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July 2016 report
We have now reached another significant point in the development of Acheru with the retirement of Sam Mutumba as a worker there, although he continues as chairman of their board. Sam's role was pivotal in building Acheru but I hope it's now well enough established to continue under the direction of Joyce and Harriet. They now have a lot of experience and we have confidence in them.
Some people were surprised when we asked Sam to retire immediately rather than have a gradual handover but we thought it best to do it this way. As long as Sam was around people would inevitably regard him as the boss and this could prevent others from establishing their authority.
Sam has been an Africare employee for 14 years, coming with his wife Mary to take over Besaniya when Alan Clegg left. He served as Africare's Field Director, helping oversee our various interests in Uganda including the Besaniya Children's Home, Evangelical Christian Ministries, the supply and distribution of medical equipment, Cherub, and latterly Acheru. He helped us through some difficult periods but as parts of the work were handed over he wasn't required as Field Director and instead settled into work at Acheru. He oversaw all the building work, and was also responsible for guiding the work in the north at Minakulu. Now that building is complete Sam's role was less clearly defined, and a primary reason for having him retire now is the incompatibility of being both an employee and chairman of the board.
Sam has a range of interests so certainly won't be idle in retirement, but he now won't need to undertake so much traveling. He's an influential figure in his local church and community and I'm sure they'll be happy to see more of him.
I still remember phoning Sam in 2002 to ask if he would work for us. He was on his way home and said he'd speak to Mary before deciding. I spoke to him again later that day and he said they accepted it as a call from God. They gave up their teaching jobs and moved to Besaniya. The rest is history.
We do though believe that we've a good team at Acheru. Joyce and Harriet have steadily been gaining experience and the relationship between Acheru and Africare has settled down, with the roles more clearly defined. They take full responsibility for the day to day running of Acheru, while we take responsibility for funding, as the donor agency, with Acheru providing the appropriate standard of reporting and accountability. In Uganda they are accountable to the Acheru board, comprised of trustees who bring a wide range of experience.
The evidence of Acheru's effectiveness is in the results. We thank Sam for all his work and wish him a long retirement, with the ability to spend time with his family and his other interests, but with his wisdom and experience still brought to board meetings.
We have suffered a setback with the refusal of visas for Joyce and Harriet to come to the UK. This is the third time visas have been refused, despite us believing we had done everything possible to support the application. Part of the immigration official's judgment said: "I am not satisfied that you will be maintained and accommodated in the UK without working or having access to public funds or are able to meet the cost of your return or outward journey." This despite having undertaken to meet all relevant expenses and providing a letter from our Stormont government and a letter from the Ugandan Ministry of Health to support the applications.
It was important to us to try to bring Joyce and Harriet here, seeing it as a progression in the work and an opportunity to get to know them better and develop our working relationship. They had really been looking forward to the trip, so this is a serious disappointment to them. Having been turned down now on three occasions there seems little point in submitting another application, but it's frustrating as the judgment seems so unreasonable.
Brian Dorman

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