Monday 3rd April 2017
Fred Taban and I spent the morning planning a programme and preparing for the arrival of Bishop Emmanuel (Patron of CRESS) and Bishop Joseph (Executive Chairman of CRESS) who are arriving in Entebbe this afternoon. The next two days will be spent in business meetings, discussing leadership issues, networking with other charities and relaxing together, allowing the Uganda team to rest after a very difficult period for them.
I was thinking back over last week’s visit to the north. One of the big problems of living on a refugee camp is the shortage of firewood to heat food and water. The trees and shrubs within and immediately surrounding the camp are protected with a large red cross painted on them, so they cannot be cut down. This means that women and girls have to go further afield and away from the safety of the camp environment to collect fuel. In this situation, they are often set upon and physically or sexually abused.
However, when driving through the Ugandan countryside, we were struck by the large numbers of people selling charcoal beside the road. Charcoal burns hotter and slower than firewood so it is a much more efficient use of this valuable resource.
It occurred to us that if this could be provided to CRESS families, the women wouldn’t have to go in search of firewood. A bag of charcoal costs around 30,000 Ugandan shillings (£6) and would last a family about two weeks. We, therefore, gave Fred Taban $100 and asked him to purchase some bags of charcoal and deliver it to CRESS families in the camps as a pilot scheme to find out if it could work on a larger scale. We will keep everyone posted about how successful this is as we could potentially invite CRESS supporters to sponsor a bag of charcoal.
Thanks for reading. More thoughts and reflections tomorrow.