Study Tour
Team 2007
Join me on a jouney to discover a really great non-government organization (NGO) called
Canadian Physicians for Aid & Relief

Partnering with

  • vulnerable communities

To overcome

  • poverty
  • build healthy communities

CPAR holds that everything is connected

  • Without adequate forest cover, soils become depleted
  • Without fertile soil, food production declines, and the threat of hunger increases
  • Without secure food supplies and clean water, good health is impossible

They’re convinced that

  • Health is created and sustained by the environmental, physical and social conditions that affect people living in a particular community.

Canada, like other industrialized nations, provides international development assistance to developing countries in the form of
•the transfer of knowledge and skills, and
•financial contributions
All of Canada's assistance (with the exception of emergency aid and disaster relief) aims to improve the quality of life for children, women and men with sustainable development programs.
None of this makes CPAR particularly unique from any other NGO.
What makes them great (in my opinion) is
Their word; they do what they say.
Their commitment to sustainability; no project that I saw or heard about is a bottomless vortex for western money.
Their indigenous nature;once we were on the ground in Uganda I never saw a western staffer.
So, with that in mind, what are the projects that are in Uganda that our Study Tour visited?

CPAR Uganda Projects

The gold letter bullet points are the projects the study tour team visited:
Income generation – looks like micro-credit and revolving loans to small businesses.
Food Security – looks like crop diversification and agroforestry.
Water and Sanitation – looks like deep well drilling, healthy pit latrines as well as promoting sanitation and hygiene education.
Peace building – looks like
•community-based counseling for war-affected youth and their families and like community-based reconciliation initiatives.
landmine education and awareness. - Looks like learning to identify UXOs and how to report those unexploded ordinences to the national army.

So, let’s begin to take a look at some of these projects.

Food Security

This farmer is an excellent example of CPAR’s Food Security initiatives. He is involved with Agroforestry.

Agro-Forestry is a collective name for
land use systems and practices in which woody perennials
•(such as this farmer's citrus trees)
are deliberately integrated with crops
•(his pineapples and beans)
as a way to manage space and to leverage an economic advantage.
This man was a great guy to spend time with! He was so proud of his farming and thankful to CPAR for the kick-start he needed to get up and running on his own.

Food Security

This woman’s group waited all day for us to arrive. For sure Africa is all about hurrying-up to wait!!
When we arrived they sang and cheered African styled! Hospitality also often involved a bottle of coke.

At every single CPAR project stop we heard introductions of who each person was and we returned the greeting with who we were and where we were from. At every stop (to the best of my recollection) we signed guest books!

My signature is all over Northern Uganda!

Animal Traction

The women of the Adyeda Parish were trained by CPAR in Animal Traction (where I come from we call it plowing).
CPAR bought the cows and plow and now this women’s group grow their own crops for market.

This same women's group was also trained in how to build energy efficient stoves.
In turn these woman go out into their community and teach other woman how to build energy efficient stoves. These stoves reduce the in-hut smoke by (it seemed to me) more than 50% (piped out the hut) and burned the wood at (I think I remember) 1/3 of the usual rate!
Both of these advantages help with the individual’s health and the environment.
CPAR works on the model of “we’ll train you and then you train others." By using this method, reports indicate that up to 800 households are now using energy-saving stoves which are produced using local recycled materials.

Food Security

More food security initiatives.
From 2005
1. the out put of this tree nursery has increased from 1M to 1.5 M stems of seedlings. They nursery has also increased their seed beds to a total of three.
2.Their membership in the co-operative has grown from 13 to 20.
3.The project has succeeded in attracting customers from beyond their own district. 4.The trees they grow are used for wood fuel and lumber for building constructionand are now in plenty especially as the eucalyptus trees have reached consumption level
5.The Nen Antim co-op has developed a good relationship with the National Environmental Management authority of Uganda
6.The members of the local community can gain casual employment especially at the time of
•seedbed preparation and
•seedling packing during marketing season.

With this kind of success the families of the co-operative have been able to
•put up permanent residential houses,
•acquire bicycles to ease transport of their products (if you can call using a bike easy transport) and
•generally improve their own lifestyle standards!
It was a really cool project to be able to witness.
They have Vision for the Future:
•They would love to be able to expand to places even further away and open up branches in those places.
•They’d like to be able to envision a future time when their families and their neighbourhood will have medicinal trees (like the orringa, neem and lodine). These trees will enable the community to
combat diseases such as malaria as well as enable them to treat open wounds and general sickness. If they can do this they will be able to participate in reducing the stress on the present lacking health care system (if you can call it that) and the cost to the families for treatment and prescriptions.

The Acholi people are hardworking and a resourceful people. When given the seed money for getting ahead they will get up and go on their own.
There a . . .


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Water & Sanitation

Water Resourcing and Sanitation Practices is another CPAR project our study tour visited.
Construction of:
•shallow wells and
•deep bore hole wells as well as
•latrine construction
promote sanitation and hygiene education opportunities. The shallow wells can be easily contaminated by what ever is around it. So after building the well CPAR trains volunteers who will train others on how to keep their water source secure and safe from contamination.
Look at this bike! (below)
It’s a one size fits all when it comes to bikes in Uganda.
Each one of these yellow water containers (all water containers were yellow) can hold 10 Litres.

This guy has 30 litres loaded on a bike that’s far too big for him.
We needed a 4x4 to get us to this well.
I wonder how far he has to peddle.

MDD: Music, Dance & Drama

Clean water, sanitation and hygiene are fundamental to community health and have therefore long been a core component of CPAR’s work.
Basic water and sanitation efforts include
•the construction of water points
using appropriate technologies such as spring cropping (protecting existing springs)
•bore holes (deep wells) and
•rainwater harvesting, as well as
•the construction of improved pit latrines and
•hand washing facilities.
I saw only one hole in the ground toilet that had no water container (with spigot) and soap bar located directly beside the latrines.
Through these efforts, CPAR is helping communities to protect themselves by managing the vectors of disease (I’m still getting used to AID Agency vernacular).
These efforts are also supporting women whose labor burden is reduced when water sources are constructed closer to home.
Hygiene training is also conducted as part of this work.
Once local community groups (clubs) are trained to teach the skills – then teaching takes place using Music, Drama and Dance (or MDD).
The picture in the top left is an academy award winner (in my books). The woman playing the role of the man was brilliant.
This character is the head of one house that will not follow CPAR’s rules of sanitation and hygiene. He/she thinks they’re stupid until he just about dies from a water born illness. After that he becomes the obnoxious neighbour who is telling everybody about CPAR’s clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs and insisting they “get on board.”

I had lots of dance pictures I could have put in here but I decided to give you “Sponge Bob Boy” as a way of reminding myself to show you his dance. I’m sure he is the leader of this threesome and they’re great. Watch…

Armed Conflict Leaves its Scares

In Northern areas of Acholiland, there has been armed resistance against the government forces since 1986. The only remaining rebel group and the one that has been causing the most devastation is the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This army is led by an intelligent and (I’m sure) demonized man called Joseph Kony.
For more than 20 years, communities in Northern Uganda have been devastated by the ongoing conflict between the LRA and UPDF (or government forces). The results of the conflict have been deadly. Thousands including children, have been killed, injured, maimed or abductedwhile more than 1.6 million people have been forced to live in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps where living conditions fall far below even the most basic international standards.
The deadly results of living in IDP camps has far surpassed the deaths of men women and children in the armed conflict.

Landmine Risk Education

CPAR was the first Canadian organizations to begin landmines related activities in Northern Uganda and has become a local leader in Mines Risk Education.
CPAR works with Community leaders to establish clubs (teams) in communities and IDP camps who are trained on identifying mines and other UXO’s (unexploded ordinances).
The club members are also trained on the proper protocols for what to do if a UXO is found. These groups (which most often include survivors of landmines), then educate others in the community primarily through Music Dance & Drama (MDD).
They also use T-shirts and posters that serve to educate on how to identify landmines and especially UXOs.
Identifying means leaving landmarks to indicate where the potential threat lie:
1.For the other community members to avoid and
2.For the UPDF to locate

Music, Dance & Drama

Here are more MDD activities being performed for their foreign guests.
The great crowds that gathered for us also served as another teaching forum for CPAR’s community club members.

Micro Credit & Income Generation

CPAR supports individuals
(like these two guys and their Ugandan style “Kinko’s” store!!)

in starting small business and income generating schemes through
•skill training,
•small business management training,
•increased access to credit
•small loans and
•through provision of tools and other resources.

Many things are accomplished through this type of support;
the highest being, perhaps, the aid in restoring human dignity.

Micro Credit Con't. . .

All CPAR projects are specifically designed to become self-sustaining so that the people may become self-sufficient – which also contributes to restoring dignity to the war-torn and emotionally traumatized Acholi peoples of Northern Uganda.

This woman (an amputee) and her husband used the micro-credit opportunity to start this small general store in Pajule
– one of the areas most hard hit by the 20 year conflict.
Income generation initiatives contribute to increased food security and health care
beginning in individual families and
spreading to the community.