Kivumu chapel

Our story

BUILD Partners’ own story is simple. One of our trustees, Revd Dr Jem Hovil, helped with BUILD’s research and development phase while working with the Church of Uganda (COU) from 2000 to 2007. Jem moved to South Africa but remained involved with BUILD COU. When he returned to the UK in 2013 the COU encouraged him and others to set up a charity to serve the work. BUILD Partners was registered in 2013, and our trustees are listed here.

A defining feature of BUILD is its high impact to cost ratio, particularly when compared with traditional types of training. To cover the low costs involved in training in situ, the first port of call for resources is the local church and community in which BUILD training is taking place. Time and again BUILD has found that appreciation for the training amongst church members has led to financial contributions and gifts in kind: the free use of a venue for training, or a chicken for the trainees to eat for lunch, or funds to cover transport (although in some cases sharing a bicycle has done the job).

Our priorities

BUILD Partners does not want to undermine this local ownership and support, we want to encourage it. But at the same time we want to do all we can to help the work to grow and we have been invited by BUILD COU to do that in four main ways:

1. Connecting

We want to connect BUILD with people, churches and organisations, not least for funding purposes. While the lion’s share of support is local, external support multiplies the impact, as explained below.

2. Coordinating

BUILD has a flat structure across the region, with teams helping teams. BUILD Partners does what it can to help trainers get from A to B and to organise training work. And we are involved with monitoring and evaluation through the accountability tied to small grants we make.

3. Consolidating

Curriculum development and training workshops have created flip-charts full of training ideas and materials for translation. We help to draw these resources together. In addition we help with the documentation that is needed for local accreditation.

4. Co-training

BUILD Partners helps where it can by joining in with training events, and the structured programme means that those from outside can slot in with work on the ground.

What areas benefit from external financial support?

1. Central training-of-trainers

Supporting the central training of trainers and coordinators is strategic; it starts and sustains local efforts. The training takes the form of a diploma course in Bible, Theology and Leadership, as already described. The course is similar to a post-graduate teaching qualification in that it equips those with existing theological training to use the BUILD curriculum to equip others. This top level training is critical but is hard to support locally as it is further from the ‘grassroots’ and the resources there.

2. Budget support for local training partners

Financial support of local training efforts helps to establish the work and multiplies up the impact. This type of support is given where there is a strong local commitment, and it is always a contribution so that there is genuine cost sharing. We are also discovering the value of help towards coordination costs. Some churches can support coordinators, particularly where they use existing leaders and structures. But not all are able to meet these costs, again because such individuals operate further away from the grassroots and local support.

The work in Rwanda is a model of the way in which additional financial support can have an impact. Please read, ‘The example of Rwanda – reaching over 1,300 local leaders at £17 ($27) a head’ here.

3. Travel for trainers and coordinators

With a growing number of BUILD trainers on the ground we want to facilitate their movement and to strengthen the links between them. It is extremely hard to raise support locally for these costs, but the impact is immense. Flying a regional trainer to respond to a request in another country or to learn from others is safer and quicker than a lengthy journey by road, and is a small price to pay given the knock-on effect.

4. Training materials

While manuals can be downloaded as pdfs for use on handhelds, they are expensive to produce locally in small numbers. Funds are needed for larger print runs. And BUILD Partners needs help with web support and development, not least so that materials can end up in a variety of formats.

5. Translation

Training materials are being translated into different languages as the work grows. This is being done locally, driven by a desire for material to use, and is extremely cost effective. Occasional financial input on this, not least for equipment, is essential.

Accountability and reporting

BUILD Partners is able to account for exactly what those funds have been spent on locally and the impact in terms of the numbers of leaders reached with biblically faithful training.

Your story

We have explained our story, it is time to consider your story >>