If you’ve been following our 15 Christian bloggers on their trip to Uganda you’ve seen only a glimpse of what it’s like to live in extreme poverty. It’s an outside view of Compassion’s ministry.
Today we begin a series of blog posts from staffers of Compassion Uganda who will give you an inside look into how Compassion’s ministry operates among the poorest of the poor.
What happens if a sponsored child needs an expensive operation? Or if his home is destroyed by a natural disaster? That’s where Compassion’s Complementary Intervention (CIV) program comes in.
CIV seeks to strengthen the ministry’s core programs by providing for needs that go above and beyond child sponsorship. CIV includes a number of ministry areas, including the AIDS Initiative, the Medical Fund, and Disaster Relief.
Jessica Masanganzira is the CIV Administrator for Uganda, and she is able to daily provide for the needs of children and church partners in this poverty-stricken country.
I have seen many successes in the CIV program in Uganda. The water program, for one, has helped many communities here, and it has contributed a lot towards improving the health of the children and immediate families.
In the Mulatsi Child Development Center, for example, an average of 32 children each month had diarrhea infections and abdominal pains due to the consumption of contaminated water. After installation of the borehole (a kind of well), medical expenses reduced by 23 percent, distances children traveled to fetch water reduced from 5 to 2 kilometers, and their classroom grades improved by 13 percent to date.
Another CIV project that has had great success in Uganda has been the nutrition training we have provided for children and caregivers. As a result of poverty and low levels of education, inadequate feeding, and lack of knowledge on children’s nutritional requirements, there is a high rate of malnutrition among newly registered children.
On average, 28 percent of children are reported malnourished and yet Compassion cannot continually provide nutritional support for all. Some families can barely afford a single meal a day and only get a reasonable meal only on center days at the project. This was hindering health, social and emotional development.The practical nutrition trainings and demonstration projects have led to improved health among children.
In one of the benefiting projects, Kisoro Child Development Center, malnutrition has dropped to 12 from 68 cases in a period of one year. Children and caregivers learned the nutrition requirements for children, trained in modern farming and animal-rearing methods, food preservation and storage to cater for dry seasons; horticulture and fruit growing, too, have been promoted at the projects and in children’s families.
I pray that CIV will continue to eliminate key child development barriers for the families in our programs. As we are educating and helping children and families, I believe we are changing our whole country. CIV works!