Our History

 

Background

In 2003, Mrs Patricia Crook, a missionary working with the Ugandan Churches, carried out a countrywide needs assessment covering 20 districts. This study revealed that people at the village level were suffering from preventable illnesses due to the following;

    • Drinking unsafe water
    • Poor hygiene
    • Unsanitary practices
    • Eating an inadequate diet
    • Lack of awareness about good health practices
    • Poor cultural practices

 

This study resulted in a training programme, 'Prevention is Better than Cure', which was introduced through selected churches. A total of 42 trainers passed through the first level of training in 2006. Due to budget constraints only 22 of these trainers were able to complete the second level training in June 2007 and the third level training in March 2008. In total, these 22 individuals have taught an excess of 50,000 people. Through the programme the trainers status in the community has increased along with their self development, because of this, many have gone on for further education while others have coninued to this day teaching the program.

In October 2008 Mrs Crook began working with Missionary Ventures. She expanded the teaching and gradually the concept of 'The Three Stones Programme' was formed. The project derives its name from the common practice of balancing a cooking pot on three large stones over an open fire. The analogy illustrates the importance of the three main components of the project: safe water, proper hygiene and sanitation, and a balanced diet. These are the three fundamental pillars for an improved family health status. If one of the three stones is taken away, improved health status will be lost from the family just as food will be lost from the cooking pot.

The Pilot Study

In 2009 a small pilot study in the west of Uganda was launched to test the effectiveness of The Three Stones Programme. Teachers were selected from the original training program to teach the pilot. They taught a total of 31 individuals, 21 returned for the second module. The participants of the program are requested to teach their neighbors the three stones. Many were invited by local officials to teach in their communities. By the end of the program they had taught a total of 4760 neighbours and community members (1102 men, 1670 women 1074 boys and 1182 girls). Four new senior trainers have been selected by the group. The cascade methodology is an important aspect of the programme.

While statistics on the effectiveness of the Three Stones Program are difficult to generate, personal testamonies and the numbers of students faithfully returning to further modules shows that the program indeed is helping families become healthier. Families in the program have experienced an increase in their disposable income becaue their money is not being spent on hospital bills, transportation and medication allowing families to become self sufficient and independant of donors. Many are now paying school fees for their children, buying extra land for farming, and opening income generating businesses.

An important part of this program is that Ugandans are training Ugandans. Pat is the only Muzungu (white person) involved. And the most amazing part is that to this date, no money has been given to any of the trainers for teaching their neighbors. All work is done completely on a volunteer basis. People stay in the program not because of any direct financial reward, but because they see how it builds and strengthens their families, their communities, and their country.