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Dewode History

Dewode women at work in the fields

1997.  The women of Kobulubulu, after years of oppression by the Lords Resistance Army, and the aftermath of Idi Amin's regime, establish Dewode to improve their lives and those of their families, by beginning an agricultural programme.  Pauline Hardie, working in West Cumbria with a teacher from the area, became aware of the situation and established contact with the project co-ordinator Zena.

1998.  Pauline and Doug Hardie visit the area, establish contact and, informed by the women, assess needs and develop an action plan.  They realised that a regular support visit programme would be needed.  On returning home, they established a support group in West Cumbria, in which the Soroptimist International branch of Cockermouth and District were prominent.

A Dewode supplied sewing machine at work in 

The first monies raised, through a range of fund raising activities,were used to develop agriculture projects, and the women became self sufficient in crops, goats and chickens. They also received a foot powered sewing machine and two women were trained in tailoring skills. From the agricultural project, a brickmaking project was established to build secure henhouses, and as a local enterprise.

2000.  The next visit included Dr. Kate Fussell, and the womens idea for a Health Centre was discussed and agreed. Monies raised bought a meal grinding machine for village use and as a local enterprise. A link was established with a local priest to develop support to primary education and shipping for books was arranged through Scottish International Relief.

Oxen working on the Health Centre garden

Back in West Cumbria, the support group was granted Charitable status.  This visit was followed by a period of intense unrest, with major incursions by the Lords Resistance Army; children were abducted and brutalised.  Planned visits were deemed unsafe. Despite this, bricks continued to be produced and the foundations for the Health Centre were laid. The development of the agricultural project continued a pace.

Pauline helping with the construction of the Health Centre

2003.  This visit saw the Health Centre walls at roof height, & with a level of sustainability achieved, it was decided to concentrate our efforts on the development of the Health Centre.

2005.  By the next visit, the Health Centre was a completed shell and a tree planting project to provide building materials had begun.  Trustees also arranged a programme of visits to the local schools in receipt of support. Monies sent were used for completion of the Centre, medical supplies, building latrines and books for the schools support programme.

Health Centre

2007.  This visit saw the opening of the Health Centre, and the establishment of the Library of books in Kobulubulu,  the first schools resource in the area.  A recruitment process for the Health Workers was begun with Job Descriptions and an Employment Package. The women were given basic accountancy training to enable them to provide reports to the Trustees. The visiting volunteers supported the builders in their work at the Health Centre. The land around the Centre was cleared and cultivated for crops to be planted.

Helen (Dewode member) talking to a whole 
school on Health Issues

2008.  Two women were employed as health workers, with the support of area doctors. Local floods wipe out all crops and disrupt communications.  The next monies sent were used to buy new seeds for the Health Centre fields; to cover the first three months of the Health Workers costs and also to provide more resources for the Health Centre.

Pauline sorting books to 
be delivered to local schools

2009. Five staff had been appointed to the health centre;- a medical officer, a laboratory assistant, two nurses and a cleaner. Time was spent establishing routines and, purchasing equipment and drugs. Books were distributed to many remote schools out in the bush. The emphasis is now on fund raising, to pay staff salaries.

Completed staff accommodation; begun during 2010 

2010. Goods transported by Scottish International Relief were distributed. This included books for local schools. Maintenance was carried out at the Health Centre. Some floors were tiled. The construction of a new staff house for the nurses began. Additional support with Health Centre routines was given. A Health Centre Administrator, Yusuf, was appointed.

Yusuf tries out his new laptop & printer

2011. Maintenance of the Health Centre was carried out, around an increasing number of patients and new babies. Project members were incorporated into this work. A soak pit was dug to deal with maternity and laboratory waste - 18 feet deep!! A food preparation area / store was constructed. more floors were tiled. There is a weekly immunisation programme, supported by the Government. Dewode members benefit through a micro- finance scheme, that they have established. Zena has 'set up' a tailoring school. Yusuf has a developoment vision for the Health Centre.

2012.  During the summer members of our Dewode team travelled out from the UK to Kobulubulu and found the Health Centre continuing to be busy with both patients and new arrivals. A number of things have progressed since the last visit, including: A male ward has now been incorporated within the original building, and a new link has been developed with the local ginnery (which has re-opened), with the aim of encouraging the workforce to come and use the Health Centre. The New Roof The main focus of the visit was to complete the roofing on the staff houses. However,along with that task, it was possible to complete the Medical Officer’s accommodation and the nurse’s accommodation is now well on the way to completion. The visit also enabled other general maintenance to be carried out in and around the hospital; new recording and reporting structures were introduced, to further aid the overall organisation of the hospital. Even though time is always at a premium during these visits, it was once again possible to distribute a number of library books to the very grateful local schools.

2013.  Unfortunately it was not possible to make a visit during 2013. However, regular updates via e-mail showed the continuation of all the good work set in motion during the previous visit. Members of the committee continued with many fundraising events & given talks to a number of interested groups throughout Cumbria.

2014.  A visit was made this year and an outline of what was achieved can be found under the 'Latest Visit' section.

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Charity Commission Number 1091946