Carl’s Ugandan Marathon Adventure

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Carl-001At African Revival, we are lucky enough to enjoy the support of some incredible volunteers. One such person is Trusts & Foundations Volunteer Carl Staniforth who is taking on the Uganda Marathon this year in aid of the Uganda Marathon Foundation – and African Revival! In his own words, here’s the story of Carl’s marathon journey so far:

In June of this year I will be heading to Masaka, a town some 75 miles from the capital of Uganda to take part in a fantastic community based event lasting 7 days and culminating in a marathon around the local area. Sponsorship raised by the entrants will go directly to local projects and the first 5 days of the trip will be spent visiting and volunteering at those projects and generally giving back to this wonderful hosting community. On the day of the race, around 200 international runners (that’s us!) will be joined by 3,000 Ugandans (which, in all honesty, probably doesn’t give us much of a chance!)

So the training has begun in earnest; I am not built like a runner, I definitely don’t eat like a runner and I have been plagued by injuries for the past 3 months. Nevertheless, I have been pounding the pavements and have racked up 70km in training so far this year. The next hurdle is a half marathon in Paris at the beginning of March.

One of the best things that has happened in the adventure so far was the unquestioning agreement by no less than three of my friends, on being the posed the proposition: “Do you fancy running a marathon in Uganda?” All responded without hesitation: “Absolutely!” This was hugely motivational for me and ultimately all four of us.

Donations have been rolling in steadily, and I have a few events planned over the next few months to encourage a little more sponsorship, with a poker night coming up soon and mega barbecue later in the year.

I really am looking forward to every part of this as an adventure; through the training and fundraising to visiting what is by most accounts one of the most beautiful countries in the world, connecting with the projects being supported, of course the race itself, and finally this all being wrapped up in a pretty awesome camping trip (I am a mug for a good camping trip!)

The only thing I can say I have my reservations about is leaving my family for the best part of 8 days (including my wife’s birthday – oops!) This will certainly be the longest I have ever spent away from them, but I am desperately trying to encourage them to come along next year!

So of course, any donations no matter how much would be gratefully received (, but also please spread the word about the event ( and if you have any inclination why not consider signing up yourself…

We wish Carl all the best in his training and his fundraising, and will bring you another update on his progress soon!

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#ChallengeYourself in 2016 for African Revival!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Annual Golf Day Thursday 21st April 2016

Following many fantastic years at the award-winning Stoke Park we are changing the location of our golf day for 2016 and are taking up the kind offer to hold our event at the Warren Estate, near Maldon. Enter your team today!


RideLondon-Surrey 100 Sunday 31st July 2016

The UK’s best festival of cycling – a 100 mile closed road route through the capital and leafy suburbs. Get your place now!

Jan 2016 2

Climb Kilimanjaro 13th-23rd October 2016

Join us for an adventure of a lifetime as we scale Africa’s highest peak. Register to race to the roof of Africa!

Kilimanjaro 5

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Play into the New Year with our Jumpstart! playgrounds

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Jan 2016 1In 2016, we will complete the construction of four playgrounds in Nwoya District, as part of our Jumpstart! programme, which is implemented in partnership with East African Playgrounds, and funded by the UK Department for International Development’s UK Aid Match grant, made possible by you – as the government matched all donations to our Jumpstart! appeal pound for pound.

The playgrounds reflect the local environment in northern Uganda, so they are familiar to the children. As well as the usual seesaws and swings, pupils will be able to ride model elephants, giraffes and bodas (motorbike taxis which are a common type of transport in Uganda). Plenty of excitement for your average school day!

Jan 2016 7The playgrounds will provide children with an engaging, stimulating outside space that will allow them to play, explore and develop in a safe environment. Learning environments make a huge difference to a child’s learning, and we now know that stimulation in early childhood is crucial to brain development and school readiness.

Richard Ayella, our Education Programme Coordinator, told us:

“By providing an environment that encourages unstructured play, the playgrounds encourage children to think for themselves, thus gaining vital problem solving skills”

Overall, our goal is to improve the quality of nursery education in a holistic manner – by focusing on all aspects of a child’s learning experience, both inside and outside the classroom.

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Meet Maxwell!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Jan 2016 5Maxwell joined African Revival in January 2015 as an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Monitor and is one of our staff implementing the Jumpstart! ECD Programme. Here, Maxwell gives us an insight into his work with African Revival:

I joined African Revival because I wanted a new job with opportunities to learn and grow. African Revival, and my position in particular, is an excellent match for my skills in promoting access to quality education for vulnerable children.

I have many different responsibilities in my role. I conduct community sensitization to raise awareness about the Jumpstart! programme and the importance of early childhood development. I am the link between the community, nursery schools, African Revival and the District Education Officer. Furthermore, I support the nursery teachers in lesson planning to ensure that the quality of education in our Jumpstart! nursery centers remains high.

The best thing about African Revival is that the organisation does not only help children and the community, but it also does a lot for staff development. I also enjoy being with all the amazing staff who work together as a team. This makes my work easy and enjoyable.

I love so much that this work with African Revival is giving me the opportunity to interact with disadvantaged children and help them realise their full potential.

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School Demonstration Gardens: High hopes for 2016!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Jan 2016 6At the end of 2015, we distributed the first proceeds from our School Garden project amongst members of the parents’ groups. While the groups encountered challenges throughout the year, particularly from a prolonged drought which affected crop yield, they still succeeded in generating a good profit from their farming activities. A portion of the money was reinvested back into the garden and school, and the rest shared between the group members.

At the start of the project, each member set savings goals for their profits. Most members included paying their children’s school fees as a top priority, as well as saving for future medical needs and investing in their home farming or business. Bosco, part of the marketing team at the Lujoro Primary School Demonstration Garden, hopes to use the profits to increase his agricultural productivity at home in 2016:

“I will use part of the money to buy two pigs. So I will be keeping pigs. And also part of the money I will use to pay the exam fees for the children.”

Alice, a member of the parents’ school garden group at Labala Primary School told us:

Jan 2016 4“My wish for 2016 is this. I want to change from this humble farming (by hand) to some simple machine techniques, where I use a cow to plough. I want to be a commercial farmer.”

As well as determining the best use of their profits, parents’ groups have been busy choosing which crops to plant this year and planning their farming activities to ensure that they maintain a high level of productivity. We wish them the best of luck in 2016 and hope they enjoy fruitful harvests!

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Kilimanjaro: the climb of a lifetime!

Posted on by Sophie Hicks

643900_10151093237226985_2031015318_nA procession of lights, burning like candles in the black of the night, is winding its way up the side of the final peak. It is reassuring to see the lights, a sign that the long road to the summit is well travelled. I look up to the roof of Africa – shaded in luminous tones of grey and silver under the glow of a full moon – and feel the weight of the challenge to come.

It is summit night, and my group is just about to set-off. Our guide woke us up at 1 am and eased us into a waking state with warm cups of hot chocolate, salted popcorn and sweet porridge. We do a final check to make sure we have all the necessary equipment and provisions, adjust our many layers to protect us against the cool of the night – and we’re off !

551672_10151093242321985_1095448802_nIts been a long journey to this point – and not just geographically. I started fundraising almost a year before the trip, organising a black-tie ball for my community, which proved a great success ! I sold tickets in advance for £10 a pop, which instantly raised a lot of money. On the night, after an interactive presentation of the challenge and charitable cause, a band played while I sold cakes and raffle tickets. I received some very generous donations and, equally as important, my guests had a great time ! It took hard work and sustained effort to raise the money, but the satisfaction of reaching the final goal was worth it, especially since the funds were going to such a good cause – in this case an education project in Tanzania that aimed to improve school infrastructure.

404143_10151093241781985_985586758_nThe Kilimanjaro adventure also marks my first voyage out of Europe ! This seemed a little daunting at first, but the great thing about doing a challenge like this, is that you are surrounded by people in exactly the same situation. I became very close to my fellow climbers. We supported each other first during the fundraising stage, then on the plane to Kenya and finally all the way up to the top. Together, we all failed to contain our excitement as we caught the first glimpse of majestic Kilimajaro from the bus. We shared our successes, our fears, our first Tanzanian meal – by summit night, I had made friends for life. And those friends count when you’re on the side of the highest mountain in Africa !

Since starting the climb six days ago, we have hiked through a stunning range of unique ecosystems. First, we came to dense rainforest, high canopy ceilings accentuating the echoing cries of the wildlife – monkeys, insects, birds of every size and colour – that call the biome home. The tall, elegant trees shrink to squat shrubs on the second day, huddled together in dense masses across a foggy landscape. But the scenery opens up again once we reach the moorland, with its wide horizons of peaty soil covered with heather, bracken and moss. Here, the air is clear and crisp and views across an ocean of clouds are breath-taking. Towards the end of the hike, we cross over into another dimension – a bizarre desert moonscape, inhospitable, with sludge grey dunes of dust that stretch as far as the eye can see. At night, temperatures drop to below freezing point, and I’m infinitely grateful I brought that extra sleeping bag liner ! And while the temperatures don’t rise, the dismal landscape slowly lifts, transforming into a snowy wonderland and signalling that we have reached the beginning of the end; the base of the highest peak and the final push to the summit…

578343_10151093240286985_430173984_nWe are half way up now. I try to maintain a meditative state of mind, focusing solely on the steady flow of my breath and the swinging coattails of the person in front. We round a corner just in time to see the rising sun. Somebody plays ‘Circle of Life’, from the Lion King, on their phone while we admire the golden hues of light illuminating the vast planes of the African Savannah. I expect a dramatic cliff to take us to the top of Kilimanjaro, but in reality, the climb is the opposite – a gradual incline that requires infinite endurance, a strong body and even stronger mind to conquer. I briefly falter and want to turn back, but the wonderful porters urge me on, one taking my bag, the other offering me some sweetened tea. Their compassion makes all the difference, because before long I see a flash of green amidst white glacier – the signpost marking the summit. The relief of reaching the top is almost overwhelming, and I try to savour the beauty of the scene, viewed from the roof of Africa.






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Welcome Cara!

Posted on by Elaine Miller

Cara_For_Website Cropped

Today we are absolutely thrilled to welcome Cara Shaw as our new Fundraising & Communications Field Officer!            

Cara joins us for six months in our Gulu office (Uganda), where she will be helping with proposal writing, reporting, and communications. She has a degree in International Relations and Development Studies from the University of Sussex and has worked in fundraising, communications and programmes roles in the international development sector for the last two years.

Keep an eye on our website and social media for her photos and reports from our projects in Uganda!

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