From refugee camp to a thriving developing community, the story of Siriba village in Uganda.

The Siriba project is a perfect example of a Rotary Economic and Community Development Grant, a working and financial partnership between local and international Rotary clubs with the support of a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation.
Siriba grew into a village out of a refugee camp for displaced widows and orphans. Some 20 years ago they fled the violence of the “Lord’s Resistance Army “in Northern Uganda, led by the infamous warlord Joseph Kony wanting to overthrow the President and create a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and local Acholi tradition. (Kony is from the same tribe as Idi Amin).  Men and youngsters were abducted, 66,000 children became soldiers, and 2 million people were displaced internally from 1986 to 2009.
The women in the refugee camp slowly started to organise themselves making a living by selling charcoal and growing sunflowers and maize on rented land. With time a village emerged.
This was the situation when the Rotary Club of Kampala North, D 9211 heard of their plight and decided to help.
Rotarian Penny writes as follows: “I remember the very first time I met with this community back in 2012 through my work, the women majority of whom widows felt that government had intentionally abandoned them to die. They had also lost trust in the few NGOs that were working in the area, for they felt that these NGOs were using their unfortunate circumstances to raise money that was not meant to benefit them. So seeing their hope being restored and starting to believe that indeed, there are good people out there who truly cared about their needs was the greatest feeling ever.”
RC Kampala North assessed the situation, spoke with the community leaders and contacted the Kiryandogo Town Council on whose land Siriba is situated, raising the possibility of piped water. The community’s needs were health, agriculture, water & sanitation, education, engaging youth and micro financing opportunities, all the focus of a Rotary Foundation’s global grant.

The Rotary Club of Kampala North convened a meeting with several community leaders to find out how Rotary could help. Farmers worked as independent subsistence farmers with a limited number of crops. The inadequate capacity of the community to engage in sufficient agricultural production due limited capital and competitive markets was evident. Many households did not meet the basic needs as such food, clothing and shelter. There was a high level of unemployment and lack of education, especially among the youth.  Two positive points were that they were already farming and had started their own small micro-finance where farmers could borrow modest amounts from a revolving fund.
The community teams presented their plans and Rotary responded with suggestions in education, health, agriculture, youth, and micro-finance training.  Also important was the training in matching crops to the nature of the soils as well as in post-harvest management of produce and marketing for maximum returns. Some of the agreed activities were improvements and enhancements on what the community was already doing within their limited means.
RC Kampala North drew up a budget and an action plan.  They approached RC Cataraqui Kingston with the request to be their International partner in view of obtaining a Global Grant. When RC CK agreed, both clubs started fund raising by contacting other clubs, Rotary Districts and donors both locally and internationally. In addition to the own funds of RC Kampala North and RC Cataraqui Kingston, monies came from the Rotary Clubs of  Madras Coromandel, Madras East and  Madras  in India, Montreal and Montreal-Lakeshore in Canada and from three District Designated Funds and three Donor Advised Funds.
RC Kampala North and RC Cataraqui Kingston applied for a Global Grant to Rotary Foundation in November 2016, submitting the full budget and action plan. In May 2017 their application was approved. With the grant of USD 44,500.00 from the Foundation World Fund the total amount available for this project stood at USD 106,500.00. The project became officially known as “SIRIBA adopt a Community. Uganda GG 1745467.”
Work could start!
In March 2017 Bill Gray and Greta Du Bois (Rotary Club of Cataraqui Kingston) together with Krish Soundararajan (RC Madras) and Ravi Raman (RC Madras Coromandel) visited the Siriba Community accompanied by many RC Kampala North members.
Siriba community leaders, RC Kampala North members, Canadian & Indian Rotarians
Siriba community leaders, RC Kampala North members, Canadian & Indian Rotarians
Split into different groups we walked to locations around the village where a specific project work was to take place in the domains of education, agriculture, health, water and sanitation. And so, in the company of Kampala Rtn Dr Frank , several local Rotarians and community members I went and looked at a couple of empty buildings around the only well in the area , situated one and a half km from the village. These could be used to house the health clinic and the micro financing office. We reconvened for detailed planning.
In 2019 RC Kampala North held a very successful 3 day Health Camp at Siriba with immunizations, HepB testing, lab services, breast & cervical cancer detection, dental services, eye clinic, family planning and nutrition services. RC Kampala North members, Rotaractor and volunteer medical professionals travelled 225 km by bus from Kampala to Siriba, a 4 hour drive.
The motorcycle, agricultural implements and sports equipment have been handed over and the classroom and health clinic proposals were addressed. 
Handover Motorcycle Ploughs and sports equipment 30 March 2019
Handover of Oxen to Opit Kic
Janephar introduces a Microcredit beneficiary to give a testimony.  Janephar is the leader of the community.
Improving a community requires long-term engagement to understand its assets and needs. It also calls for addressing all facets of poverty, starting with mindset. The sustainable impact is not measured by what the Rotarians do but by what the community does in response. The project is theirs, with Rotary as a vector for achievement.
The host Club, RC Kampala North, submits progress reports on a regular basis to the Rotary Foundation, copying the International Partner. The next report is due in August 2021.RC Cataraqui Kingston communicates with the club in Uganda and keeps a close eye on the progress and possible unexpected problems. Rotary Foundation’s requirements are very strict but Foundation is open and flexible to any pertinent changes. As such, the request for the change of the Ecosan Toilets to VIP (Ventilation Improved Pit) toilets, more adapted to local conditions, and the replacement of the original bicycles with a motorbike (the local transport par excellence, carrying several people and loads of goods) were approved.
Project Specifics:
SIRIBA adopt a Community. Uganda
GG 1745467 Grant approved on 9 May 2017.Budget: US $ 106,500.00
Host Club: RC Kampala North ,Uganda,90 + members
Experienced. They handled a previous Adopt a Village Global Grant for the village of Nlzondo
Committed. Big personal buy in from members.
Involved. Members put their professional skills to use to attain the GG requirements
International Partner: RC Cataraqui Kingston, Canada
Our club’s contacts for Foundation for GG 1745467:
Robert Reid (Primary contact), Greta Du Bois, Bill Gray.
Round table meeting with RI President Elect Sam Owori in Kampala.  
PP Greta Du Bois , PDG Krishnaswami Soundararajan , RI President Elect Sam Owori , PDG Bill Gray, PP Ravi Raman.
Latest update as on March 8, 2021
The construction of a maize mill has started, the VIP toilets have been built and handed over, furniture and books have been delivered at the school but there is no electricity yet for the IT centre. The youth has been given successful Bee Keeping training. 
Some newspapers in Uganda reported that the fugitive warlord Joseph Roa Kony who is wanted at the International Criminal Court at Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity has died following infection by the deadly corona virus disease.