Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Looking Up in Uganda

Todd: The Africa trip that started in May in South Africa ended in June in Uganda. Dave Ryder, PEER Servants Board Chairman, and I spent a week with Christian Action for Empowering Church and Community (CAFECC), our Ugandan microfinance partner. It was a very encouraging week.

To say that CAFECC has struggled since their inception may be somewhat of an understatement. Sustainable, transformational microfinance is not easy -- indeed 90% of MFIs never become operationally sustainable (covering all of their operating expenses from the interest and fees they charge). But it is the goal of every PEER Servants microfinance partner to become sustainable. And not only sustainable, but transformational. For the few MFIs that can become sustainable, many give up on becoming highly transformational because they see it as too expensive and too much a threat to their sustainability. CAFECC and every other PEER Servants partner is trying to become sustainable and transformational. May God bless their path and the services we can provide to encourage them along that path!

We were very encouraged with the progress CAFECC is making. Much of this is the result of two key positions being filled within the past 18 months or so. First, James Kepo became the CAFECC Board Chairman, He is very dedicated to the success of CAFECC, and very competent to oversee its pursuit of realizing its vision. James spearheaded the hiring of Patrick Obija (right in picture) into the position of CAFECC Accountant and Acting Executive Director. Patrick has done a fantastic job in this role and CAFECC is now making great progress to becoming a sustainable MFI. Patrick works with two loan officers -- Jimmy Lumago and Mambo Charles (left and middle in picture). They, too, are very dedicated and competent at what they do. Together, they are bringing hope to the people of northern Uganda and the opportunity to not only be transformed, but to become an agent of transformation.

Our time with CAFECC was spent primarily on training Patrick in key areas to effectively lead the organization and report on their results. It wasn't all work - we had great times of fellowship, complete with one of my favorite foods in northern Uganda -- white ant paste. It is really good!

If reading this makes you a little "antsy" to join us on a future trip to northern Uganda, let us know! You will be tremendously blessed and enriched by the people of northern Uganda. God has made them rich in many ways. As a result, we, too, are becoming rich.