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Facing the food crisis together

Group of people in Uganda standing behind bags of food

Conflict, climate catastrophes, and the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed people in East Africa to a crisis-level food shortage.  According to a report by World Vision, over 7.8 million people in the region are facing starvation, and an additional 26 million people in the region are living on the brink.  The United Nations reports that over 12.8 million children in East Africa are severely malnourished.  

Large-scale flooding and an inundation of desert locusts in late 2019 through 2020 caused crop devastation and led to a sharp economic downturn.  When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2021, it only exasperated the continuing food crisis with its lockdowns.  Farmers could not tend to or harvest crops, and people living in urban areas in eastern Africa became stranded with limited food access.  

According to an article written by Godfrey Olukya for AA News, members of the Uganda parliament have begun urging the government to move some of those living in urban areas back to their rural villages where they would have better access to food supplies.  When questioned by AA News about the food crisis, Thomas Kapo Kigozi, a local leader in Uganda, said, “Many of us are either starving or on the verge of starvation.  Police have blocked all roads to the city center.  We are asking the government to provide us free transport to take us to our villages.” 

ROWAN continues to work to help the people in our Uganda villages as they face this food crisis.  Recently, Kelsey Hargadine, a founding member of ROWAN, held a birthday drive that raised close to $4000 for additional food supplies for our Ugandan members.  And last week, Kremmling Community Church gave ROWAN a $5000 donation for much-need food supplies for our widows and orphans in Uganda.  We are currently serving close to 400 families in our Ugandan villages, and these donations will allow us to give each family around $25 for the month.  While $25 may not seem like a lot to some of us, it means a great deal to those who receive it.  

Two women sitting near a bag of food 

We are so grateful for each of you who have donated to our food campaigns.  In addition to helping provide much-needed food supplies for our Ugandan families, your donations are letting each of them know they matter and are loved.   

All photos courtesy of Bob Ditty.

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Food is Life!

 

While the pandemic has brought hardship and struggle to the world, some of us have fared better than others. Many of us have been able to shop online for food and other things, with front door deliveries. We have made use of curbside pickup and Instacart shoppers. And most of us have been able to shop inside grocery and other stores as needed. I am grateful to God for the relative ease of feeding my family during such a hard time.

 

Our friends in Uganda are facing something wholly different. Due to rising cases of Covid-19 in country, Uganda began a 42 day lockdown on June 19. People may not leave their homes unless for medical emergencies. This has put people in the ROWAN villages in a dangerous situation as they have no way to get food to sustain themselves for this long period. ROWAN asked for your help and you came through! Last week, Paster Paul and our ROWAN team (under the watchful eye of Security officers) were able to distribute food to our widows and orphans. 

Maize and beans made ready for distribution outside at Mwanga Hall of Hope.
Pastor Paul and Isaac Malinga, ROWAN Board Chair, witness the food distribution process along with police officers.

Without the generosity of donors this would not have been possible. And we’re not done yet! To sustain each person through the lockdown we need to purchase and deliver more food. Please consider giving, anything you can, to our Food to Families campaign, and help us be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to our faithful widows and orphans in the villages who need to eat. All of the money raised from this campaign is going toward the purchase of food supplies during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 

Their faces! Happy beneficiaries of food send thanks and God’s blessing to donors and sponsors.

Pastor Paul just sent this message:

 

“Good evening to you all,

Thank you for your prayers, we made it.  Everyone was excited with the food given to them—God Bless you all abundantly.

 

You may wonder why we didn’t use the Bus.  The first point was that the Kilos were too many for the Bus, secondly the roads are too bad for the Bus when packed with food, thirdly the police we had didn’t allow us because when you carry people in a Bus it can easily spread the virus, so that is why we had to use the truck.

 

But the most important thing we thank God is that we were allowed to buy food and we were able to distribute it to them.

 

Thank you so much for your help.

Talk to you soon.”

 

Pastor Paul Nyende

 

Being hungry and not being fed takes a toll on the mind, body, and spirit. Thank you for continuing to help us alleviate this most basic need for our Ugandan brothers and sisters in Christ. He is the bread of life and we give Him thanks! 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

Planning for the Future

Board and staff learning together


While Uganda fights Covid-19 with a second lockdown, God’s people don’t stop caring for one another.  Just two months ago in April, 2021, the ROWAN board and staff gathered for a two-day leadership workshop in Iganga Town.  Pastor Paul and others led the team in activities based on the theme, “Fulfilling our Role and Calling”.  Pastor encouraged the close-to-20 team members there to see their work as a divine calling which should be honored and observed.

 

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”  1 Peter 4:10 

 

The board and staff created and took ownership of the following FIVE goals:

 

  1. To work in love harmony and unity with colleagues.
  2. To ensure ethical conduct while at place of work
  3. To ensure workplan development and integrity while at work
  4. To ensure timely report development and submission
  5. To ensure team work and time management in work processes

Pastor Paul welcomed four new board members and four new staff members. Their names and roles are as follows:

 

NEW BOARD MEMBERS:

 

Malinga Isaac…Board Chair & in charge of Health Affairs

Sam Davis Kuloba…Organizing Secretary & in charge of Sponsor Affairs

Tom Musira…..Secretary &in charge of Human Resource Affairs Edith Edith Nyende…………Board member & in charge of Entrepreneurship & Farm Management

 

NEW STAFF MEMBERS:

 

Onyango Valiriano…..Farm Manager

Nkonoka Scovia………Sponsor relation staff-1

Rachael Babirye………Sponsor Relation staff-2)

Joy Namuganza………Project Officer

 

Pastor Paul with three new board members who will use their experiences, talents, and skills for transforming the ROWAN organization in even better ways.

 

New ROWAN staff: From left, Onyango Valiriano (Farm Manager), Nkonoka Scovia (Sponsor relation staff-1), Rachael Babirye (Sponsor Relation staff-2), and Joy Namuganza (Project Officer)

All those who participate in ROWAN programs appreciate and are blessed by the hard working board and staff. May God give strength to each of the 20 team members who follow HIM and work together as a team to care for so many widows and orphans.

 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Uganda.

Ugandan Landscape

Uganda is currently being hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19 infections.  In speaking with a BBC news correspondent,  Henry Mwebesa, the Director-General of Health Services at the Health Ministry, said that it took less than 10 days for the second wave of infections to reach levels seen in a full-scale pandemic.  The steep rise in cases is believed to be due in part to the arrival in Uganda of the new variants of the virus that have been seen in India and South Africa.  These new variants are more infectious and have been shown to have a higher hospitalization rate.  In her article for VOA News, Halima Athumani shared statistics that highlight the exponential growth of COVID-19 infections in Uganda; Ms. Athumani reported that for the week of April 25, there were 256 new COVID-19 cases reported but by the week of May 16th, new COVID-19 cases in Uganda had risen to 1060.  In addition to the arrival of the new, more infectious, variants of the virus, Uganda is facing a vaccine shortage emergency.  According to news reports in Uganda, the existing supply of COVID-19 vaccines has run out, and it is unknown when future shipments of the vaccine may arrive.  The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, is expected to address the country on Sunday with an update on the COVID-19 crisis and the actions the government is going to take to try to slow the spread of the virus.

Bike leaning against in fence in Uganda

The second wave has seen the COVID-19 virus reach the communities ROWAN serves.  Even though our communities have not had any COVID-19 cases over the past year, ROWAN has been working hard to help people in our communities be as knowledgeable and as prepared as possible for the arrival of the COVID-19 virus.  While our ROWAN team in Uganda is doing all they physically can to help our community members weather this storm, we also know there is tremendous power in prayer.  There is a quote by Angus Buchan that says, “There is power in prayer.  When men work, they work.  But when men pray, God works.”  We have seen firsthand the power of prayer in action and we are standing with our community members, our Ugandan team, and the Ugandan people in prayer.   Please, join us in praying for our ROWAN communities and for the people of Uganda as they face this new threat. 

 

All photos in this post are by Bob Ditty

 

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Learning how to build better businesses

Man Teaching a class

 

We recently partnered with Neema Development, a biblical-based business training company, to get our ROWAN Ugandan staff trained on a new business program module.  Once all of our ROWAN staff is fully trained, they will be able to incorporate the training they received from Neema into our Widow’s Legacy Program.  We also plan on incorporating this training into our higher-level education programs. 

During the first group of sessions with Neema Development, we had 14 ROWAN staff members in attendance.  They were all excited and eager to learn.  These sessions covered things like marketing, business management, business operational skills, customer care, and the understanding of new business trends. 

 

At the conclusion of these sessions, our staff members all felt more confident in their understanding of the foundations needed to start a new business.  Our ROWAN staff members also said they appreciated the way the trainers from Neema Development referenced the bible throughout the training and they loved learning about the concept of “Purpose” and how it relates to business.  We are so grateful for our partnership with Neema Development and for the opportunity it gives ROWAN to further help our widows and children build a better future for themselves.   

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Ripples of Goodness

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

This is Josan Mpina.  As a child, he was orphaned and faced an uncertain future until help came in the form of sponsorship through ROWAN from the Beason family.  The Beason’s helped fund Josan’s education and in February of 2020, he was able to graduate from the mason skills and building practices program.  To celebrate this huge accomplishment, the Beason’s bought Josan the tools he would need to be able to work in his new industry.

In a letter he wrote at the end of his sponsorship, Josan spoke of his gratitude for ROWAN, its leadership, and his beloved sponsors.  He also expressed his appreciation for the love that he, “a needy orphan” received and for the fact that people were willing to advocate “for a person like me.”  

When we say that we are grateful for each of our sponsors and donors, we are speaking words from our hearts.  Your help allows ROWAN to be able to do the work that our Savior exemplified during his mortal ministry – that of loving and serving our fellow men.  What a blessing that is.  What a blessing you are.  

We wish each of you a beautiful Easter filled with the peace that is found in Christ.

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

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