Throughout the months of May, June, July and August we had a steady stream of International volunteers at Suubi who participated in a variety of activities. During this time there were many exciting things happening at the centre and much was learned by both the volunteers and Ugandans. You can read about these incredible four months on the 2012 trip blog.
While the majority of volunteers were from Australia, we were also very pleased to have Msangi Sulaiman, a Tanzanian, who spent almost two week with us. He was part of a three country mentoring program being run between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. This is being overseen by The East African Civil Society Watchdog Project which focuses on sustainable development in the Lake Victoria basin. This group is in fact 'watch dogging' government run development projects across the three countries in the hope of shining a light on governments’ accountability. It is expected that this will help to make sure that the limited government and donor funds available are being used in the most effective and cost efficient ways.
As part of the Watchdog Project, two participants from each country were selected to visit successfully run projects in one of their neighbouring countries. This year Suubi Centre was chosen, as one of only two project in Uganda, to have the Tanzanian participants learn from their experience.
Sulaiman spent his time at Suubi Centre being mentored by Ssemwogere David in the hope that he will take already successfully proven skills and knowledge back to projects in Tanzania. With thriving projects like Suubi, in all three countries, willing to share their ideas so others can learn, it is envisaged that development practises in all participating countries will improve.
While Sulaiman learnt lots from David administratively while at Suubi, he was also expertly shown by Kateitwa Ishmael, many of the successful projects which externally run and are co-ordinated by Suubi Centre. Some of these included visiting school gardens, mushroom and piggery projects and coffee farming.
Sulaiman, left was impressed by the size and quality of the vegetables and fruit grown in the Suubi demonstration garden.
He recorded information about many of the projects he visited, such as the coffee farm at Faasi's place. This will be invaluable when it comes to sharing the skills he has learnt.
A visit to OMODING Primary School to see their school garden proved to be very fruitful.
Sulaiman (C) learnt much from his mentors, Ssemwogerere David (L) and Kateitwa Ishmael (R) during his time at Suubi Centre.
We all agree that much was learnt during the mentoring program this year. It is wonderful to know that Suubi is teaching people in other countries about sustainable development and hopefully some time in the future we will be hearing about a similar project to Suubi Centre in Tanzania.
It has been exciting to see the Suubi Clinic with an increased number of patients over the last few weeks. This may be due to the arrival of new medical equipment which arrived from Australia in late June, the onset of the malaria season, or more likely that people are now feeling very confident about Suubi Clinic and the reliable, high quality care and services they are able to receive.
But it isn't just the sick that are benefiting from the clinic. Late last month we began offering immunisation sessions for babies and pregnant mothers every Monday. On the very first day we were excited to have 12 mothers and children turn up. However word of month is obviously spreading the news of the new service at Suubi Clinic and we have been thrilled to see the numbers steadily increasing each week since then; 22 treated last Monday!
The last few weeks have seen the expansion of the Suubi mushroom project really taking off.
Parents from two of our Ugandan partner schools, Omoding PS and Sharon PS, have shown a real commitment, over a number of months, to demonstrate how keen they are to learn the skills of mushroom growing. These two schools will now become satellite centres for Suubi, whereby both the school itself and the parents will be able to earn an income from their mushroom growing. This is bound to alleviate some of the pressure associated with school fees, educational expenses and purchasing resources for the school.
As both of these schools are quite a distance from Suubi, it required the school community to build a mushroom house at their respective schools. The inexpensive construction is made from bush poles, local vines, mud, and is finished off with a grass roof.
Omoding parents hard at work constructing a mushroom house earlier this year.
Sharon Primary Schools completed mushroom house.
These houses at the schools are now being used as part of the demonstration as parents and teachers take on the practical training. Eventually they will be where the schools mushrooms are grown from.
With their mushroom house complete, interested parents from both schools undertook the theoretical training earlier this year and just last week, they completed the practical training. Each step of the process to successfully grow mushrooms was clearly explained and then demonstrated to them by the ladies from Suubi Centre.
Namirembe Rose, from Suubi Centre, passes on skills of how break apart the mushroom spore to parents at Omoding Primary School.
The Suubi Ladies demonstrate how to pack polythene bags with coffee husks in readiness for planting the mushroom spore.
Hands on training gave all the participants an opportunity to distribute mushroom spore into coffee husk filled bags of their own. They will now be able to watch as the crop progresses.
And then the bags were placed on racks inside the mushroom houses.
The newly planeted spore will remain in complete darkness inside the mushroom house for approximately 2 weeks. At this point, tiny mushrooms will start to appear from the holes which were made in the polythene bags and they will simply require watering each morning and night. Within a month the schools will be able to start harvesting their mushrooms!
With the full training now complete, parents from each of the schools are starting to construct mushroom houses at their own homes. Solar mushroom driers have been provided at each of the schools and these will be available for all participating school community members to use.
The mushroom solar drier at Sharon PS under construction.
Omoding teachers and parents check out their new solar drier.
With three groups (Suubi Centre, Omoding PS and Sharon PS) all participating in mushroom growing we now have a greater capacity to grow larger quantities. Our aim is to find additional markets closer to Suubi Centre, in addition to the dried mushroom we currently ship to western Uganda for export sale. This of course will mean a greater profit for all those involved. What a wonderful outcome!
Check out the progress after just 3 short weeks!
We would like to say a huge welcome to our newest edition at Suubi Centre. Usually on this website you would have seen Namwange Florence, our Suubi Clinic nurse and midwife, delivering other women's babies. Recently however, we were all thrilled when she gave birth to her own beautiful little daughter. Arriving 11 days late, the baby weighed in at a very healthy 3.7kg. Florence has decided to name her 'Hope', which seems absolutely perfect when you know that Suubi is the lugandan word for hope!
Congratulations to Florence on the safe arrival of baby 'Hope'.