Supporters visit to Kagera region

Kagera Region

'Capacity development' sounds like a dry, technical term that can mean everything and nothing. But if effectively applied, it can bring very tangible, practical benefits. FoCT is now prioritising the capacity development of its partners in Kagera region in Tanzania to further enhance the impact of their already existing programmes to assist people living with disabilities.

We recently hosted a visit by some of FoCT's UK based trustees and supporters who were able to see first-hand what 'capacity development' in action looks like.

Celebratory dance for FoCT visitorsIt all starts at the community level, in the villages where most people with disabilities are to be found. In 2011, FoCT will be helping its Anglican and Catholic partners to undertake mobile clinics in the villages, during which clients are registered, counselled, advised and referred for treatment to medical institutions as required.

During mobile clinics, clients can also be assisted with wheel chairs and other disability devices. The clinics are often held in local churches.

Once a client is registered, then local volunteers follow up with home visits on a regular basis and provide support to the carers.

Mobile clinicThe FoCT team made a home visit to a teenage boy who suffers from muscular dystrophy, and is more or less housebound. FoCT has supported the Anglican team to employ a daily carer for him, since he is unable to perform basic tasks himself. Both his parents have died, as has his twin, who also had muscular dystrophy. FoCT is also now arranging for him to have a few days holiday with his carer in Bukoba town on Lake Victoria, since he has been housebound for almost two years. FoCT also spends £2 per week on batteries for his radio, which is his only entertainment. He cannot read because he is unable to hold a book, but also because he did not make it to school.

Although clients are required to contribute some amount towards the cost of their own treatment, in the event of referral to a hospital, much of the financial burden falls on the organisations carrying out the mobile clinics such as the Anglican and Catholic Churches. FoCT is working to further strengthen the coordination between the Catholics and the Anglicans with the Muslim based NGO, Izaas. Izaas plays a pivotal role in enabling clients to access treatment in the entire region of Kagera. It receives referral cases from the Anglicans, Catholics and Lutherans, and also identifies clients itself. Critically, Izaas organises food, accommodation and transport as well for referred clients transiting through Bukoba town. FoCT will continue its support to Izaas to undertake this amazing work throughout 2011.

Kagondo hospital visitAfter travelling from the villages and resting at the Izaas transit centre, the clients make their way to the appropriate hospital for treatment. The main referral hospital is run by the Catholic Diocese, and is located at Kagondo, on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Some patients referred for orthopaedic assistance are unable to pay all their hospital bills, so FoCT also collaborates with the 'Hospital Sisters of St Francis' by providing them with a fund which they can allocate to the most needy clients, with a special focus on children. This order of Catholic nuns is totally dedicated to serving the medical, social and spiritual needs of the people in this area. Support is provided to clients, irrespective of their faith background.

As well as supporting the right to access health services, FoCT also supports children with disability to attain their right to an education. The FoCT team visited Mugeza school, where able bodied and disabled children are intergrated at primary level, and which we have been supporting for several years.

The FoCT team was deeply impressed with how the disabled kids help each other out at the school. Some kids who are blind often help carry those who can see but can't walk.

The team also visited the Lutheran Street Children's home, which is a new partner of FoCTs. They are doing an amazing job rehabilitating these street kids, through love, care, security and education. FoCT is proud to be supporting them throughout 2011.

Finally, the team also paid a visit to the Don Bosco centre for vulnerable and orphaned children, which FoCT is also supporting in 2011. FoCT is helping some of the kids who have graduated from the centre to realise their dreams to become teachers.

So all in all, it was a very full visit. FoCT is very lucky to have such great local partners on the ground, who are themselves achieving so much. A small bit of support and 'capacity development' from FoCT can go a long way!!

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