Geoffrey Bugingo: I thank God for the TD training. Before the training, I had planned to get another job that would have tripled my income then. But after the training, I came to the understanding that someone could begin small and build it up. I had started a small coffee planting project on 1.25 of 10 acres. After going through the workshop, I realised that I could grow gradually as I prayed and relied on God for help. I got people to work with as we had learnt to involve other people. These were in the coffee-growing associations as I could not afford to purchase seedlings for 10 acres. At that time, the government was giving out seedlings. Through the association, we were able to mobilise and prepare land for planting the coffee. When the local council officers inspected my preparations site, I was recommended to the Minister of Agriculture who gave me a full truck of seedlings that I planted. God has since been teaching me that one can begin small and prosper.
The second lesson from TD was that I was not to develop at the expense of other people, as some are in the habit of doing while manipulating others. I thank God that a person can begin and work on the four relationships and still bless you without anyone passing judgment on your actions. There is a gentleman who out of inspiration to develop started a bar and played loud music at night. As the village Chairperson, I complained that children had as a result begun joining the harlots who were frequenting the bar. He argued that he had brought development to the community and wondered how the Chairperson was fighting him. I asked him whether sexual immorality was development. I appeal to everyone who attends the workshop to give TD serious thought and attention. you have to think about others and not just yourself. For someone to develop, you have to think big but begin small, and not begin with several projects at ago. I pursued Development Studies yet with TD, it feels like I never did the course. While one can graduate from Development Studies, you can never graduate from Transformational Development because it is an ongoing program.
Norah Ademun: I used to trust the bank most where I would save the little money I would get. After a while, I realised that that money was not mine because I would easily pick when I got a problem or to lend to a friend, leaving me to wait for the end of the month to get paid. I learnt that it was better to invest in a project. I however made losses in some projects which discouraged me. At one time I believed that I was cursed. I once bought a cow back home at UGX 700,000 which after two years got sick and died. I also tried agriculture and planted maize which was destroyed by animals. But I kept asking God for wisdom. I then joined cash-round groups and bought a bull and God was gracious that I got profit from it. This greatly encouraged me. I kept that money and joined VSLA which generated profit. While I was still considering what to do next, a friend, Racheal reached out and interested me in a plot of land that I bought. Had I not saved the money with the VSLA groups and also profited from the bull, I would not have had the courage to go and look at the plot. The plot of land was valued more than what I had but I was able to borrow a top-up from the VSLA and purchase it. (Norah was selected by participants as Chair of the next TD-1 workshop at LCC in December 2021)
Charles Wasswa: I am glad that when TD-1 was held here in 2016, I had just graduated as a Veterinary Doctor. At the end of the workshop, my church decided to start a piggery project which is still running to date. As an individual, more so as a Veterinary Doctor, I registered in my mind to begin my own piggery project. So I left the community but returned after some time. On returning, I had no source of income. When I got some money, I purchased veterinary equipment which gave me income to meet my daily needs. When someone gave me a cash gift, my first thought was to begin a piggery project, since the idea was birthed from TD-1. I rented a small house from a person who was raring only one pig. I divided it into four compartments and started with four piglets. When the time to get married approached, I sold off the then-grown pigs and was able to buy critical household items. I started the project with UGX 250,000 and after six months, I got UGX 1 million. Then I topped up on the balance and started another piggery project. This second project enabled me to successfully do our introduction (cultural wedding) ceremony. I thus want to do another bigger project as I am not about to leave piggery. I plan to do a model farm. While I used to look for job opportunities, after TD, I gained confidence that I would not be poor anywhere I go, that I can grow a farm with just one piglet.
As a result of TD, we formed a VSLA group called Love in Action. I thank God for such a VSLA that is at a village level of income because, on my wedding eve at 8:00 pm, our committee chair informed me that everything was in place except for funds for sauce for the guests (the introduction ceremony was done the day before the church wedding). At this point, my close pals and I had run out of funds and I decided to consult with VSLA Chair who was also with me at the introduction ceremony to get the money that night. Had it been the bank where I had to sign several loan papers and wait, I would not have managed. But I got money that very night from the VSLA and handed it over to the committee Chair and got relieved. The beauty with VSLA is that it is not as pressurizing in repayment as the bank. Unlike some workshops that train people how to use others to get what you want, in TD we start initiatives (income-generating or otherwise) starting with the relationship with God, beginning with available resources, and how to involve others instead of taking advantage of them, resulting into holistic change. (Charles was the English-to-Luganda Translator for the next TD-1 workshop at LCC in December 2021)