Reflections on 2020 and an updated strategy

During 2019/20, we continued to support the work of our Ugandan partners, the Mulago and Makerere Palliative Care Unit (MMPCU) in Kampala and also the Uganda Cancer Society.

In the last few months the main challenge to both our partners has been the impact of the pandemic on the lives of cancer patients and organisations supporting them. The country is under severe restriction to try to keep the virus at bay, and to date this seems to be succeeding. There have been only a few hundred confirmed cases and no deaths. However the effect on daily life is extreme, with no public transport allowed, and business suspended. For cancer patients, the challenge is how to get to hospital for their treatment, and for patient hostels, how to ensure safety of residents with
prevention and protection measures. We will be making donations from our reserves to help, but are also working on a fundraising campaign to provide extra support.

The Oxford Blackfriars Overseas Aid Trust committee have continued their very generous support for Liz Nabirye as Information Nurse, with additional help to allow additional visits of the volunteer teams. We are deeply grateful for all this support, and it is much appreciated by the team at MMPCU. As always many different people and organisations have also supported us, so I hope this report will give a flavour of the work we are trying to do and the use we are making of your generous help.

Over the past few months we have been reviewing our strategy and produced a new strategic plan for 2020-2023. Our mission remains the same while our goals are re-focussed to suit the current situation in Uganda.

Being based in the UK, we are aware that any support we give must be locally owned and delivered in order to make it relevant and sustainable. To ensure this, we have developed strong partnerships with both local organisations, Makerere and Mulago Palliative Care Unit (MMPCU), and Uganda Cancer Society (UCS) as well as with UK charities working in a similar way in Uganda e.g. Advantage Africa.

Through targeting what we are trying to do, researching thoroughly the best way to spend our money, and partnering with accountable and effective local organisations we have made a big difference with a relatively small amount of money. We are so proud of what we’ve achieved to date.

But there is still much more we could and would like to be doing. We know what we can do well but we want to do more, building on what we’ve done to date, but reflecting the developing landscape within Uganda. Our updated strategic plan aligns our goals with the understood needs, and sets out our plan for how we achieve them.