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       Africa Fund Forum - Soroti 2006                            TAF Forum Soroti Uganda 2009

One of the distinctive features of the Africa Fund has been that is has developed as a relational network. Since 2006 we have gathered each year in one of the main centres of operation; Soroti, Kisumu, Arua, Moshi. At these times we have sought to connect people and experience, cross-pollinating ideas and skills. As a result, many of the group have visited each other, sometimes bringing training and practical input.

When we have people travelling out on teams from UK with relevant skills, these are often shared in impromptu seminars; project management, cash flow, handling inflation, dealing with conflict etc. At a recent forum the group discussed openly the projects that have worked well, and those that have not, so that we could all benefit from experience (see notes below).

These times are more than just training or socialising – we seek to encourage, worship and pray together too, and build one another up in following Jesus. Some of the group always need to travel several hundred miles to get there, and so we continually check that this is worth it; the feedback we have received is that these forums are very special, different to the teaching-style conferences they get invited to at other times; instead they all have a voice and share together.

What worked well

Rural Goats Project:
• Simple concept, able to use local knowledge
• Well targeted at needy groups, using an agreed approach
• Based on good understanding of what can really help
• Advanced training undertaken
• Scalable – able to expand the project from small beginnings, building on success
• Sustainable – based around breeding goats: a natural form of multiplication

Shiners Revolving Fund/Jira Fids Village Agriculture project:
• Encouraging people to use the skills they have
• Scalable
• Building on local experience
• Encouraging commitment from participants through an initial financial contribution
• Encouraging participants to learn and develop

When it didn’t go well
• Impact of selfish interest
• Lack of accountability
• No clear responsibility
• Unclear purpose
• Lack of transparency
• Lack of organization or overly bureaucratic