VMM - Working Together In A Divided World
Volunteer Missionary Movement (Europe), All Hallows, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, Ireland. Tel : +353-1-837 6565. Email : vmmeurgo@iol.ie
Welcome to Volunteer Missionary Movement. We are working together in a divided World towards Peace, Justice and Reconciliation.


Country: Uganda,
Project: Diocese of Kiyanda - Mityana
* Pilar Perez: 2001 - 2004
Position: Health Co-ordinator

* Sheila Long:
Position: Secondary School Co-ordinator

Fort Portal lies approximately 300 miles west of Kampala, approximately 5 hours by road. The Diocese of Fort Portal covers four districts, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo and Bundibugyo. Its western border flanks the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The town of Fort Portal is the centre of the Diocese and has a population of 40,000. Geographically, the area encompasses both the Rwenzori Mountain Range, rising to 5,000 metres and the Rift Valley, dropping to 700 metres. Fort Portal town has an altitude of 1,500 metres. The area around Fort Portal is predominantly Agricultural with a wide range of crops produced in the two cropping seasons. Subsistence Farming is carried out throughout much of the Diocese. In addition to food crops Fort Portal is an important tea, and to a lesser extent, coffee growing area.

The Social Services Department in Fort Portal is called "Caritas" and the Director is Fr Musana Joseph. The Diocesan Health Department is answerable to the Bishop of Fort Portal, Bishop Robert Nuhiirwa. The Health Policy of Fort Portal Diocese (launched in 2002) is aimed at consolidating and improving the existing Diocesan Health Services, which currently focus mainly on curative rather than preventative or promotive services. Unfortunately, at the moment only a few Health Units offer Antenatal Health Care, Laboratory or Counselling Services. Within this framework the Diocese of Fort Portal requested a qualified and experienced Volunteer Missionary to take up the position of Diocesan Health Co-ordinator.

VMM identified and placed Pilar Perez (VM) in Fort Portal in January 2002. With the professional qualifications and experience required to help establish the managerial and administrative structures necessary to ensure the effective day-to-day operation of the new Health Department for the Diocese, Pilar will eventually handover to a local Health Co-ordinator who is currently completing a Degree Programme.

Health Co-ordinator's Duties:
* During her two-year contract, Pilar initially worked to identify and begin to build a strong team to staff   the new Department of Health Service Units.
* She prepared and obtained approval for the new Department's Annual Budget and work plan, and   prepared regular financial and narrative reports for the Diocese.
* On-going work includes - co-coordinating the work of the Health Department, monitoring progress and   taking action on agreed measures to improve specific areas of the Department's operation.
*In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of this project, Pilar represents and promotes the new   Department among local health and political authorities, and donor organisations.
* Under Pilar's guidance, the Department's staff will create and maintain all files and documentation required in order that the National Ugandan Health Authority accredits the individual Diocesan Health Units.
* A further important part of Pilar's work is to ensure the regular and reliable exchange of information between the Health Units, the Health Services Co-ordination Office and other official organisations e.g. the Ugandan Catholic Medical Bureau, the Diocesan Health Office and the National Health Board.
* Pilar also works to ensure the Health Units' compliance with national and diocesan
standards of infrastructure, service, personnel and policy.
* Implement an effective system of regular reporting from Health Unit Staff to Diocesan Health Advisory Board.
* Facilitate the identification of health needs to be addressed at local levels, and the formulation of project proposals to meet these needs.

VMM looks on Pilar's placement in this project as an important contribution to the on-going development of the Health Services of the Fort Portal Diocese as a whole, and a vital part of the strong foundations necessary to ensure the success of the Diocesan Health Department.

VMM responded to a further request from the Diocese of Fort Portal, by identifying and placing Sheila Long (VM) to work as Secondary Education Coordinator in the Education Department of Fort Portal. Sheila joined the diocesan staff team in December 2003 and continues to work to develop this post in cooperation with the Diocesan Education Secretary Fr. George William Mugenyi. The aim of this placement is to coordinate and improve all aspects of secondary educational provision in the Diocese of Fort Portal.

Country: Uganda.
Project: St. Mary Hospital, Uganda.
* Dr. Ray Towey: 2000 - 2005
  Position: Head of the Department of Anaesthesia.

St. Mary's Hospital, commonly known as Lacor Hospital, is located in Gulu District in Northern Uganda, just south of Sudan. At present the local population is estimated to be approximately 469,700, 49, 77% of whom are male and 50.53% are female. Half the population is below 17 years of age. The only town in this district is Gulu, and 75% of the local households survive through subsistence farming. The catchment area of St. Mary's Hospital is much larger than the local population, as many patients come from the neighbouring districts.

Lacor Hospital was started in 1995 by the Camboni Missionaries and the Diocese of Gulu, as a Dispensary. In 1960, after adding the maternity ward, the facility was registered as a hospital. In 1961, the Italian Doctor Pietro Corti and his Canadian wife and surgeon, Lucille Teasdale, began their life-long association with Lacor Hospital. Throughout the 1960's further wards and services were added - male, female and children's wards, isolation, malnutrition, x-ray and operating theatres. In the 1970s, educational activities were initiated with a school for enrolled nurses and a course for health educators. Two peripheral health centres were also built. 1982 saw the first internship for young Ugandan doctors, the school for registered nurses and laboratory technicians. In spite of operating in circumstances involving insecurity caused by rebel activity in the Gulu area, increases in the instances of HIV / AIDS and coping with the Ebola epidemic (2000-2001), Lacor Hospital has developed to such an extent that it is now the second largest hospital in Uganda, both in number of beds and quality of care.

VMM fully supports the mission of St. Mary's Hospital, which is - to "provide health care to the needy and to fight diseases and poverty", which is why we have agreed to meet the hospital's request for qualified and experienced health care staff to supplement the hospital staff while many of the local doctors, radiographers and nurse specialists are sent for postgraduate training.

With years of experience of working in Africa, many as the resident Anaesthetist in Bugando Medical Centre in Kenya, Dr. Ray Towey (VM) is a much needed and welcome member of the staff of Lacor Hospital. As Head of the Department of Anaesthesia, Dr. Ray is in charge of anaesthesia, intensive care and the resuscitation clinical services; as well as all types of training in anaesthesia, intensive care and resuscitation equipment.

Country: Fort Portal - Uganda.
Project: Fort Portal Educational Development

* Patrick Davey - (2003 - 2005)
   Position: Vice Chancellor of the Mountains of the Moon University

* Kathy Davey - (2003 - 2005)
   Position: Accompanying Spouse and Project Assistant.


Fort Portal lies approximately 300 miles west of Kampala, approximately 5 hours by road. The Diocese of Fort Portal covers four districts, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo and Bundibugyo. Its western border flanks the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The town of Fort Portal is the centre of the Diocese and has a population of 40,000. Geographically, the area encompasses both the Rwenzori Mountain Range, rising to 5,000 metres and the Rift Valley, dropping to 700 metres. Fort Portal town has an altitude of 1,500 metres. The area around Fort Portal is predominantly Agricultural with a wide range of crops produced in the two cropping seasons. Subsistence Farming is carried out throughout much of the Diocese. In addition to food crops Fort Portal is an important tea, and to a lesser extent, coffee growing area.

Early in 2003, VMM received a request from the Diocese of Fort Portal for a VM qualified and experienced in tertiary education and management, to assist in establishing the new "Mountains of the Moon University in the Fort Portal Municipality, in the Western Region of Uganda. The Aim of establishing this University in Fort Portal resulted from the expressed educational needs and desires of the local population to contribute towards solving some of the numerous problems confronting Uganda, through the preparation of graduates to tackle many of its development challenges.

The University's Mission is to produce men & women who are well educated, trained, innovative, morally and spiritually balanced and socially responsible, who will join the market as entrepreneurs and job creators, solvers of problems and prized employees to add value and quality to whatever they do.

The University's Academic Charter is to promote and disseminate knowledge and technology, and to provide for instruction, training, research, demonstration and service in industrial, technology and associated disciplines of biotechnology, pharmaceutical science, electronics, computer science, business management and accounting and such other disciplines of learning as the University may determine.

In November 2003, VMM placed Patrick Davey as Vice Chancellor in this project. With a background in educational management and lecturing at tertiary level in Ireland, a PHD in Biochemistry and years of experiencing in analysis and research, Patrick Davey (VM) was identified as a volunteer who could meet the challenge posed by this project.

While in this post, Patrick's work involves ensuring that the Mountains of the Moon University is registered with the National Ugandan Department of Education, that processes and structures compatible with best practice in Education are established and that the University begins to provide selected courses for local students. The overall aim of this placement is to facilitate the smooth running of this new university and to help make the venture viable and sustainable. Patrick is accompanied by his wife, Kathy (VM), who contributes to progress made in this project through her work as Assistant to the Vice Chancellor.

VMM sees education as a corner stone to the future development of nations and is therefore committed to supporting the Mountains of the Moon University in the long-term.

VM: Emily Harbison (2004 - 2006) - Assistant Financial Administrator.
Country: Uganda - Masaka
Project:  Medical Missionaries of Mary, Makondo Health & Outreach Programme


The Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMMs) was founded by Marie Helena Martin, who was born in Glenageary, Dublin, in 1892. During the Great War of 1914-1918, Marie served as a volunteer nurse in Malta, France and England. At that time she saw the world's need for healing and began to think of devoting her life to bringing comfort and health to others. Since then, the MMMs have grown to become a group of 432 women of 19 different nationalities, and working today in 16 different countries. The MMM's work of health-care is intimately linked with the efforts of local communities to improve not only their health, but also the status of women, their food supply and nutrition, their water supply, their housing, their income generation capabilities, in short, their general standard of living.
Makondo Parish is located in the Diocese of Masaka District, about 50 kms from the town of Masaka. This is a very remote area mainly inhabited by the Baganda tribe and has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Other health problems include - Malaria, Anaemia, malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases. From 1970 onwards the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMMs) supervised a local medical team, who travelled to Makondo to provide immunisations, mother and childcare and a limited curative care to the local people. In 1987, the people requested the MMMs through their Chief and the local Bishop to establish a permanent Health Centre at Makondo, with outreach to the surrounding villages. In 1991 a Health Care Centre and staff houses were completed and the MMMs moved to Masaka to open a Health Centre and Outreach Programme.

MMM objectives for this project are -
* To provide curative and preventative Health services through daily clinics at Makondo Health Centre and    the outreach programmes
* To provide MCH Clinics at the Health Centre and the outreach programmes - immunization, nutrition and     development for the under fives and antenatal mothers.
* To provide a full range of laboratory tests, so that on the spot diagnosis can be made and patients     treated accordingly
* To provide health education, human development, reproductive health, HIV / AIDS in Primary and    Secondary Schools and to Youth out of school.
* To provide Community-based Health Care Training and follow-up for CORPS (community recourse    people), Community Health Workers, TBAs, Trainers and Nutritionists.
* To build the status of CHWs / TBAs e.t.c. by helping them to improve their homes, farms and education    for their children.
* To promote sustainability through income generating projects and train community members to promote    better quality of life through improved methods of integrated organic farming.
* To promote the growth and use of herbs, plants, fruits e.t.c. in the treatment of medical conditions.

In response to a request from the MMMs for personnel support to build the capacity of the staff of the Makondo Health & Outreach Programme, during 2004 VMM placed Emily Harbison (VM Assistant Financial Administrator) to work with the project Director and staff. The main goal of this placement is to build the project's financial accounting and management systems through practical input and staff training in the areas of data input, management and analysis.

VMM fully supports the aims and objectives of our partners, the MMMs, in Masaka, and is happy to be able to contribute towards their achievement through the placement and support of a qualified, experienced Financial Administrator.

VM: Michael Lomas (2004 - 2006) - Planning & Monitoring, Accountant.
Country: Uganda - Kitovu.
Project: Medical Missionaries of Mary, Kitovu Health Care Complex, Masaka.


Kitovu Health Care Complex is a Not-for-profit Health Provider, founded in 1954 by the late Bishop Kiwanuka of Masaka Diocese. The Medical Missionaries of Mary were asked at that time to administer the running of a small Health Unit. Over the years, this unit has grown to become the present hospital with a bed capacity of 200. The Complex also provides various curative and preventative health and counselling services.

Located in the Masaka Municipality about 30 miles south of the Equator and about 3 miles off the main Masaka highway, the Complex serves the districts of Masaka, Rakai, Ssembabule and Kalangala. With a catchment of approximately 1.5 million people, the Hospital receives patients from as far as Mbarara, Mubende and Mpigi Districts. Patients are predominantly peasants, fishmongers from around lake Victoria and the islands, and petty traders. These are mainly very poor people, barely able to meet the costs of hospital treatment. The hospital therefore offers subsidized rates and at times free medical care to those patients completely unable to pay.

During 2001, the Kitovu Health Care Complex was gradually handed over by the MMMs to the Banabikira Sisters, who are indigenous Ugandans. In order to build and support the Banabikira Sisters during these early years in their management and development of the Kitovu Health Care Complex, VMM responded positively to a request from the MMMs and the Banabikira Sisters for a VM Planning and Monitoring Accountant.

Michael Lomas (VM Accountant) joined the staff team of Kitovu Health Care Complex in November 2004. During his time in Kitovu, Michael will supervise and build the capacity of three local staff, who are currently working in the Complex Finance Department, and will have full responsibility for Financial Planning and Management in the Complex.

Country: Uganda - Mbale.
Project: St. Clare's Girls High School, Budaka, Mbale.
VMs: Seamus Crowe (2004 - 2006) - School Development Facilitator
Anne Crowe (2004 - 2006) - Teacher.


St. Clare's High School was started in 1999 to provide Secondary School education to girls from this very poor area of the Eastern province of Uganda. The people of the area are mainly subsistence farmers with small tracts of stony land. Apart from famine, there is periodic hunger, when the harvest does not last until the next year's produce is available. Although the people are hardworking, opportunities for paid employment are few. Local customs and traditions tend to downgrade women and girls are often sold into marriage at a very early age, resulting in early and frequent pregnancies and chronic ill health for mothers and babies. St. Clare's aims at providing an alternative to these forced marriages, to give the girls an opportunity to grow up and skills through which they can earn their own living.

St. Clare's is the only Girls Secondary School in the area, which covers 29 counties and a population of 508,000, covering 1992 square Kilometers. As it is a boarding school, the girls get a chance to focus on schoolwork rather than house and farm work. Started with 52 children, it now caters for 306, in Standards 1 - 6, ages ranging between 13 and 23 years. During 2003, VMM received a request from the Board of Governors of St. Clare's Girls High School, for personnel support to facilitate whole school development (academic and physical) and the capacity building of the local Principal and teaching staff. This request came to VMM through a Franciscan Missionary Sister of Africa, whose order has provided two teaching sisters for the school since 1999. VMM identified Seamus Crowe (VM School Development Facilitator) and Anne Crowe (VM Teacher / Trainer) as Volunteers capable of assisting this school.

Following a career in education, as a teacher and later as a Principal, Seamus will work with the local Principal to develop school management and administration systems, and to obtain the resources required to carry out the School Development Programme.
Anne will work closely with the teaching staff and students of St. Clare's to improve standards of classroom teaching and learning, through teaching selected classes, working with staff to draw up class plans and administer regular class tests to monitor student progress. A system of Teacher peer support / development through classroom observations will also be among the capacity-building measures to be introduced.

VMs: Shane O' Connell (2004 - 2006) - Office Administrator.
Country: Uganda - Kampala.
Project: The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Uganda Office.


The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. JRS undertakes services at national and regional levels with the support of an international office in Rome. Founded in November 1980 as a work of the Society of Jesus, JRS was officially registered as a foundation on 19 March 2000 at the Vatican State. JRS programmes are found in over 50 countries, providing assistance to refugees in refugee camps, to people displaced within their own country, to asylum seekers in cities and those held in detention. The main areas of work are in the field of Education, Advocacy, Emergency Assistance, Health and Nutrition, Income Generating Activities and Social Services. In total, more than 376,000 individuals are direct beneficiaries of JRS projects.
Over 500 workers contribute to the work of JRS, the majority of whom work on a voluntary basis, including about 100 Jesuits (priests, brothers and scholastics), 85 religious from other congregations and more than 300 lay people. These figures do not include the large number of refugees recruited to take part in the programmes as teachers, health workers and others. During 2004, VMM responded positively to a request from the JRS East Africa Director for a qualified, experienced Volunteer to build the capacity of the JRS Uganda Office in Kampala, through the placement of Shane O' Connell (VM Office Administrator). Shane recently completed a two-year placement as Diocesan Finance Manager, in the Diocese of Lodwar, Kenya. While working with the JRS in Uganda, Shane will -
* work closely with the Country Director in the areas of Administration, Financial Management and Control, Procurement Management and Stores Management
* represent the JRS at national level meetings of NGOs, UN and Government, in the absence of the Country Director.
* Submit progress reports on project activities to the Country Director, following Field Visits and / or radio communication with JRS Project Managers.

VMs: Deirdre Walsh (2005 - 2007)
Position: Lecturer in Health Education
Project: The Ugandan Martyrs University, Kampala.
Country: Kampala, Uganda.


Details are not available at the moment. Call back in the next few days.

VM: Vivienne Laing (2004 - 2006) - Gender Adviser.
Country: Uganda - Kibaale
Project: EMESCO Development Foundation, Karuguuza.


EMESCO Development Foundation is a local development organisation working towards eradicating poverty in Kibaale District. The Headquarters and operational offices of the Foundation are located at EMESCO House, Karuguuza - Kibaale, 16 kms from the District headquarters and 200 kms from Kampala. As one of the newer distrcicts in Uganda, Kibaale is currently the focus of much government attention. The town of Karuguuza currently has a population of 15,000, with basis trading stores, a government Health Facility and resident doctor, and is expected to expand over the coming years.

VMM is happy to work in partnership with EMESCO to fulfill its Vision of an "Improved Quality of Life of all the rural and urban poor in Kibaale District through sustainable social and economic empowerment" and complete its Mission "to promote sustainable social and economic empowerment of the rural and urban poor in Kibaale District through Capacity Building, Mobilisation and Sensitisation, Micro-finance and Entrepreneurship Development, Formal Education and Self-reliant Training, Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Protection and Health Programmes".

EMESCO activities can be divided into three distinct areas of focus - health, sustainable agriculture and micro-finance. There are 18 local staff, with 80% dedicated to field work. During 2004, VMM received a request for capacity-building support from EMESCO through the placement and support of a VM Gender Adviser, with skills in community mobilisation, project proposal writing, facilitation skills, good interpersonal skills, good inter-personal skills, report writing. This response was made following an organisational audit of personnel capacity, which highlighted the level of expertise required, the challenge of sourcing funding to facilitate organisational activities and the current need of EMESCO to focus on the "professionalisation" of its staff and programmes.

VMM identified Vivienne Laing (VM Gender Adviser).

Vivienne as an experienced Development Worker, with a background in Community-Development and Gender, as a suitable Volunteer to join the EMESCO Team. During her time in EMESCO, Vivienne is working with the EMESCO Director and staff to -
* develop effective strategies and programmes for enhancing women empowerment
* provide guidance on mainstreaming Gender issues in EMESCO programmes
* Train programme staff in Gender analysis
* Assist in Women Group Formation and initiation of Income Generating Activities.
* Assist in Proposal Writing / Fundraising
* Assist in developing an appropriate Women's Empowerment training package (Training Manual).

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