Saturday, 13 March 2010

Love Africa Update – March 2010


Love Africa is an initiative of St James Church Gerrards Cross and Fulmer, UK, seeking to release the power of The Church to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and to care for the poor.
The project was inspired by a visit by leaders from the two St James to the 2006 Willow Creek Leadership Conference at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. As part of the conference the U2 rock star Bono spoke about his work in alleviating poverty and challenged the Church about its involvement in poverty relief.
The Bono interview fuelled an already growing sense that God was calling the family of the two St James to respond. We embarked on a programme of evaluation and discernment with Tearfund which included an exploratory visit to Uganda in 2006.
Love Africa was launched in the autumn of 2007 to support five projects in Uganda, partnering with established local organisations experienced in mobilising local Churches to alleviate HIV/AIDs related poverty. Details on the individual projects are in the next section.

How Love Africa Functions

The Love Africa Steering Group (LASG) was formed in 2007 and is supported by an Advisory Board. LASG is responsible for supervising the projects, through recently appointed “project champions” and through building relationships with our partners in Uganda. The overall monitoring and evaluation of the projects is performed by our partners Tearfund and ACET (Aids Care Education and Training) Uganda
The members of the LASG are:
  • Martin Williams
  • Frank Armstrong
  • John Smiley
  • Jacky Hughes
  • Sue Gillespie
  • Nigel Young
  • Wendy Read
  • Debbie Perera
  • Bev Duery
  • Peter Mawditt
The projects each have recently appointed “project champions” who take responsibility for building relationships with the people in the projects and provide the first point of contact for the two St James Church family to the projects and vice versa and take the lead in the reporting of the projects’ progress.
In addition a number of Love Africa Teams with a broader membership from the two St James have been established to work across the projects as follows:
  • Prayer
  • Encouragement
  • Skills Sharing
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Advocacy
  • Visits, Missions and Partner Liaison
Since 2007 there have been 13 groups (exposure, skill sharing and families) from the two St James visiting the projects in Uganda and visits from ACET, CFE and Tumaini to the two St James.

Funding Love Africa

The initial giving in November 2007 raised £230K and subsequent donations of £28K have created a total fund of £258K
To date 43% of the fund has been sent to the five projects and a further 49% is committed to the projects over the next year.
The breakdown of funds committed by project is shown in this figure
It is important to note that ACET provides substantial support, training and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) to other projects, specifically CFE and Tumaini, while Tearfund, at no cost so far, provides M&E reports on ACET, PAG (Pentecostal Assemblies of God) Soroti and UWCM (Uganda Women’s Concern Ministries).
It is clear that another funding is needed in 2010 to continue support for the projects

Love Africa – What Next?

Jinja MeetingLASG has been critically evaluating the impact Love Africa has had on these five projects and has started the process of engagement with the projects on how we continue to build the relationships already established, or change them as the projects mature.
Edith of UWCMMembers of the LASG met with the leaders of ACET, PAG Soroti, UWCM and Tumaini in Jinja in Uganda on Sunday the 6th February 2010 to share the St James 20/20 Vision and consult with them about what’s next for Love Africa.
LASG is looking at the overall commitment to Love Africa under the following framework:
“Going Deeper” – building stronger relationships and supporting more of the same type of programmes within the individual projects
“Going Broader” – evaluating the possibilities and then, if appropriate, committing to new programmes within the five existing projects where the leaders have a clear vision and ideas for how Love Africa can be involved
“Going Further” – evaluating the mix of the five projects to determine if some current projects have achieved against the original proposals and are mature enough to continue with lesser or no support from Love Africa and if there are new projects with which Love Africa should engage
You can read the views of the leaders of Love Africa projects by following these links:

Tumaini Children’s home
Uganda Women Concern Ministry
Centre for Evangelism
ACET Uganda

Love Africa – what can I do?

Individually and collectively the LASG are passionate about the role the two St James can play in alleviating HIV/AIDS poverty in Africa and we would like to share that passion with the entire Church family and involve more and more people in time. Here is what you can do to be part of this incredible partnership:
Pray – we will be revitalising the opportunities for the Church Family to pray for the projects, communities and individuals Love Africa supports
Participate – we would like to mobilise the Church Family in new and different ways for Love Africa, e.g. would you consider joining a team, being part of a guest visit from Uganda; do you have a particular skill you feel you could share or even would you like to be part of an encouragement visit?
Give – Love Africa is built on relationships but we also need to provide financial support to the existing and potentially new projects as part of the “Deeper, Broader, Further” plan and the chance to give financially is part of the overall EquipSJ programme
LASG asks that you prayerfully consider what role God may be calling you to take in Love Africa. If you would like to talk with a member of LASG about Love Africa please leave a message at the Church office or contact anyone of us directly.