We’re in Africa Now! Follow our Live Blog

Devaki with Mwebaza penpalsDevaki Douillard, our Development Assistant, is currently visiting our partner schools in Uganda and Kenya. She is posting daily blogs with the latest updates of our progress with lots of great pics too! If you’re a student, leave a comment with your penpal’s name and she might be able to post a photo of them and a greeting! If you’re not a student, she’d still love to hear your comments and thoughts. She is working on documentary interviews, scholarship programs, solar panel purchases, 2 new school building constructions, and sustainable lunch programs. Whew!

Follow her on this exciting journey from June 30th-July 26th. Go to the Africa Trip blog!

Coyote Ridge Fundraiser Day

DSC_002596ca58This spring, Coyote Ridge Elementary held a multifaceted fundraiser for their partner school, St. Paul Primary School, in Uganda. Throughout the day, Dale Peterson and Devaki Douillard from the Mwebaza Foundation, updated classes about this year’s progress at their African partner school. This day was also “Hat Day”, where students were given permission to wear a hat all day long if they donate one dollar or more to their partner school. At the end of the day, student and parent volunteers sold beautiful African beaded jewelry and other small gifts, donated by the Wandishin Family from Coyote Ridge Elementary. In total, Coyote Ridge Elementary raised $2,180.86 to be used to finish construction of the new school building at St. Paul!

School Building Construction Update

SCAN0027As we broke ground for the new school buildings at Nkungulutale and Nkokonjeru, we quickly realized that it was a more efficient use of resources to concentrate on constructing one school at a time. So we decided to complete St. Paul Primary School’s building first, before constructing a new secondary school at Nkungulutale. This is due to the fact that St. Paul School is already serving children in a shed-like structure with dirt floors.

After months of hard work preparing the site and laying the foundation, the walls went up, the bathrooms and hand washing stations were installed, and once the roof is on, the new primary school at St. Paul will be complete! We will soon move our attention to the construction of Nkungulutale’s new secondary school that will also serve graduating students from Mwebaza Primary School. We estimate this school will be completed much faster since it is not located in such a remote area and since our contractors are familiar with the design of the school building, which is identical in design to the building, constructed for St. Paul students.

Oversight, Assistance, Relationships: Summer Trip, 2013

DSC_0416This summer, the Mwebaza Foundation had an incredible group of volunteers travel to our partner schools in Africa. The President and Founder of the Mwebaza Foundation, Dale Peterson, organized and led the group through the variety of projects on which our team was working. Devaki Douillard, the Foundation’s first full-time employee, accompanied the team to document every aspect of the trip on film. John Mees, a retired Longmont optometrist, tested the vision of the students and teachers of Mwebaza Primary School and the community members as well. Mary Jane Mees, a local Kindergarten teacher and coach of the Love and Logic curriculum, directed a training program for the teachers of Mwebaza Primary School and St. Paul Primary School on effective classroom management. Jenna Olschlager, the music teacher at Niwot Elementary, taught the students at Mwebaza Primary School American songs and dances, while learning traditional African songs and dances to share with the students at Niwot Elementary. Kaitlin Litchfield and Leigh Gilmore, two practicum students from the Engineering in Developing Communities graduate program at CU, Boulder, oversaw the construction of the two new school buildings that the Mwebaza Foundation is currently building, and developed a maintenance manual for the water sterilization system and waterless toilets at both schools. It was a very productive and inspiring trip that has strengthened our relationship with our African partner schools.

New School Construction Underway

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The design for the new schools at Nkungulutale and St. Paul includes four classrooms that surround a covered gathering space, a kitchen, office, utility room and a detached toilet facility. The classrooms will have lots of natural light and will also include electricity for lighting and technology provided by a solar power system planned for the roof of each school. Rainwater will be collected from the roofs of the school buildings and toilet facilities in order to provide drinking and washing water. The layout of the school is intended to enhance access to future school projects, including gardens, orchards, and chicken yards.

Welcome, Ms. Namatovu Catherine!

After a long couple of years and two previous, frustrating attempts, Ms. Namatovu Catherine, the headmistress of Mwebaza School, will set foot in the U.S. for the very first time!  On Monday, December 5th, she will arrive in Denver for a lengthy 3 ½ week stay in Colorado.   After years of anticipation, so many teachers, staff members, students, and parents are eagerly waiting her arrival.

Several key components allowed us to finally secure a travel visa for Ms. Namatovu.  These include Mwebaza Foundation President Dale Peterson’s recent award from People to People International, Congressman Jared Polis’ staff working to convince the U.S. embassy in Uganda of Ms. Namatovu’s integrity, and the help of a generous immigration lawyer from Boulder (Megan Hall, Green & Gardner Law Firm).  Ms. Hall assisted Ms. Namatovu in assembling a portfolio showing her strong ties to her home country.  Of course, much credit can be attributed to Ms. Namatovu’s hard work, persistence, and faith.

During her stay in Colorado, Ms. Namatovu has a busy and exciting agenda planned.  After a short time to recuperate from traveling, she will be visiting and observing classrooms at Niwot Elementary, as well as giving classroom presentations to Niwot students about Mwebaza School and Ugandan culture.  Then, on December 15th, there will be a culminating, all-school, “All-American” celebration in honor of the cross-cultural friendship between Niwot and Mwebaza schools.  In addition to spending time at Niwot Elementary, Ms. Namatovu will be visiting Coyote Ridge, Lyons, and Eagle Crest Elementary Schools, where she will deliver more classroom presentations.

Sprinkled amongst her work at schools, Ms. Namatovu will be enjoying a myriad of social events, including holiday gatherings, sight-seeing, dinners out, and even spending the holiday in Durango and Colorado Springs with the Peterson family.  New experiences such as sledding, a Narrow Gauge Train ride, and a visit to Garden of the Gods and Seven Falls will culminate her travels.

It is with gratitude and warmth that we welcome Ms. Namatovu to Colorado!

MF Given Matching Funds Grant from Heaven’s Hope for School Construction!

The Mwebaza Foundation recently was granted $25,000 from the Heaven’s Hope Foundation of Boulder.  The Heaven’s Hope Foundation has worked closely with the Mwebaza Foundation in the past on several projects including the egg-laying chickens and keyhole gardens projects at Mwebaza and St. Paul Schools in Uganda, and the rainwater collection project at Mwebaza School.

The grant was given for the purpose of building a school for 10-14-year-old students on land purchased by the Mwebaza Foundation for Mwebaza School, and for building a new school building to replace the crumbling school buildings at St. Paul School.  This grant represents about half the amount that will be needed to complete these two projects.

Heaven’s Hope’s president, Mark Crossen, announced the grant at a dinner party given in honor of Ms. Namatovu Catherine, headmistress of Mwebaza School.  Ms. Namatovu is in Colorado during the month of December, visiting the partner schools of the Mwebaza Foundation, and sharing her culture with classrooms of students.

The grant will be awarded once the Mwebaza Foundation has raised $25,000 to match the grant sum.  We would appreciate your help in garnering the funds needed to meet this match, and make these two schools a reality for our African friends!

CRE Assistant Principal Runs to Make a Difference for Colorado & African Children

Just how far could you push yourself physically?  Where exactly is “the limit?”  And if you pushed yourself to that limit, what would it mean to you?  What would it mean to the world?

The assistant principal from Mwebaza Foundation partner school, Coyote Ridge Elementary, recently explored those boundaries, and pondered these questions. [Read more…]

A Visit to St. Paul Nkokonjeru

by Christa Keppler

Many of you are familiar with the partnership forged last year between Coyote Ridge Elementary, the school where I was previously an assistant principal, and the St. Paul School. Visiting this summer was a dream come true, and without a doubt, a life-changing experience. [Read more…]