On Friday we visited the sub-district of Weela, which went through the PEP process around 6 years ago, and was one of the pilot projects for PEP (see all Facebook photos). Those in the village were certainly enthusiastic advocates for the scheme, and were keen to show us what had been achieved – and were disappointed that as we’d left a couple of hours late (due to a vehicle breakdown) we couldn’t visit as many people’s homes (if we get back really late, it’s hard to get any blogging done!).
Some of the general information they shared with us is that
- Before the PEP process only about 5% of the village had pit latrines, now about 90% have – with only the elderly/infirm who don’t (I was a little concerned as to why no one was helping dig for them, but we guess that these people are comfortable with what they already have – tis not clear)
- Before the PEP process around 90% of men were drunkards, and that figure has reduced to near zero, some as a result of conversion experiences, others simply from being involved in the PEP process, and seeing some hope back in their lives if they work hard.
- Some who had money, were keeping it in the house, rather than investing it into land, motorcycles, etc. which could help achieve a better lifestyle from their families – and not leave them a victim to starvation when famine hits – the village now has a number of better built houses (this particularly seems to apply to brick houses, rather than the mud huts).
- The villagers were particularly proud of the benches that they had build, and the church that is halfway done (and Ugandans seem very patient – being prepared to wait e.g. a year between putting the walls up – then harvesting to earn the money for the roof). A nursery school and 2 primary schools now also exist.
- Previously only 6 in the village had sat for O-Levels, now 20+ have done so.
The villagers work together to evaluate the process, expecting this to be ongoing for generations, as there are always improvements that can be made. PAG only checks in about once a year now, but all continue working and praying together… and note that the leader in the village is a Muslim – the process is open to all – and tends to focus on points of unity, rather than points of difference. (Can I just get an Amen there!)