As we expanded Joy of Community Foundation’s services in the Kazo District from student sponsorship to broader community development projects, one of our first projects was securing clean water. This initiative began with our founder Jesse Cooker working on building rain harvesting tanks during his first visit to Engari and has continued through JOCF with the construction of boreholes and well structures. Donations have continued to provide additional infrastructure improvements for the schools JOCF collaborates with. These projects have included repainting of the entire school and a new entryway for Solomon Memorial Primary School and new classrooms and a damming system to collect rainwater for Bright Future School.
As part of Joy of Community Foundations’ operations, we conduct extensive community engagement projects to ensure that we are developing trusting relationships with community members and meeting their most immediate needs as efficiently as possible. This community engagement takes the form of large community meetings, meetings with leaders, and focus groups discussions with target demographics such as youth. Additionally we conduct regular check-ins with families and develop plans with teachers should we identify that any of our sponsored students need additional support.
We have also established relationships with several talented artists in Uganda, who provide beautiful artwork for sale on our website. The artwork is shipped to the United States and then framed with simple wood provided by the Greenwich Wood Products of Hope, Rhode Island. The funds from these sales go directly to development projects.
In order to best serve the Kazo District and create a lasting impact in the community, JOCF has allotted donation funding to purchase land and is working to construct a permanent facility that will include office space, guests’ quarters, and community gathering spaces.
We are currently using funding to create an additional permanent office space for JOCF within the hospital facility in development by HEVIA Uganda. This will strengthen our relationship with HEVIA Uganda, as well as expand our capacity to provide health care to students.
The Skilling Project is an ongoing effort by JOCF to construct and operate a vocational training school in the Kazo District. This vocational training school will provide additional opportunities for youth in the Kazo District to expand their skills and knowledge and gain exposure to potential career paths. This project uses donations and grant funding to purchase land, fund construction of facilities, gather resources and materials necessary for training programs, and daily operations. Additionally, the community’s goal of increasing gender equity and entrepreneurial opportunities for the young women of the Kazo District will be central to our programming development.