Archive | gulu RSS feed for this section

Farmers and Leaders

25 May


On Saturday, while taking refuge from the returning rains, I (David) sat down with Opira Kevin.

Kevin is participating in the current Piggery and Life Skills program and I wanted to learn more about why he chose to participate.

Kevin was born and raised in Gulu, not too far from TRP. He is married, and has three young sons.

He works as a boda boda (motorbike driver) to try and earn enough money to to house and feed his family and send his kids to school . He gets by, but making ends meet is tough. He has tried raising pigs, but with no training and limited capital he struggled, working by trial and error. He was starting to give up on his dream when he heard about TRP’s program and jumped at the opportunity.

As we talked and did a chair-shuffle-dance to avoid the moving rains I asked Kevin what he has learnt from the course so far.

“I’ve learnt how to do IMO, plumbing for drip feeding, building piggery buildings, identifying different breeds and more. It has been really helpful what I am getting here. Really helpful!

When I probed about the life skills elements he chuckled.

“It’s no secret that I’m bad when it comes to the life skills. The life skills elements are necessary and really bring out who you are. I struggled at first but now I’m making friends with people from all walks of life and have learnt how to be with others. I’ve also learnt about conflict resolution and problem solving.”

“I didn’t see much benefit in connecting with the others [participants] but I’ve learnt to work as a unit with others and will continue to have contact with them after the course.”

When I asked Kevin about the difference that this course will make to him, he became a little more animated. While the training will assist him to earn a sustainable income for his family it is clearly also reigniting energy for a dream that he had previously held.

“It has been my dream to do farming on a commercial scale and I know now that I’ll be able to do it!”

“Not only will we emerge as farmers but as people who know how to be leaders in the community. I don’t think I will be the same again. I will be a better farmer and a better person.”

In order to make this project happen, TRP has partnered with Geneva Global. With their support we have been able to eliminate some of the cost barriers which usually come with courses like these. In order to join the course, participants pay a small course fee which they receive back at towards the end of the course with an additional grant. This will enable them to immediately build their own piggeries. They also contribute weekly to a savings program which they will have access to at the end of the program in order to purchase pigs.

“Usually these courses are too expensive,” Kevin told me, “and capital has always been an issue.”

“I would have easily given up but the grants will enable me to do it and now I believe I can do it. I’m never going to give up again!”

To find out more about the Piggery and Life Skills training and how you can support programs like these, head to our Agriculture and get involved pages.

Life Skills and Piggeries

7 Apr

Life Skills and Piggeries

In the Acholi sub region where TRP works youth unemployment is at 70%. While the lack of employment introduces numerous challenges for youth, developing income generating skills is not the only challenge to overcome.

“Believing in yourself and becoming determined to succeed is very important.  I know of a lot of youth who have graduated a skilling program and didn’t have enough confidence or determination to make their careers a reality.  Often times they just slip back into old habits.” – Ogeno Charles, Development Manager, TRP

In February TRP launched a new program working with youth which addresses psychosocial needs while cultivating practical skills for income generation. The program draws on TRP’s 6 years of leaning from activity-based psychosocial work with a new eight-module Life Skills curriculum which has been blended with Piggery skills training.

The program will run for five months, twice a year, and takes participants through all aspects of creating their own deep bed IMO piggery and rearing pigs while developing their confidence, determination, and capacity to be leaders in their community, resolve conflicts, problem solve, and more. Find out more about the program here.

We thought a great way to get an eye into this program would be to “meet” some of the participants so stay tuned for some interviews very soon!

Retreat and Reflect

17 Mar


Throughout 2016 the team at TRP has spent many hours investing in others; planning, teaching, facilitating activities and debriefing others. It was great to reflect on last year and invest back into the team with a little fun and debriefing of our own at our staff retreat.

After meeting at TRP we all bundled into a couple of vehicles and made our way down the edge of Murchison Falls National Park. For some, this was their first opportunity to go into the National Park, experience its beauty and see animals which never venture as far as Gulu!

On the second day as we sat together after lunch the facilitators began to share some of their learning from the last year of working alongside various groups. It is not just the participants drawing wisdom from the activities we run, so I thought I’d share a some of what the facilitators have learnt, in their own words.


Acellam Denish

“I learnt how to turn fear into joy. I also learnt how to take risks. Sometimes you might be holding very tight to old victories, but sometimes that can become a blockage to realising new things. I learnt that to move into the future you have to sometimes take risks.

I also learnt how the people around me have a big role to play in my life. If I want to have a successful story in life then I need to listen to them and be close to them.”


Okello Robert

“During my stay here I realised that it is good to accept all the challenges that come your way. We have received groups from all kinds of places and I have learnt how to accommodate all kinds of different people as I work with them.

I also learnt my strength as an individual. There were things that I didn’t know I could do, but through the activities at TRP learnt what I am capable of and also where my weaknesses are. I’m so grateful to TRP that I have learnt a lot of problem solving skills.”


Atim Winnie

“I learnt how to be nice to myself and others.

I learnt how, just as all the different body parts have different roles, in the same way we all need each other and need to work with each other to achieve what we want to.”


Rubangakene Godfrey

“I have learnt that it is not easy to know things when you have never tried. It is after trying something that you discover it for yourself. So often we have groups where individuals say that they cannot accomplish things, but then by the end of the day they have tried and realised that they can. How will you know if you never try? You just have to try.”

Movement as Therapy

1 Aug

With the month of July coming to a close The Recreation Project was happy to host five organizations for team building activities including: the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Bicycles Against Poverty (BAP), both who have offices based in Gulu. Charles, our Development Manager, also shared a story about an experience he had while working with the Sacred Heart all girls climbing club:

I remembered the bright morning of July 23, when the climbing club girls entered the forest with beautiful smiles on their faces. Last Saturday TRP hosted the WellSpring project- this brougt the alumni members of the climbing club together to participate in a Dance and Movement Therapy program. The girls expressed that participation in our programs helps them relieve pressure they face whether at home or in the school- it gives them a change of scenes and a chance to play.

Dancing being part of Acholi’s culture, we are keen to understand how somatic-experience based therapy fits into TRP’s program. The Wellspring project is training us in new ways to build confidence in the young people we work with. At the beginning, ‘movement as therapy has felt very awkward to me. we are not used to expressive therapies, but are having fun exploring new ideas for healing. We the youth in northern Uganda are still recovering from our past experience of conflict; we lost hope for a better future a long time ago. At TRP we are proud to be one of the agents helping youth to reclaim themselves as successful agents of action and change. -Ogeno Charles, TRP

We are excited for what August has in store for the camp in Uganda as well as our team here in the United States! TRP will be hosting a Summer Fundraiser in Denver, Colorado at the Posner Center for International Development on August 2oth. To find out more about the fundraiser email or to donate click on the GET INVOLVED tab above!

Thank you all for the support!

Life Line

9 Jul

Life Line

The month of June was enormous for the Recreation Project! With over 200 participants coming through the camp in Gulu; we had tremendous success in helping various youth groups experience joy and learn valuable life skills through rock climbing and the ropes courses.

In addition we held our largest Wilderness Excursion to date! Over thirty six participated in an outing to the cliffs near Patiko. A large number came from the all girls climbing club based at Sacred Heart High School. Two days were spent building camp and practicing rappelling skills that were learned earlier in the month at the TRP camp in Gulu.

In the evenings there was time to relax and eat while stories were shared around the campfire. Ben along with girls from the climbing club created life lines. These were stories drawn on the rocks using chalk that told of hardship and good experiences. Rocks indicated moments of struggle that were overcome while flowers signified happy memories. Poetry and song were also shared throughout the night. One climbing club member reflected on the loss of her parents and how going to school seemed hopeless until she joined the climbing club and found purpose and strength while rappelling from a 100 foot cliff.

Our largest Wilderness Excursion to date!

Our largest Wilderness Excursion to date!