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Enter our draw!

Enter the VC Summer Draw to win a cash prize and be in with the chance of winning a spot prize!

Our aim is to sell 500 tickets or more in this year’s VC Raffle, to raise much needed funds for VC to help us continue our vision to create a world of freedom, peace and justice, where people in vulnerable communities have greater opportunities to achieve their goals and contribute to society. The VC Draw is our major annual fundraiser and we really need your support.


1st Prize €1,500

2nd Prize €750

3rd Prize €500

4th Prize €250

Plus Additional Spot Prizes on the day (e.g. €100 one4all voucher sponsored by Selective Travel and a Self Catering Holiday by the Sea on the Cooley Peninsula etc.)

The draw will be held on Saturday 27th July 2019


You can help by

· buying a ticket or two yourself (€30 each – 2 for €50) and/or

· selling some tickets to family and friends.


You can buy tickets and enter the draw using the following options:

Cash or cheque made payable to Viatores Christi

Electronic transfer to our bank: Bank of Ireland, College Green, D2,

BIC: BOFIIE2D, Account No. 38239797, Sort Code 90-00-17,

IBAN: IE34 BOFI 9000 1738 2397 97 -(remember to mention DRAW)

Purchase tickets online below:

Buy 1 x €30 VC Draw Ticket!
Buy 2 x VC Draw Tickets for €50!
Buy 3 x VC Draw Tickets for €75!
Buy 4 x VC Draw Tickets for €100!


Viatores Christi are so grateful for your continued support!

Retreat for VC Members & Friends 2019

Viatores Christi would like to invite you to a

Retreat & Gathering Led by Pat Coyle

Pat, a long time friend and supporter of VC is originally from Derry, and works as Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Ireland. She is a journalist, TV Producer and Presenter, a qualified Spiritual Director and an inspirational facilitator.

from Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th May

In An Tobar, Ardbraccan, Navan, Co Meath

Arrival on Saturday 18th May at 12.30pm for lunch (attendees may also arrive earlier) Closing on Sunday 19th May at 4pm approx (after Eucharist)

 Once again this year Viatores Christi invites all members, from across the years, as well as staff and trainees, past and present, friends and supporters, to a Retreat from Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th May 2019. As in recent years, we hope that this year’s ‘coming away for a little while’ will provide us with time for reflection and prayer but also allow us to re-kindle the spirit of our VC family while re-connecting with old friends and forming new relationships, sharing stories and enjoying companionship. 

Cost €80  (includes B&B (en suite) Saturday night and all meals and tea/coffee

To register:

Click here to download event booking form, complete and return by email to or by post with €30 deposit by Friday 10th May 2019

Payment Options:

Cash or cheque made payable to Viatores Christi

Electronic transfer to our bank: Bank of Ireland, College Green, D2,  BIC: BOFIIE2D, Account No. 38239797, Sort Code 90-00-17, IBAN: IE34 BOFI 9000 1738 2397 97 – (remember to mention Retreat)

Make a quick, secure online credit/debit card payment through our website below: 

Pay €30 deposit for VC Retreat
Pay Full Cost (€80) for VC Retreat  

 Getting there: An Tobar is located near Navan, Co. Meath and may be accessed via R157 and M3 or via M4 and R158 Please click here for more information Let us know if you would like a lift (we will try to facilitate this as far as possible) or if you can provide a lift to somebody else. For further information please email Nora Casey  or phone the VC office at 01-8689986. Looking forward to seeing you!

Project Cycle Management & Research Course at VC


Duration: 1 Month

Dates: Saturday 13th April 2019 until Saturday 11th May 2019

Location: Viatores Christi, 8 New Cabra Road, Dublin 7 and online

Who is this for?
Existing or prospective MDOs, volunteers, development workers and missionaries who wish to gain greater knowledge of the principles of Project Cycle Management and Results Focused Planning as well as field based research methodologies.
Course Dates
This a one-month course which runs from Saturday 13th April 2019 until Saturday 11th May 2019
  • An adult learning approach will be used which will be a mixture of didactic instruction, group work, case study, and shared experience.
  • This is a part facilitated and blended, web-enhanced course using expert facilitators and an online Moodle platform to provide learners with a integrated system to create personalised learning environments with a focus on interaction and collaborative discussion.
 Course Schedule Details
Facilitated Sessions
Project Cycle Management (Full Weekend Workshop)
VC HQ, Dublin 7 – 10am-5pm on Saturday 13th April & 2pm-5pm on Sunday 14th April 2019
Research Methodologies (3 Hour Session)
VC HQ, Dublin 7 – 2pm-5pm Saturday 11th May 2019
Online, web enhanced modules
Delivered using Moodle platform 
All modules are guided, monitored in an integrated system
Module Objectives:
To facilitate participants to
  • understand the principles and stages of Project Cycle Managementgain more knowledge of the principles and stages of Results Focused Planning
  • understand what Monitoring and Evaluation is all about, and how to conduct project monitoring and project evaluations
  • gain an increased confidence in relation to planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating a project or programme
Outline Content
  • The Project Cycle
    • Organisational Strategic Direction and Wider Policy Context
    • Problem Identification and Planning
    • Proposal Development and Financing
    • Implementation
    • Monitoring
    • Evaluation
  • Results Focused Planning
    • Activities Focused Approach vs. Results Focused Approach
    • Identification of the Overall Problem
    • Context and Organisational Analysis
    • Participation and Stakeholder Analysis
    • Problem Identification and Analysis, Needs Assessments
    • Objective Setting and Analysis
    • The Intervention Logic
    • Risks Analysis
    • Indicators and Means of Verification
  • Monitoring & Evaluation
    • Definitions, Types & Purpose of Monitoring
    • Monitoring vs Evaluation Purpose & Focus of Evaluation
    • OECD-DAC Evaluation Criteria
    • Monitoring and Evaluation in Practice
Learning Outcomes
  • By the end of the module, participants will be able to:
  • Use a results focused approach to planning interventions 
  • Use participatory techniques with local communities
  • Work with local communities to identify needs within the community
  • Plan with local communities and stakeholders in a collaborative manner
  • Plan sustainable, viable projects that respond to needs identified by local communities
  • Monitor the implementation and outcomes of projects
  • Organise an evaluation of the merits of the project 
Module Objectives
To facilitate participants to
  •  understand the principles of research methodologies
  • be able to use various types of research methods
  • to understand participatory approaches to research
  • to understand some of the difficulties in carrying out research in developing countries
  • This module will be taught mostly online with a variety of methods, including core reading documents, quizzes, forum questions and videos followed by a 3 hour facilitated session in VC HQ. 
  • The session will allow for a practical application of the theory learnt during the online course.
Outline Content:
  • Principles of research methodologies:
  • Overarching research paradigms, ethics and methods; the research process
  • Designing, conducting and reporting on a variety of research methods for project assessment
  • Principles and methods of participatory research
  • Examples of situations of the difficulties and challenges of practical research in developing country contexts
Learning Outcomes:
Participants will be able to:
  • Think critically about different approaches to research
  • Have a basic knowledge of how to design, conduct and report on a variety of research methods
  • Have a basic knowledge of different approaches to participatory research
  • Have an introduction to the difficulties and challenges of conducting research in developing countries
How to join
Please email or call 01-8689986
Course fee
€100 (lunch/refreshments costs included) 
Places are strictly limited

Philip Donnelly – Haiti

Update from Philip Donnelly, on assignment with Gena Heraty in the NPH Kendscoff Orphanage, Haiti

For the first six weeks of my assignment, I was based solely in Kay Christine where I addressed the serious condensation problem which was causing mould growth. I stripped and repaired all walls, installed fans in the kitchen, bathrooms and dining areas, and installed air vents in bedrooms.

I then repaired and fully restored 30 tables and chairs (which would be thrown out, if in Ireland)!

A consignment of hospital wardrobes came via Espwa from Ireland and I repaired, customised and installed these in the children’s rooms.

I also repaired/replaced drainpipes around the residences which were incorrectly installed in the first place, causing issues.

The Espwa team from Ireland visited for 2 weeks in October and we constructed 3 extensions on to the children’s residences.  I’m now taking on the second fix period for these and will complete all works.

I find Monday – Friday go fast but weekends can be lonely. I  time to go hiking or running on Saturdays.  I’m also teaching some children boxing and Espwa are going to supply kit for this. I also try to keep busy by taking 5 Creole lessons each week!


Aisling Foley – South Africa


September was a busy month for Home of Hope. In 2015 Home of Hope purchased an old property called Mimosa House. It had been acknowledged by the Board of Home of Hope that as the children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) grew older they began to exhibit more serious behavioural problems particularly physical aggression towards their caregivers. A decision was therefore made to put the children who were in the long term care of Home of Hope into one central home. The home was to continue to have a family type atmosphere (the maximum number of children is 25) but with more support for the caregivers and more centralised services to be provided by the Home of Hope social worker. The renovations took a long time to carry out as they were quite extensive. The property had previously been an old age home for the last 30 years and so was in quite a bad state of repair. Many local and international individuals and organisations generously helped us to undertake the renovations both through donations of time, materials and money.

home of hope 2 South Africa

Finally in Sept 2018 the Dept. of Social Development came to visit Mimosa House for the final time and awarded the home registration as a Child & Youth Care Home. It took a long time and lots of blood, sweat and tears to finalise the registration and so much credit is due to our hard working staff.

home of hope South Africa

To celebrate this registration we had an Open Day at Mimosa House in October. The children were hugely involved by baking cupcakes and serving juice to our funders and also proudly giving them tours of their new home.

Mimosa House has been a long journey and it will continue to be a road with bumps along the way but for now we are blessed to have all the children living in a wonderful new home where they are safe and loved.

Brian Lynch – Uganda

14th Feb. 2019

A great update here from Brian Lynch, currently working in Uganda:


I’ve been working on an elder-care project, in Fort Portal, in the western region of Uganda. There is a huge variation in health among the elders here. Some only have a few problems while others have multiple ailments. Those who are worst off are those who cannot work due to age, disability, weakness or illness, who have no assets and receive only minimal help from their family, friends or local community. They are the neediest among the elders – those who cannot afford healthcare.

Many of the elders are women and generally, they’re more marginalised and vulnerable than the men, particularly in terms of lack of income and education. (People with disabilities and children in this area suffer most marginalisation and are most vulnerable, due to incidences of violence, discrimination, physical and mental abuse, accusations of witchery, and being ignored). This project is targeting those who are worst off in Fort Portal in terms of income, education and health.

It is important in assessing needs among these elders, that it is done on a case-by-case basis for individual or home-visit care, as many with HIV/ AIDS, cancer or other serious illnesses or disabilities who are able to work, can afford healthcare and have some support can be dying – they too need the support of the project.



My Advice if you are a new Volunteer

While I’ve been working in Africa, for the most part, I have lived on-site or very   close to my workplace, which is great. There is little or no daily commute and on top of that, due to the nature of my work, I have found most local bosses have been quite flexible around my hours of work. Once I’m flexible too, it works out well. I’ve usually been allowed to work in a mix of situations, combining working from the office, in the field and from my home. Local bosses here have been laid back and once I deliver on targets and outputs I find they leave me to get on with the job in hand.

My advice to anyone preparing to go overseas, say to Africa, for example, include noting that most things you will require during your stay are available locally, in some cases just in the cities, however,  so check out how accessible places are to your placement location. Things you won’t find here include anti-bald shampoo, herbal sleeping tablets, plug-in rodent deterrents (but you really needn’t worry about that – you will see rodents here just about as much as you would normally at home)! Other items you may wish to bring are fungal creams, heads for electric toothbrushes, shoe insoles, new cables for smartphones. Basically, I would say, if you need medicines, fancy bathroom or new technology stuff, its probably best to bring them with you. Books, by the way, can be very expensive to buy. And, of course, if there’s anything you think might be useful for your project, bring it with you.

Local Food

While there are only two ‘muzungu food’ places in my local town, the local food in other restaurants is generally fine, but then I can eat most things. The fruits, vegetables, sticks of meat and African tea are very good for me.

Daily Life

As the days in Africa can be quite long, its probably best to get used to going to bed at 10 / 11 pm and getting up for 6 am. The early morning and evening are the best times of day for weather, or exercise. And this is how Ugandans, who themselves work, seem to do it.

If you are living alone, its good to bring things you might use to occupy/entertain yourself with in the evenings. Phone calls home are less expensive in the evenings too, so that’s useful to know.


I find its really, really easy to meet people here, if you want to. Most people here want to get to know you, anyway. I’d say that if you stay here for a long time and enjoy getting to know local people, you will probably know too many people by the time you are half-way into your placement.

The people are very friendly and it’s interesting to tell them about Ireland and ask about Uganda. What can get annoying is that people will ask you for things all the time. I’m generally a generous person but by knowing too many people I had to learn to be a bit strict around this issue – and patient too. I find this happens less with people I’m working with, and richer Ugandans, than with general workers or small business owners around the town.

uganda people


The Ugandan Perspective

Many Ugandans have told me, and to an extent it is true, that when they see you, they see money!

Moving On

I’m working on a different project now, in Kisoro district as a monitoring and evaluation officer in the Diocese of Muhabura health department. It is a maternal and child-health project and involves improving the reports sent to the district.


We look forward to hearing all about it when you get a chance, Brian.




Vacancy at VC – Project and Training Support Officer

Project and Training Support Officer

Viatores Christ (VC) is a Dublin-based development organisation working within the faith-based international development sector. VC works with over 30 partners across a wider range of sectors in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. VC addresses needs through development interventions through the recruitment, training and placement of skilled personnel. In 2017 over 158,000 individuals directly benefited from the work of VC across partners in the areas of agriculture, community development, education, environment, health, human rights, income generation and microfinance.  VC is funded by Irish Aid through its intermediary organisation Misean Cara and by small grants and private donations. 

In order to realise its key strategic objectives in line with its 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, VC now seeks a suitably qualified person to join the team and take on the a key role within the organisation as Project and Training Support Officer

Organisational context

Based at VC HQ in Dublin 7 and with overall reporting responsibility to the projects manager the successful candidate will support the VC management team in three key areas;

  • Project development support
  • Coordination of the VC Venture Training programme for volunteer development workers
  • Recruitment areas, including volunteer personal support


The Project and Training Support Officer will act as a support in the area of programme co-ordination for VC’s international projects both in terms of volunteer training and project development and support for volunteers in the field both personal and technical. 

Project Support

In terms of project development support the role is to work closely with the projects manager in areas around securing and management of financial support for VC partner projects.  This includes project proposal development, due diligence and vetting processes of new partners, monitoring and evaluation and infield technical support of volunteer development workers. He or she will also liaise with VC’s project support officer (who works remotely) and VC’s regional coordinator in Kampala, Uganda. There may also be scope for international travel. 

Coordination of Training Workshops

In the area of development training the successful candidate will be required to coordinate and oversee the efficient running of eight weekend workshops per year which are delivered from February to June and September to December each year.  These training weekends are currently delivered by external facilitators. For the right candidate, there is an opportunity to grow and develop the training portfolio within VC as this is an area that is constantly evolving in terms of content, delivery and online platforms.

He or she will may also work with the Recruitment Manager on areas such as the provision of personal support for volunteer development workers in the field.

  • Based at VC head office with some international travel envisaged
  • This is a 4-day per week role (30 hours, 9am-5.30pm with some flexitime)
  • Some weekend hours are required and time worked may be taken as time off in lieu.
  • €25-€30,000 pro-rata depending on experience


The role will include:

  • Development and assessment of project grant proposals
  • EU project development and support 
  • Administration of project contracts and other project documentation
  • Input to monitoring and evaluation processes and procedures
  • Technical and personal support for Development workers in field
  • Coordination of VC’s 8 weekend workshops per year
  • Input to the delivery of VC’s Venture training course, including introduction to the online courses, housekeeping arrangements and other such input depending on experience. (VC currently outsource the delivery of its key modules)
  • Evaluation of training processes including the dissemination and analysis of feedback forms
  • Coordination of and input to VC’s due diligence/new partner approval process 

 Additional areas

  • Flexibility to assist with campaigns in recruitment, marketing, communication and other areas may be required at certain times.
  • Attendance at training events, conferences and other functions as necessary
  • Familiarise, keep up to date on policies and procedures
  • Assist in the development of new policies and procedures
  • Attendance at fundraising or networking events as required


Skills / Experience  


  • Strong attention to detail and logical approach
  • Grant writing/funding proposals/project cycle management experience
  • Experience of reviewing and writing project reports
  • Knowledge of training processes preferably with facilitation/teaching competency
  • Excellent English writing skills
  • Ability to work on own initiative, while also being part of team
  • Ability to work a number of weekends in the year offset by time in lieu
  • Supportive approach and willingness to engage with VC development workers, partners, and other stakeholders
  • Overseas International experience in a development context


  • Experience of webinars/Moodle and online training platforms
  • EU funding partnerships
  • Salesforce or other CRM
  • Spanish language


Relevant BA/MA in international development, business or a highly regulated discipline. 

Experience or qualification in training and/or facilitation


VC is an inclusive Christian faith-based organisation and we warmly welcome applications, regardless of faith, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, nationality or ethnicity.

To apply please forward a cover letter as to why you would like to be considered for the job along with an up to date CV which highlights relevant experience in relation to this role to  – Closing date 5pm 22nd February 2019.

Rachel Ryan – Kenya

11 Jan 2019

Rachel Ryan recently went to Baringo County, 370 km North West of Nairobi in Kenya to assist with the Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph, who have been operating a dispensary in Salawa for the past 28 years.

She sent us this report from her outreach visit with the mobile clinic on 23rd November, just over 2 weeks after her arrival in the country.

“On Friday the 23rd November I accompanied the mobile clinic to Lake Kamnorok Primary School. A distance of only 20 or so kilometers from Salawa, it still takes over an hour to get there due to the quality of the roads – which are in a far better state than they used to be, thanks to recent government investment. All the roads around Salawa are currently being levelled and surfaced with single membrane tarmacadam, and already the road from Salawa to Ajnamoi is paved with an initial layer, the surface still kicking up pieces of gravel, as we wait in joyful hope for another layer of tarmacadam. Anajmoi is the village just south of Salawa where the road splits to go towards Kabarnet in the East or Eldoret in the West. Our hope is sustained by the sections of road still closed off for surface work. At these sections, the traffic simply finds its own way round, veering off to parallel roadways of well packed dirt that have been carved out while the work is ongoing. So far these are fairly smooth and useable, though often, only one car wide, requiring some backtracking and maneuvering when one meets a truck coming fast in the opposite direction. My clinic colleagues tell me that outreach used to be much more of an ordeal when the roads were all mud and there were no bridges – a scant 6 months ago.

Big Bertha mobile clinic Kenya

Outreach, or mobile clinic days, take place once a month for each outreach site. Lake Kamnorok is usually on the last Friday of the month but because of preparations for World Aids Day on the 1st December, this month it took place on the second last Friday. Most clinic staff start the day at 8:30am, so this is when the preparations for leaving began. The clinic’s driver, Jacob, had been on leave for some time and this was my first time meeting him. While others selected and laid out the equipment, supplies and boxes of medication that would be used during the day, Jacob was thoroughly checking the engine and undercarriage of our huge and faithful Toyota land-cruiser, which I have dubbed Big Bertha. Including the driver and myself, there were seven of us travelling – 3 nurses, a lab tech and our social worker.

Instead of coming out of the compound and going right and south towards Anamoj we went left and North towards the lake. At the far edge of Salawa village, we pulled into the Government clinic to collect more supplies. In theory, the Government clinic is better supplied than ours and open for 24 hour admission.

In practice, it’s hard enough to find someone to deal with during normal working hours and the service is perfunctory. After hours there is usually no one there.

Because the sisters live on-site at the clinic, people perceive Salawa PHC as a 24-hour facility and will come up and knock on the door of the house even if all the lights are off, and despite the large “working hours 8am to 5pm” sign over the clinic entrance.

Recently, a small maternity wing has been set up in one of the less-used outhouses, and so a system of night shift cover has been set up, but with a small staff there isn’t always someone available and if someone presents with a more challenging condition Head Nurse, Sr. Veronica may easily receive a late night call and end up working half the night.

Kerio valley is surprisingly populous and along the road we pass through many small villages and by many pedestrians, keeping to the verge, in the absence of anything resembling a footpath. Children who spotted me in the front cab, squashed beside Consolata, the social worker in the one-and-a-half passenger seat, waved enthusiastically and called out with the traditional Mzungu greeting: “How are you?” Towards the interior the houses we passed were traditionally made – what an Irish person might recognize as crannogs – low, round, clay walled houses with grass roofs.

Rachel Ryan's Crannogs


I would imagine these are far more comfortable than the common village alternative of shanty houses, walled and roofed in corrugated tin. The crannogs at least offer some insulation, and sometimes the clay walls are decorated with swirls of colour or pale carvings. Combined with the brightly coloured washing out on lines or fences to dry, it was a very aesthetic sight. One photo I missed was the grass-roofed house with solar panels nestled in the thatch and a satellite aerial jutting from the join between wall and roof.


When we turned off towards the lake we lost the good road surface. Slowly, lurching over stony ruts and crevices, we passed water carriers with their pale, yellow jerry cans and negotiated our way through a small herd of cattle.

Our first stop was by the lake itself, in the peaceful woodland surrounding it, so we could have lunch. The lake was beautiful in its greenness. Apparently, in years gone by, it was a popular watering hole for elephants, and crocodiles still live in some muddy stretches. I resolved to avoid those but I did walk down to the waters edge reflecting once again on how much beauty there is on offer in this part of the world.

Lunch was githeri and chai for the rest of the staff, hard boiled eggs and sweet bananas for me (my travel diet of choice). Githeri is a staple meal of Kenya, which I find far more appealing than the maize-meal porridge of ugali, the staple diet throughout East Africa. For githeri corn kernels are cooked, long enough that they become swollen and soft as chickpeas, then mixed with cooked kidney beans. It’s plain but tasty. The chai is generally a weak tea that consists mainly of watered down milk, which is boiled at some length together with the tea leaves. Lunch was eaten and everyone washed up afterwards – with the water that had been carried along for that specific purpose.

It was about 12:30 at this stage and patients had gathered on the grounds of Lake Kamnorok primary school, a few hundred metres up the road from the water’s edge.

This is always the site for the mobile clinic. We set to unpacking boxes and people while Ken Kirop, one of the senior nurses, walked the grounds and returned to discuss options for setting up stations. There would be four areas – one for outpatients, one for the weighing / growth monitoring of babies, one for immunization and one for antenatal care.

Ken and Fred Serem, the lab technician, each addressed the waiting patients, both able to speak the local language as well as Kiswahili. These short talks often address some health issue or point of advice and are generally an opportunity to thank patients for attending the clinic, advising them when to seek medical advise and urging mothers to pay attention to the growth monitoring results for the health and development of their children. They also simply introduce the format of the day and layout of the stations. Today, they also introduced me, explaining that I was mostly there to observe the work of the staff and that I may take a few photos – but that they were free to object to this at any time, and not have their photo taken. During the day one man and one teenage girl asked that their photos not be taken, but by and large people were happy with it. After I delivered a simple smile and wave greeting, I took a couple of group photos, and then the patients split into the various groups. It became immediately obvious that the weighing station would be the busiest – and so it remained throughout the day.

I moved from station to station, asking about common ailments and treatments, but I was brought back again and again to Growth Monitoring, since they were constantly swamped with people. Our driver had immediately positioned himself to help, which I learned was normal on these outreach sessions.

He started taking the height measurement of the babies and measurement of mid upper arm circumference (MUAC), which is a standard rule of thumb for nutritional monitoring. Social worker, Consolata did the weights and the bookkeeping.

Registering baby details

When a pregnant woman first presents herself to any health facility she is given a Mother and Child Health Handbook, in which, among other things, she is encouraged to track the growth development of her baby as well as record the vaccinations they receive. So, each measurement must be recorded in the mother’s book, along with the patient details. The corresponding record must be recorded in the Ministry of Health Patient Register, required by every facility. If the mother requires any additional or supplemental treatment such as Vitamin A or De-worming tablets, she will also pay for it at this time and be provided with a written receipt.

The scales and height board are brought in by the staff, the weighing scales is tied to any available cross beam with strong rope. Babies are generally tied to their mothers’ backs with a large swathe of cloth they call a “lasso” in this context. When they are called forward for the weighing, the mother will simply swing the baby round in front of them and pass the knotted cloth over their heads. The baby can then be easily hung from this functional sling. Given the physical work required to weigh and measure each child, and the administrative records required, it seemed impossible that two people could process twenty patients in two hours, let alone two or three times that, without a great deal of error and confusion. Certainly, there was an air of frenetic intensity in the work being carried out, but Consolata and Jacob proceeded with a systematic focus, born of long practice. I was willingly roped in to help with the recording of data, scribbling weights and measurements on mothers’ handbooks as they were called out and learning where to put the information required for the patient register books. Any time I left to see another station I felt a strong pang of guilt, since no other station was as busy as this particular one.

The vaccination station, manned by Ken, was set up around the corner from Growth Monitoring, for the convenience of the mothers, and I didn’t stay there for any length of time. It seemed cruel to compound the unhappiness of a child in pain with an audience. The mandatory vaccinations include TB, polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, measles, hepatitis b and yellow fever, and all doses should be delivered before the child turns two.

The schedule for these vaccinations is kept in the mothers’ handbook and health workers write in the dates for any follow-up required. At the outpatient station, a steady line of patients presented with various ailments for our nurse, Joan. Most were sent on to visit Fred, who had set up his lab, as usual, for outreach days, in the back of Big Bertha. Many common conditions can be screened for by a simple blood test, including malaria, hepatitis, typhoid and brucella. They will also often perform a pregnancy test, since some treatments are contra indicated for pregnant mothers – especially doxycycline for brucella. Fred sat in one of the two back seats, with sample kits and equipment on the other seat and test tubes lined up on Big Bertha’s spare tyre. beside him. Patients squished in with him which meant that at least they had the benefit of shade and privacy.

For the antenatal station, nurse, Juliette had set up in one of the school classrooms and a privacy curtain divided the patient’s bed – a folding bed brought in with the rest of the equipment – from the desk and two chairs where people could consult. Basic tests there included blood pressure, anaemia and foetal heartbeat as well as palpitations to check the baby’s head and position.

As the number of patients to be seen wore down, the Growth Monitoring station ended up with a stack of pink health handbooks, as transcription of full details into Ministry of Health Child Welfare Clinic Register lagged (understandably) behind. I joined in this effort and passed the books to Consolata as I was done.

Rachel Ryans photo

The mothers stood around, patiently, with babes in arms and some by the hand, waiting for one or other of us to call their child’s name and retrieve their books. When they had it back and were done for the day, the women and children retreated to the shade, at the edge of the school’s compound, where other mothers, patients and companions had set up blankets and cooking equipment. Some had brought fruit to distribute or to sell – to each other and to us. Some of the nurses bought tomatoes or pawpaw for their evening meal, even while we were packing up the land-cruiser.

Somehow, everything had taken place in less than 5 hours. More than 60 patients had been seen, more than 40 of them in the Growth Monitoring section. My colleagues informed me that this was a very quiet day – perhaps because we had come a week early or perhaps because a government clinic had recently opened in a neighbouring village. Attendance at the mobile clinics is always monitored, to be sure we are making best use of our resources. We arrived back to Salawa PHC at 18.30 and unpacked everything. I was tired, but had enjoyed spending the day directly engaged with the patients, rather than closed away in an administrative office. It was gratifying to see the appreciation of the people, on the ground, and the professionalism of our staff. It is always good to know that you are needed.”












Patrick Mooney – Cambodia

19 Dec 2018

Orphans and Vulnerable Children receive support in Cambodia

Patrick Mooney has been working in Cambodia for many years. He is currently working for an organisation called Partners in Compassion which is a sustainable community based project working for vulnerable and orphan children including children affected by HIV/AIDS.

He sent us some information about the work of his organisation. This story focuses on a youth of 15 years, Hek Sammy, who shows much promise.

This young boy is bright and enjoys learning and hopes to be a lawyer one day. He is currently in 7th Grade. He has 3 siblings and is cared for by his mother. His father had a stroke and is paralysed on his left side and cannot work.

Sanny joined the Partners in Compassion project in 2017 and already has displayed very good leadership qualities; he was elected leader of the children’s club he attends by the other children, and has represented the 200 orphans and vulnerable children assisted by this project at a meeting of the National Task Force and at a meeting of the NGO Child Rights group. He has received training in Child Rights and Child Protection.

He received a bicycle from the organisation which motivates him to attend school more regularly and attends weekly art classes; he is a good artist. He also receives school and hygiene supplies when his case worker visits him each month and attends extra classes in Khmer writing and English classes, supported by the organisation.

His mother receives social supplies on a monthly basis which helps with daily living as the only family income is generated by her efforts in selling vegetables, snacks and cooking sauce in front of their home. They have no land for growing rice.

Sanny is only one of 200 children currently receiving support for daily survival from Partners in Compassion in Cambodia.



Here a young girl tells her own story:

(It was translated from the Kmer language by the project manager)


My name is Srey Sok (not her real name.) I am 12 years of age, I have 2 siblings. I live in  Batie District, Takeo Province. My mother is working as a farmer, and my father died when I was a child. My family has been recognized by the government as being poor and we received poor card number 1. Currently I study at Chhnath Primary School at grade 6. The distance from my home to school is 2 kilometers.

My family has been supported by Partners in Compassion for one year, up to now my family had social welfare support 6 times and myself I have received school supplies 5 times and hygiene supplies 6 times, uniforms 2 times, money for extra classes $5 monthly. I received a bicycle as well as I participate in child club meetings every time they are organized. I attend extra classes 5 days each week for 2 hours and pay with the $5 I receive every month for extra classes.

Because of the support my family and myself received our living conditions have improved. My studies have improved, I have greater commitment for my education, I now get better scores in my class work. In this academic year I have never failed in any subject. In May 2018 I received score number 4 and in June I was number 1 among 23 students in the class. The staff of Partners in Compassion and village volunteers check regularly that my education is improving and that I go to school every day.

I wish to study hard to become a well-educated student, a good child, a good friend, and a good student, especially in the future I want to be a teacher.

Before the support from the project I received scores from 20 to 25 among 30 students in the class, In the past I did not go to school regularly, I have no money for attending extra classes, my mother never showed the value of education and never encouraged me to go to school, if I did not have the support from Partners in Compassion my education would not have improved and maybe by now I would have dropped out from school. Now my mother can see the value of education and she is motivated to make sure I attend school.

Nowadays, my family has changed a lot such as my education & living conditions have improved because now my mother has greater understanding & value of education and takes care of me. She attends the literacy class & has received training in gardening, animal raising, and has joined the saving support group. For income generation she has a weaving machine and can generate income of $20 per month.

In addition to going to school regularly I have been participating in child clubs.

At the end, I would like to thank Partners in Compassion that support my family and me for improving our living conditions, our health is better and my education has improved. I would like to request Partners in Compassion to continue to support me until grade 12.






Sanita Lielbarde – Uganda

19 Dec 2018

Christmas in Moyo, Uganda

Sanita sent on a recent update of life at Weaver Nest ECD Teachers’ Training Institute in Moyo, Uganda and two stories from former students.

‘Since I came back to Moyo after my holidays it has been relatively ‘peaceful’ as students are busy with exam revision. The final examination began on December 10th and finished on December 18th.

Currently, we have 25 students but 18 of them will be completing their programmes this year (six students from CEC and 12 from CC programmes). Only 7 students will continue their studies in February 2019. We have started a recruitment campaign already – using local radio announcements and distributing leaflets in the area.

Thanks to the funding received from Trocaire in Uganda and  Misean Cara, we have purchased 4 new desktops for the institute a few weeks ago. The computers will be used to teach students and the staff, if necessary, ICT in the new academic year.

Also, in the new academic year, we are planning to focus on ECD promotion activities – radio talks, school outreaches etc. These activities will be incorporated into the work plan so that we can become more systematic and consistent in executing as well as in reporting on these plans.

There is a Christmas Party in the Irish Embassy tomorrow, so I am planning to attend that.’

Below are two stories of change from former students who completed their studies at the Institute in December 2017


Poni Betty (29 years of age)

Employed with international NGO – Save the Children in Morobi Refugee Camp in Bele 1 Primary School

Education: Certificate in Child Care (2017) from Weaver Nest ECD Teachers Training Institute


Poni Betty is Sudanese by nationality, she is married and has two children. She remembers that it was her husband who encouraged her to join Weaver Nest and complete the childcare course. After they got married, she stayed at home for 8 years and had two children, so he suggested that it would be good to upgrade her education. Her husband was the one who paid her school fees and supported her in other ways too.

While talking about her time in Weaver Nest, Betty tells that she is still interacting with her classmates, they have very good relations. They are friendly just like in the school time when they were sharing all things and helping each other as a team.

Betty got a job with Save the Children recently. She is a teacher at Bele 1 Primary School in Morobi camp. Although she has ECD qualification she teaches Level 1 and Level 2 Primary School which deploys the Accelerated Learning Programme. This programme is specifically tailored for school dropouts aged from 10 -17. They are assessed and the classes are formed on the basis of the assessment results. So, sometimes even the youth aged 17 come in at Level 1. She gets paid 20,000 per day, which makes about 400,000 (~100 Euros) per month. And if she works at the weekends, it adds up to 480,000 per month. The contract is for 5 years.

The work sometimes is challenged by lack of learning resources and materials. To overcome this difficulty, the teachers work closely together, they share knowledge and skills and help each other as much as possible.

Pony Bettie teaches Science in level 1 and level 2. The classes are large, over 80 children. Thankfully, the students’ English level is okay which makes interactions dynamic as well as interesting.

Overall, the qualification of ECD has been beneficial, she acknowledges. Besides doing a rewarding job as a teacher, she also is able to help the family with the salary she receives. Looking into the future, Pony Betty would like to go for a diploma in ECD.

Finally, Pony Berry encourages the young people to choose the ECD course, to learn and to put in more effort, so it will help them in the future to become independent and self-sustained. Additionally, ‘there are these nursery teachers who are not trained and I would encourage them to go and get a qualification so they will be the right people to teach the right things to our children’ she concludes.’


Christine (21 years of age)

Qualification: Certificate in Childcare acquired at Weaver Nest ECD TTI in 2017

Employment status: Employed by Windle Trust International to work as a nursery teacher in

Iboa Nursery School in Palorinya refugee settlement


‘Christine was brought up by her elder sister, who lives in a nearby village located 10 kilometers from Moyo Town. Life was not easy for them as her sister had to take care also of her three children. The only income was from subsistence agriculture.

Despite financial constraints, Christine finished secondary school and joined the newly opened Weaver Nest ECD Teachers Training Institute in April 2017. The fees, compared to other academic institutions were more attractive and affordable. Also, the environment was really supportive and she cannot recall any serious challenges during the one year she spent at Weaver Nest.

After finishing her studies in December 2017, Christine found a job in Palorinya Nursery School. This was a community school supported by the parents, which means that the salary she received was low – only UGX 90,000 (just over 20 euros). After some time she responded to an advertisement from Windle Trust – International NGO – who was recruiting nursery teachers to teach refugee children in settlements. The application was successful and Christine was invited for the interview, and later selected for the job.

“They chose me because they need people with qualifications. There were 27 applications for this post, but only 8 had a certificate in ECD. So they invited those 8 for interview and picked 6 people to work at a number of their nursery schools,” she recalls.

Christine acknowledges the importance of having a qualification – if she had no certificate she would not have got the job that pays her UGX 300,000 per month (20,000 goes to pension fund) now. Also, her accommodation is paid for.

Christine is teaching top class children. There are only two teachers for 150 children. It is challenging at times, she acknowledges, because of the children’s language barriers – they do not speak the local language and have very limited English. However, she enjoys her work which also involves mentoring her colleagues as she is the only one among six nursery teachers with the qualification in Childcare. For example, the current teachers, on the ground, did not have any daily routine established for the children as they did not know how to do it until she introduced it. Additionally, her untrained colleagues did not know how to do scheming/planning lessons, so she is the one who mentors them. Even more, she has been approached by UNHCR to mentor untrained teachers in the camps. “Our officers see that I work well, so they are thinking of giving me a scholarship to proceed further with my studies to obtain a Diploma,” Christine reveals.

Christine is very proud of her experience and success. In comparison to her life before this, she now has her own money to cater for herself. Before, she had no means to afford basic necessities. Her advice to her followers at Weaver Nest is to take their studies seriously and to listen to the tutors as the knowledge and skills gained will help them to improve their own lives and the lives of others.’