VALUE OF COMMUNITY
When the Rotary Club of Kololo-Kampala,
Uganda, began developing a project to help
the impoverished village of Lugo, located
about an hour’s drive from the Ugandan
capital, they first identified local leaders
and sat down to talk with them.
“All the information you need for a good
community assessment is in the village,”
says Samuel Farouk Mukasa-Kajubi, who
chaired the project for the Kololo-Kampala
club. “Every community is capable of
addressing their needs and how they think
they can be met. Sometimes they just need
a little awakening.”
This community assessment was a key part
of a global grant project sponsored by
Mukasa-Kajubi’s club and District 9980
(New Zealand). Rotary grant staff concur
that adopt-a-village projects, which are
often complex, highlight the critical role of
these assessments in an effort’s success.
“Most adopt-a-village projects that
haven’t had a community assessment fail,”
says Rebeca Mendoza, a regional grants
officer for Rotary International. “Even
before community assessments became
a requirement of global grants, we saw
how essential they were in these types of
“The real project starts once you have put
all the things on the ground, and
you start monitoring your results.”
— Samuel Farouk Mukasa-Kajubi
Lessons learned from the project:
IDENTIFY COMMUNITY LEADERS AND MEET
WITH THEM. The project team assembled a focus
group that included two teachers, two local
officials, four elders, a health care administrator,
two young adults, two religious leaders, and five
other community figures. “Sit with them and ask
them questions over a cup of tea or a drink,”
Mukasa-Kajubi says. “Do that for two days, and
you will get all the information you need.”
ESTABLISH A COMMITTEE OF LOCALS WHO
WILL IMPLEMENT YOUR PROJECT WITHIN THE
COMMUNITY. A team of four filled that role in
Lugo. “This group did wonders for me,” he says.
“They were there all the time, because they are
the real beneficiaries.”
DEVELOP YOUR OWN QUESTIONS TO
SUPPLEMENT ANY LIST OF SAMPLE QUESTIONS.
Every project is unique. “Comparisons with other
projects should be minimized,” he says.
KEEP GOOD RECORDS AND MAKE REPORTS
MORE THAN ONCE A YEAR. If clubs wait until
the mandated yearly report to gather records,
Mukasa-Kajubi says, officers may have changed
and receipts could be hard to track down. The
Kololo-Kampala club has a committee that meets
every Tuesday to review and record transactions.
DOWNLOAD TOOLS FOR
PLANNING YOUR COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT.
projects. Clubs sometimes bite off more
than they can chew.”
In response to the concerns of local leaders,
the Lugo adopt-a-village project addressed
economic and community development,
education, health, and water and sanitation
issues. The project provided cows, sewing
machines, books, and school desks. Elders
received training in community leadership.
A village health team was formed. And a
borehole and water harvesting system were
installed to provide clean water.