation, Water Prefect, and many more! Posters were put up around the school with campaign slogans and striking photos, and those in the running had the opportunity to explain to their peers why they should vote for them. Here’s a short clip of one student’s speech: 

Prefect elections at KAASO

Thank you from Dominic and Rose

Without our supporters, none of the above would be possible. Thank you for your generosity and continued support. Webale nnyo nnyo nnyo! (Thank you very very very much in Luganda)

Here’s a message of thanks from Dominic and Rose. 

Support St Paul KAASO


These projects will become self-sustainable, but it is early days and there are still costs associated with each project. If you are able to make a donation to support these projects, we would be very grateful. Thank you.

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Support St Paul KAASO

Donate today

These projects will become self-sustainable, but it is early days and there are still costs associated with each project. If you are able to make a donation to support these projects, we would be very grateful. Thank you.