Welcome to UCSS !
Welcome to UCSS (Uganda Counseling and Support Services)! UCSS’s mission is to improve the quality of life and spread God’s love to people in remote communities of Uganda by providing social services, counseling and spiritual development – one community at a time. UCSS is using a holistic approach that addresses clean water, medical care, education, economic development, counseling and spiritual development.
UCSS’s chose to start its ministry in the region of Bulike because its 48,000 residents have nothing, no clean water, medical care, schools, electricity or sewage system. The goal is to help each community become self-sufficient to the point where outside resources are no longer necessary. People will enjoy a higher quality of life and over time will become more tolerant and caring. The vision is to replicate this model from one community to another using a “train the trainer” approach so that over time all of Uganda is transformed.
Watch this amazing 3 minute video about UCSS, then read on below.
Achievements and Impact
UCSS started its ministry in Bulike in January 2011. For the first time ever, people are drinking fresh water, they are participating in new economic activities, children are going to school, and people are receiving free medical care. Deaths decreased from about one per day to one per week.
Fresh Water and Medical Care
When UCSS first arrived in Bulike, one death per day was common due to malaria and water-born diseases. The village had no source of fresh water, and villagers would walk miles to dirty ponds to collect water.
UCSS now has 6 water wells that are each providing clean water to over 2,400 people per day. Free medical services are offered to over 500 people per week in mobile medical clinics, which operate 4 times a week and a more comprehensive clinic is offered once per month. A permanent medical facility is under construction.
Before, when people got sick, they paid a witch doctor to seek a cure. Now, every person in the village can receive free medical care, which has reduced mortality rate by 85% and made many people’s lives more bearable. This year our motto is “prevention is better than a cure”.
Before, 15% of the children of Bulike would walk 5-12 miles to the closest school. But this journey was dangerous because of frequent kidnappings by witch doctors for child sacrifice. Parents saw no value in education and made their children work at home.
UCSS has built one temporary and two permanent school buildings that provide an education for 500 children between the ages of 4 and 16 years. Now about 60% of the children can read. Adult classes improved the parents’ literacy from 5% to about 40% now.
Before UCSS, the primary economic activity was alcohol production and peasant farming, and malnutrition was rampant. Women and children were expected to provide for the family, and men did very little but drink. Men would eat first and the women and children would get what was left over.
UCSS purchased land for a model farm that provides resources and training for villagers to become economically self-sufficient. There are now 21 co-ops with 12 members each that participate in activities such as growing crops and raising pigs and chickens. Vocational skills training such as knitting and tailoring is also being offered.
Mr. David Buyinza is one of the beneficiaries of the model farm. Before his wife and children were working his meager garden but malnutrition was a constant challenge. He participated in one of the model farm co-ops. His group received a parcel of land, seeds, equipment, and irrigation. The harvest was distributed evenly among group members. 10% of the harvest was used to buy seeds for the next season and some was donated to start another group. David’s income from the sale of his crops was higher than he’s ever had before. For the first time, he was able to provide adequate food for his family, and he had money left over to send his daughter to secondary school (which he would not have been able to afford otherwise). He says that with the next harvest, he hopes to buy a goat, which will go further in supplementing his income.
Evangelism and Counseling
Before, witch craft was the only religion. Witch doctors were feared by the community because they could curse people if they didn’t seek them out for cures and pay for their services. Animal and even child sacrifices were common.
UCSS introduced the love of Jesus Christ to the people of Bulike through evangelism and counseling. UCSS now has 4 churches in the area that meet in temporary structures and 15 Bible study groups. UCSS distributes free Bibles and has trained 22 local leaders for ministry. 4,000 people in and around Bulike have accepted Jesus as their Savior, giving them a hope they have not had before.
Evangelism has transformed the village in significant ways.
For example, domestic violence is now less common. People who have been at war with each other for years are now working together in the church or the farm. Teachers no longer view corporal punishment as their only option. Kindness is spreading in the community.
Before, 50% of families were involved in the production of alcohol, and alcoholism was rampant. Men would wake up in the morning to start drinking. To purchase alcohol, they would sell parts of their land and other belongings.
Through evangelism and counseling, there has been a 50% reduction in alcoholism. Many of the men have shifted from producing or consuming alcohol to pursuing other economic activities like raising pigs or growing crops, allowing them to adequately provide for their families for the first time.
Mr. Sourcepatili was the largest producer of alcohol in the village, and with that, an influential leader. Every day, he had 30 men at his house helping him with production and consumption. After months of outreach by UCSS, he decided to accept Christ and change his life. He decided to stop producing alcohol, and has replaced his income through his model farm and piggery activities. The 30 men that used to drink at his house are now attending Bible study there. Mr. Sourcepatili also hosts adult education classes and medical clinics. His influence has been significant in moving the ministry forward.
Plan and Financial Needs
While the accomplishments to date have been impressive, the need is far greater. We believe that making Bulike self-sufficient within 5-10 years is a realistic and exciting possibility. This would allow us to reduce our investment and begin to expand the ministry to another village.
- Clean Water Wells: To satisfy the water needs of the entire village, we would need another 14 wells. UCSS is looking for funding to drill two new wells per year. Each well costs $6,000.
- Medical Care: We need to finish the construction of the medical building and hire permanent medical staff. This would allow us to receive subsidies from the government to cover the operating expenses of the clinic.
- Education: We would like to finish the second permanent school building for the 5th grade and purchase the necessary desks and supplies. Our long-term goal is to have the government subsidize the operation of the school. For this, we need to build 2 more school buildings ($20,000 each) and one library.
- Economic Development: We want to focus on making the existing economic groups successful and to establish a poultry farm. We want to transition this program into a more formal micro-finance model in which the investment is repaid by the recipients so that the funds can be re-used over and over.We currently own 41 acres for the model farm. We estimate we would need a total of 250 acres to satisfy the nutritional needs of the entire village. The farmers will share a percentage of their crop for the use of the land, which will be used to purchase seed, fertilizer and equipment.
- Counseling: We will continue to support our 12 certified counselors who can counsel about 600 people per year. We want to offer another training seminar for counselors.
- Evangelism: We will continue with ongoing evangelism program activities such as conducting Bible studies, monthly overnights, Christian film shows and seminars. We would like to build a permanent church structure in the next 12 months.
We believe that making Bulike self-sufficient within 5 -10 years is a realistic and exciting possibility. At that point, we could reduce our investment in this village and begin to expand the ministry to another village.
Regular reporting is extremely important to track how the money is spent and what it is accomplishing. The board creates a 12 month plan and budget that is reviewed every 6 months and adjusted if necessary. UCSS founder Ronald Kaluya provides a status update with photos every 4-6 weeks that is posted to the blog and sent to constituents. You will see the new water well in a photo, you will hear the joy of the people in a video, you can feel that lives are transforming.
About the Founder, Ronald Kaluya
Ronald Kaluya was an accountant in Uganda with a big vision to help his people. He felt that a graduate degree from the United States would help his mission. Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia KY paid for Ronnie to study there, and he graduated with a double Masters degree in ministry and counseling. He created UCSS and assembled an impressive 20-member board, including Dr. John Begley (former President of the College) as the board chair, several ministers and businessmen. He is receiving support from the Methodist Conference of Columbia KY and speaks at many churches when he visits the US. After raising $120,000, Ronnie was able to return to Uganda to start his ministry in January 2011.
Board Chairman Dr. John Begley has this to say about Ronnie: “When I first met Ronnie I was amazed at his passion to help his people in Uganda. I realized that with his background and education, it would have been easy to bring his family to the U.S. and have a nice life. Instead, he chose to go back to Uganda and live in poverty to help his people. The living conditions he describes are unimaginable to us, yet he endures them faithfully day after day. He has earned my trust also in the way he is stewarding our financial resources. He is extremely frugal, selfless, and always seeking ways to do more with less. He reports diligently how much was spent each month and for what. I respect Ronnie for his vision, sacrifice and passion for the people of Uganda, and he deserves our support for this worthwhile mission”.
Here is the approximate location of Bulike.