PEP!

What we’ve particularly come to observe in Uganda is the work done by Tearfund’s partner – PAG (Pentecostal Assemblies of God) who have been working on an initiative across the the country called PEP (Participatory Evaluation Process). Everywhere we go, we hear the acronym ‘PEP’ cropping up in conversation – it’s easily identifiable even before the interpreter translates. I love the way it sounds so cheerful and joyous – PEP!

PAG bus

It is joyous. Communities and individuals are being transformed by the process. While it’s initiated by the church, it’s open to everyone, so many, many people have benefitted from it. It’s about looking at what you already have, and using that to make a difference in your life and in the lives of others.

One evening this week, Odiira (PAG’s Communications Officer) explained a bit more of the process to us. She said that training sessions were held in the communities, to which all were invited, and which local facilitators ran. At the end of the first day, they were encouraged to go home and work out what resources they had. Many would return the next day and say they had nothing – they would be encouraged to look again. Eventually they would think of the land they already used for growing crops; the few livestock they owned; a particular skill they had; or even something as simple as their time.

BricksLocally made bricks ready for the planned new church buildingPart of Ogongora’s PEP plan.

I’m going to share some more specific stories about the process later (both Bex and Dave already have), but that particular evening, we also got to talking about whether such a process would work back in the UK…

We have so much, yet would we think we had the resources to start our own business or become self-sufficient? I don’t have any land. I don’t have any truly useful skills like carpentry. But I have been blessed with an excellent (nearly entirely free) education. I’ve had a secure job (or at least I will do once I finish training) since graduating (bar 4 months of unemployment). Therefore, as an individual, I’m pretty much ok.

Borehole inspectionObserving the site of a new bore hole for the community – another element of Ogongora’s plan.

But PEP isn’t just about individuals, it’s about how those individuals come together to form a community. As individuals increase their crop harvests, they have more to share with those who are less fortunate than themselves. As they make better use of their time, they are able to offer it to community tasks – like helping with building or cooking meals. They look out for one another and encourage others in the challenges that PEP brings. It’s not all plain sailing, and not every story we’ve heard has had a happy ending, but when it’s happening in the context of community, there are others around to support each other.

What can we do to support our communities? Do we even know who our community is? Is our church community the extent of those who come into the building on a Sunday or during the week? How do we build bridges between the different factions of the community?

I’m not sure what the answers are, but I’m going to be pondering them for quite some time.

Trackbacks

  1. […] to sum up the message of PEP that we’ve heard this week. Throughout this week we’ve heard how villagers were […]

  2. […] is one of those who has benefitted from PEP. She had lost her husband, and was thinking that she would die. Feeling really sick, she went for […]

  3. […] is the facilitator for the PEP process in Ogongora (and other local villages), so I grabbed the chance for a chat with him […]

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