From Kampala to Kindrochit – my journey to the Quad: Part 1
Little did I know what I had signed up for when I said I would take part in the Quadrathlon, but here I am, just like you, thinking about starting my training. Although I’m in the city of Kampala in the east African country of Uganda.
Heading up a team of 160 people, I lead Mercy Corps’ programmes in Uganda which focus on improving poverty and food insecurity in a country that is starting to heal after a generation-long civil war.
Some might say Uganda has perfect training weather – it is a balmy 25 degrees Celsius today. However, I know that before ‘Quad Day’, on the 11 July, we will experience intense humidity and the short rains from April-May which turn Kampala into red muddy streets and pot holes full of water. I will also need to make sure I’m not doing my swim training in Lake Victoria, the third largest lake in the world, during one of Uganda’s formidable thunderstorms!
Uganda is very lush and green, and is one of the most beautiful and friendly countries in Africa but, it is also very poor. There are inequalities in the distribution of income and the treatment of women has contributed to high poverty rates, poor health and disparities in education and opportunity.
Thanks to you and the money you raise for the Quad, we will be able to help more people in this country. In particular, your money will go to the people of Karamoja – a conflict-affected region in north eastern Uganda, and one of poorest regions of the country. 63% of the population there lives on less than $1 day.
Karamoja has some of the worst nutrition and health in the country and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. We will use your money to set up classes for young mothers to learn how to feed their children nutritious meals on limited resources. We will also run classes in vegetable gardening teaching women to set up their own kitchen gardens so their families have food now and for the future. Your support will enable us to help over 2,500 families.
Good luck with your swim training this month and stay tuned for my updates from Uganda in the monthly Quad newsletter.
Knowing that the money fundraised by Quad participants is going to an area of Uganda which is in desperate need, will keep me motivated to climb mountains in the humidity, get out my fold-up kayak to take down the river, ride my bike through rain storms and avoid the crocodiles and hippos of Lake Victoria.
Like you, I’m now off to do my swim training – and you can bet when I climb out of the water, little children will have thought it funny to run off with my towel!
Sean Granville-Ross is the Mercy Corps Country Director in Uganda. He has been with Mercy Corps for 12 years. Having first started with Mercy Corps in Kosovo, he has been Country Director in Mongolia and Indonesia and was Regional Programme Director for East Asia. Sean grew up in Kenya and speaks English, Spanish, Kiswahili and Indonesian.