Kivumu chapel

Our story

BUILD Partners’ own story is shorter and simpler.

Revd Dr Jem Hovil worked with the Church of Uganda when he lived in Kampala from 2000 to 2007. During that period he was involved in the research and development stages of  BUILD alongside wider work in church leadership development and doctoral research in that field.

Jem moved to South Africa at the end of 2007 but remained involved in BUILD and its curriculum development process. On his return to the UK in 2013 the Church of Uganda encouraged him and a few others to set up a UK charity to help grow the work. Those individuals make up the current trustees and BUILD Partners was registered in 2013 to serve that purpose.

Our priorities

A defining feature of BUILD is the high impact for minimal cost, particularly when compared with traditional forms 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: gifts such as 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).

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 to do that in three main ways:

1. Connecting people, churches and organisations

For BUILD it is important to connect with people, churches and organisations in the UK and elsewhere, not least for funding purposes. While the lion’s share of support is local, additional external support can multiply the impact, as explained in more detail below.

2. Coordinating training

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 remotely. And we are involved with monitoring and evaluation through the accountability tied to small grants we make.

3. Consolidating curriculum

The production of draft manuals in curriculum development workshops has created a backlog of writing and translation. We help to draw this together.

What areas benefit from external input?

1. Central training of trainers and coordinators

Supporting the central training of trainers and coordinators is strategic and starts and sustains local efforts. The training currently takes the form of a diploma course based at Uganda Martyrs Seminary, Namugongo, Uganda. 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. The diploma in Biblical Studies, Practical Theology and Leadership Development is taught through four, two-week blocks over two years. The fieldwork takes the form of the guided, research based and incremental development of training initiatives in between the face-to-face times. The current cohort has representatives from Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and DRC.

2. Budget support for local training partners

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

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

3. Travel for trainers and coordinators

With a growing number of BUILD trainers on the ground we want to facilitate their movement from place to place, 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 from the BUILD Curriculum site, they are expensive to produce locally in small numbers. Funds are needed for larger print runs. Ultimately, 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.

Depending on the specific context, this might include costs of training manuals and other books, which then become part of a pastor’s library; transport to training; shared costs of food at workshops in some situations (which can be an essential part of encouraging local pastors and enhancing the learning); and venue hire, either when it is not done in the context or when that hire is part of supporting the local church itself.

Your story

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