February 2019

Our team from Friends of UNIFAT (Patrick and Naume Odongkara, Chuck Esser and Pamela Haines) returned from UNIFAT School in Gulu, Uganda just before Christmas, 2018.

So much has been accomplished at UNIFAT School in the past year. The terms of members of the old School Management Committee (SMC) have expired and we constructed a very good group to replace them, headed by UNFAT’s old friend and author of our new handbook, Rev. Willy Olango. We also strengthened the Board of directors by adding a former SMC chair and electing him the new secretary.

We spent time visiting the different educational authorities in Gulu and talking about securing our land title, getting help with the future development plans for the school and just getting to know each other. UNIFAT has such a good reputation in Gulu that we discovered the district education head has his children at UNIFAT and the deputy head mayor is on our School Management Committee.

We met with teachers and staff and for the first year in a long time found people very happy with the school. Part of this is because our tightening of financial systems has allowed them to be paid on time every month this past year. We always learn about how to improve our functioning in these meetings but the issues brought up this year were mostly ones the Board is already thinking about.

One of our goals was to deliver new computers and computer programs that will facilitate transparency and accuracy in our record keeping. We did this, and key personnel at the school are busy learning new systems. One computer will also be for the teachers and others to learn computer skills and we have just hired a consultant to do this training.

A major highlight is always being present for the end of term celebrations and seeing the amazing work the teachers have done with the students. This year we also were able to have a meeting with alumni, many of whom have children in UNIFAT now. It looks as if a strong alumni organization is forming and will undertake key projects in our development strategy.

Our fundraising efforts have allowed us to take on a number of needed projects. You can see the photos of the new toilets and the repair and beautification of the front wall. We are also equipping the nursery classrooms with locally-made toys. There is still a long list of things we want to do, so we look forward to your continued support.

Even though Friends of UNIFAT mostly focuses on capital projects, there is also a need for providing scholarships for orphans and poor students at UNIFAT who have been supported in the past. Each scholarship, which includes meals, uniforms and books, is about $350 a year. We only have about half the funds we need for this year. Consider making a additional donation to help these students.