November 2012

Bram Moolenaar, treasurer of ICCF Holland, visited the Kibaale Children's Centre in November 2012. This is his report.

Power to Kibaale

Bringing city power to Kibaale has been promised many times. Especially during election time. Now finally a work crew is actually putting up poles and attaching cables. Most work is done by hand, I have seen more than a dozen men in blue overalls pushing and pulling to get a pole up. Still, the transformer isn't there yet and someone mentioned that in a swamp area the wires are missing. We will have to see when it really works. When it does, I am sure the atmosphere in town will radically change. Bright lights instead of oil lamps. Loud TV and radio sounds everywhere. The good side is that carpentry shops can use power tools, the maize grinder will run and welding will be possible. Expect business to flourish! We can see a sample of this in our vocational school, they use power tools there now. Notice the Vim drill in the picture :-).

For the project there was supposed to be an extra transformer, but now the wires only go up to the clinic. Apparently the budget wasn't sufficient. Anyway, city power is not reliable, thus the generator and solar system will remain. The wires between the buildings also need to be replaced, they are getting old and were of low quality when they were put in twenty years ago. Maintenance is required to keep the project running.

        Vim power drill

With power a carpenter can do serious work (especially if Vim is the tool!)


Greens and flowers attract birds.

Birds and flowers

When I first came to the project it was mostly empty flat land. Over the years many trees and bushes have been planted. Every time a building was constructed the surroundings were also improved. Especially around the clinic and secondary school. Not only does this make the project look green and friendly, it also attracts various birds. I have seen swallows, weaver birds, herons and an Ibis. And several others I don't know what they are called.


Communication with Kibaale has always been a struggle. In the first years we could only use letters and fax. Then internet reached Masaka, and staff had to travel for an hour to visit an internet café. We had satellite internet for a while, but it was too expensive. Mobile operators brought data plans a few years ago, but the signal in Kibaale was very unreliable. Last year Airtel set up a booster tower with good signal, finally it works! It's a bit slow, but good enough for exchanging email and finding information on the Internet. With a bit of luck I can now send a question to the sponsorship office and receive an answer the same day. When the Airtel tower fails, which happens sometimes, MTN can be used. But the signal is weak, thus I brought several antennas to try out. One works reasonably well, thus MTN is now the backup connection. The next step will be to install WLAN, so that several people can share one subscription.
        Secondary students

Secondary school students are learning outside under a tree

The P3 class

Third class in the primary school

Business as usual

Most of the project runs very smooth now. It is very good to see that the project keeps going and helps hundreds of children and their families every day. Of course there are the individual success and failure stories.

One girl finished the catering class, worked at a hotel in Kyotera for a year and saved up enough money to go for a hotel management training. That is what we like to see: after our initial help the children manage to take care of themselves.

It doesn't always work, we do have dropouts. Every child is different and we have many that come from broken families, which has its effects on the children. A lot of effort is put into counselling. One boy was misbehaving and put "on hold" for a year, he had to attend special sessions. Now he is in his second year of high school, his motivation is back and he makes good progress.

Timothy center

Kibaale is our biggest site, where 831 children go for primary, secondary and vocational school. Higher level education is given in various schools, usually in cities. We were still missing a good quality A-levels school, thus we started one in Masaka last year. Only for girls now. The first group started their exams when I was there. The Timothy center is more than a school, it is setup as a learning center of various kinds. It is also used for teacher training. It is located next to a wetland, which gives it lovely views. We consider renting out some of the houses. Most of the Canadian volunteers live here now, Kibaale is run by our Ugandan staff.
        Timothy center

The Timothy center high school in Masaka

Future plans

We need more choices for professional training. We sometimes drop children because we can't find a fit for what they want to do. I have proposed starting an agricultural school. Perhaps combined with a research center. Most people in this area live from farming. If we can improve their harvest and make their crops less sensitive for diseases, that would help them tremendously. We know that quite a few of our children end up being a farmer, we better make sure they are well trained for that. The research center can help finding better types of food to grow. For example, one family I visited was suffering from a disease causing their Matoke plans not to produce any crops. If we can find a resistant kind of Matoke this would completely change their lives. If you know someone who could help set this up, let us know!

Bram Moolenaar

Read this report online:
It contains a link to an album with pictures.
Stichting ICCF Holland
Molenstraat 2
2161 HP Lisse
The Netherlands