As you may have read in one of my previous blog posts we recently provided funding to support the redevelopment of Kihembe Health Centre. After visiting the centre in April and meeting with the staff and management committee, alongside our in-country partners Opportunity Africa, we decided to provide funds so the health centre could build staff quarters, which would provide somewhere for up to four members of staff to sleep. We were told by the management committee that the biggest problem that the health centre faced was staff retention. Due to the rural location of Kihembe, there is a dearth of qualified medical professionals in the area, which means that many of the staff have to travel long distances to work at the centre. Because there was previously nowhere for them to stay and with local transportation links non-existent, staff would look for other work in centres closer to home which often left the centre in Kihembe alarmingly understaffed. The staff that persevered, like Raymond, would often have to sleep on the ward with the patients after a long shift caring for people throughout the day.
(The start of the work, end of July 2016)
The management committee and the staff believed that the solution to this issue was to build safe and comfortable quarters for the staff to stay in at the health centre. We asked the committee for work plans and we discovered that it would cost us about £3500 to build the staff quarters to a high specification. On my return to the UK, we agreed as a board of trustees that we wanted to support the project and our wonderful team of UK volunteers helped us to raise the required funds within a month of me being back home. It was a remarkable achievement by all. Opportunity Africa decided that the best way to complete the work was to put the build out to tender, so we hired a local construction firm to complete the work in two phases.
(Adding the finishing touches to the roof, August 2016)
Just over a month after starting the work, they had finished the staff quarters. On completion of the project, Herbert got everyone together to conduct an internal evaluation, and it was simply wonderful to hear how well everything went. Bishop Dan Zoreka of Kanungu came to officially open new quarters and by the second week of September, 3 members of staff had already moved in to their new home away from home.
(The finished staff quarters, September 2016)
I’m so incredibly proud of our team in Uganda for the way in which they carried out the work. From our initial meeting right the way through to the grand opening, Herbert and the team ensured that everything went according to plan. Tom, the contractor who delivered the project, deserves a special mention too. He went above and beyond what was required of him to get the job done as efficiently as possible, which is how it was finished so quickly. This whole project, for me, exemplifies effective co-production in practice. Through the fusion of successful fundraising by hard-working volunteers in the UK and efficient project delivery by skilled local practitioners in Uganda, we were able to achieve an incredible outcome together.
(Bishop Dan doing the honours)
This is what The Zuri Project is all about. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and I’m already excited for our next projects.