Ugandan gold

Jill never expected to lose her husband and her job.

Neither did she expect to go to Uganda on a mission trip. But through that trip she met people with a unique coffee farm. Instead of exploiting its workers and keeping them locked in poverty, this farm fed its profits back into raising its workers’ standard of living.

The coffee is called Ugandan Gold, the farm is in Wambabya, Uganda, and the ministry that began there is called CEED, Christian East-African and Equatorial Development Trust, www.ceed-trust.org. Jill Whitecap is the sole US staff member for CEED; the other 60 workers are Ugandans. Jill was the speaker at our annual Women’s Christmas Breakfast last week.

CEED is a model for transformational mission partnerships. All the profits from the sale of Ugandan Gold go back into providing clean water, healthcare, and jobs.

With the profits from the sale of Ugandan Gold, CEED partners with local villages to meet needs identified by the locals. The most pressing need is for clean water. CEED keeps costs low by partnering with local people for labor and direction. The locals then know how to operate and maintain the well. If it breaks, local folks have the wherewithal to fix it (unlike what often happens when outside groups fail to consult the locals first).

But it gets better.

When there’s local ownership, not only do the wells keep working, but the profits from the sale of clean water go back to local businesses. People live healthier, better lives, and others start businesses of their own, which lifts up the whole village.

Even better.

True partnerships lead to deep and abiding relationships. When Jill was seriously ill, the local Ugandan church came together to pray for her.

Jill’s story was so compelling that one person at the breakfast made an anonymous challenge. This person would match donations to CEED up to $1000. Within minutes, others had pledged another $1500.

And so now our church is two-thirds of the way to funding a well ($3900) in another Ugandan village.

People love to give when it truly makes a difference.

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