Meeting common goals in Kampala

Read about an Annual General Meeting in Uganda that showcases the power of strong connections across the whole society – and why protecting children is everyone’s business.

The end of the Financial Year can be a stressful time for many preparing financial records, updating records, and pushing to close as many deadlines as possible.

However, at CRANE, Viva’s partner network in Kampala, all these activities are viewed as a good opportunity to assess how to run the network even more efficiently increases its impact for children.

CRANE receives funding from multiple sources, including the UK Department for International Development for the Girls’ Education Challenge Transition Project and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency for Child Protection.

Every year, CRANE holds a learning event for engagement to feedback to all who are involved. Last year’s event had the theme, ‘Safeguarding Everyone’.

As a network, CRANE acknowledges the importance of stakeholder involvement. Stakeholders include parents, children, police, government, heads and directors of schools, churches and organisations.

Every project run by the network is different and involves a unique set of stakeholders and the event is to acknowledge and celebrate achievements of everyone.

Despite torrential rain, over 200 people from across Kampala battled the weather to make it to the event. The very large hall was packed full of people from around an hour into the AGM showing the determination for people to get there.

The event opened with worship, led brilliantly by a collaboration of CRANE staff, including those from CRANE’s Hope Studio.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mike Chibita, was the Guest of Honour. He graced this occasion to celebrate with those who had achieved milestones in safeguarding. He acknowledged those who were struggling with new global standards and awarded the best performing organisations.

It is worth mentioning that within a period of three months following the various trainings, one member within the network had achieved all six competences and received an award from the DPP. All this was to demonstrate what the members are learning together!

Mike Chibita addressed a number of issues around child protection. He urged all stakeholders to work together to create an environment that is free of violence, and that can respond to issues of violence when they occur, creating situations in which violence is punished and therefore deters others from committing such crime.

Participants were grouped into four working groups: Education, Church partnerships, Special Education Needs and Street Connected children.

The room was deliberately laid out so that each working group was sat around its own table. It was well designed so that networking took place and there were also group discussions as part of the agenda which got people talking and sharing with each other more.

This helped them to build connections so that children have a better chance of achieving their God given potential as adults work together to try and solve difficult problems the children are facing.

CRANE believes that no matter where one is in life, they can always learn something. This is because of the world changing drastically every single day. An individual cannot capture all of the change happening on their own. We need one another to learn and grow!

Over the years, CRANE members have realised that networking is about sharing, not taking. It is about forming trust and helping one another meet common goals.

Regularly engaging with contacts and finding opportunities to assist has helped CRANE to strengthen relationships with members who are actively engaged as well as helping to build a good reputation.

On the contrary, though, networking is not a guarantee for an immediate connection. Relationships have to be cultivated like a garden to see a great return on investment.

On several occasions, stakeholders have been a wealth of knowledge, have helped uncover risks and through their buy-in have increased CRANE’s success.

All key stakeholders are a part of the project team. They all bring value and expertise to the table to help ensure CRANE’s projects are a success.

CRANE is thankful to each of their stakeholders and for the different roles they play in keeping children safe and advancing the Kingdom of God on the whole.

Please pray for them as they reach out to different communities across Kampala City and its surrounding areas.