In the last year of the Umoja project, Mpwapwa Diocese reached 1,378 people. But the beautiful thing about Umoja is that it spreads!
After their initial success, the women of Upendo group are now planning to increase the number of pots they make each week and to try to access markets outside their village to sell the pots. They would also like to purchase a means of transport to bring raw materials to the village. The hope they now have is infectious and is spreading into their families and far beyond.
AN INDIVIDUAL PROCESS
The results of Umoja look different for every household and community. But for each the process is the same. First the church leaders go through the training, learning about how Umoja works. Sometimes they visit a community that has already been through the process. This helps them to get inspired!
Once they understand the process, the leaders take the church through the Bible studies. Then they get the wider community involved in understanding the challenges they face together.
THE RESULTS WE HAVE SEEN
The Umoja process has helped people start businesses, advocate to local government, and found self help groups. These results have all been instrumental in empowering those in poverty. Umoja has also helped unify communities. It has boosted self-esteem, cemented relationships between church and community, and stimulated economic growth.
THE FIRST FRUITS OF OUR LABOURS
Changes in agricultural practices have made a noticeable difference to the communities’ harvests. Farmers have varied what they plant, now including sweet potatoes and sunflowers, as they can make more money selling those crops. They were also given training on conservation farming by the Diocese. This has increased their harvest of traditional crops like maize, beans, and cassava.
CHANGES IN THE CHURCH
Locally available resources are now a key factor in the development of the church, creating opportunities for the church to minister to the whole person - both spiritually and physically.
Prayer groups are meeting more regularly now, averaging three times per week instead of only once before
Bible studies using Umoja materials have been well attended. People are more interested in reading the Bible than before as well as
learning about the topics being discussed
Offerings in the churches have increased by around 150%
Many of the churches are growing, with at least 50 members in each church compared to 35 when the process was initiated.
In the next year Mpwapwa Diocese will train 30 facilitators. This group will continue to guide five local churches and communities through the Umoja process. This team of facilitators will also lead in scaling up the process in the diocese in the next few years.