The news from Siriba is quite mixed.
The new Head of the Vocational Training Centre is making good progress in the day to day training in carpentry and tailoring training with young people. But the longer term sustainability of the project will only be secured if the support of the regional government in this province of Uganda can be obtained. Before this can be done government officials need to see that certain basic requirements can be met, for example adequate latrines for staff and students and adequate equipment.
We have managed to transfer a grant to Siriba to complete the work on the latrines and to begin the electrification of the centre including the installation of some solar panels but further conversations with government officials will be needed to see what their next requirements are. We have also managed to send out some extra sewing machines and a laptop computer which has now arrived there. However we have been advised that the government of Uganda has increased import duties which makes sending equipment much more expensive and charities are not exempt from these payments. Discussions with the government are continuing and another batch of carpentry tools is being assembled for transportation, this will include a small number of power tools.
Water supply continues to be a problem. A second borehole was drilled in 2011 but proved to be a failure. The drilling company has acknowledged mistakes and promised to drill another borehole free of charge. This borehole has now been completed but, as yet, no pump has been installed. We do hope that a water supply for the Vocational Training Centre and the Primary School will be available soon.
Althought there is high inflation in Uganda, it does not significantly affect the value of money that we can transfer in grants because inflation has been accompanied by an increase in the exchange rate. But local supplies are affected and it is difficult for the project to purchase materials such as wood or dressmaking fabrics and threads. Hopefully the government will be able to get a grip on this very basic economic problem soon.
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