Merry Christmas...

Sunday, December 20, 2009- Christmas holidays are in full swing, and with all the students gone school has gotten terribly quiet. The last few weeks have nevertheless seen some great progress.
At the end of November I travelled to Kampala to visit an organisation called ‘Private Education Development Network’ (www.pedn.org). Amongst other things they specialise in training teachers to deliver entrepreneurship courses for students and we are hoping that there will be potential for cooperation in the future.

Our three self sufficiency businesses have also produced their first monthly financial report which revealed some very interesting facts:

1. The dairy business output has almost doubled over the past month, and as we were able to find more customers for our milk our earnings have increased substantially. However, because of the high vet costs we incurred during the past month due to the birth of baby bull Charles and the injury of one of our other cows the business made a small loss in November. We are confident though that this will turn into profit over the next months as we are continuing our sales efforts.

2. The computer business recorded a small profit. This however excluded the cost of the Internet as this is currently funded by our partner organisation Into Your Hands. Nevertheless this is a great success considering that there is so much potential for growth at the St. Denis Computer Business Centre. In fact the good news spread so fast that even one of our smallest members of the self sufficiency project came to visit…little Masembe, our second calf decided to pay the Computer Business Center a visit one day.

3. The records also clearly show that the Matooke plantation is finally recovering from the drought, and output has in November grown to 16 bunches – a number which we are expecting to grow further over the next months.

Another main activity in these past few weeks was to carry out a baseline survey in order to collect baseline data about secondary students in the area. By comparing St. Denis student’s data to the data collected from students from other schools, we are hoping that over time there will be a distinct difference enabling us to measure the impact of the self sufficiency project. The students were excited about this for Uganda very unusual activity and some students were even trained as interviewers to conduct the surveys on behalf of TAMTF.

I will be back in Makondo at the end of January as I am travelling to Kenya. There I will meet up with Mary, the project officer for Kenya’s first self sufficient school for girls in Ondati, to find out all about her project and to share experiences.

As I am now wrapping up my activities here in Makondo in preparation for my Christmas holidays in Austria there is just one thing left to say:


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