We expected 20, or possibly, 30 people. We discussed the idea of an NGO conference, at the close of the Uganda trip, to be held in Kampala. As soon as we floated it, we were astonished at the interest level on the ground. 30 became 40. 40 became 50. In the end, there were an astonishing 95 participants.
And attendance did not come easily to all. One lady apologised as she entered the room after events were underway. “I’m sorry I’m late. I have walked for five hours and couldn’t leave home until it was dawn.”
It was deeply moving to meet these dedicated practitioners, all working to help lift their country and fellow countrymen out of the depth of need which holds too many in its grip.
The day included a practical guide to Ugandan customs and logistics from Lawnsome Etum: a humanitarian worker who has successfully brought much needed aid into the country to support his work.
Later, the 95 divided into interest groups to share knowledge, network and find synergies on the major issues which most found of greatest relevance: the need for education, shortage of clean water, insufficient health care, empowerment of women and the battle against corruption.
Malcolm Begbie, Crossroads’ Director, said, “It was great to see these dedicated people, who had often worked in isolation, discovering others who shared their passion and who, going forward, could cooperate in ways that would be synergistic. Their commitment to work so hard, with very little resource, was inspirational.”
( Main Image Below: Natalya Kan spoke to the NGOs about what was needed if they were to receive goods from donors in the UK. )