ProjectsNow Reisverslag van Noelle en Rosan

After all enthusiastic stories from our friends at ProjectNow, we were pleased with the invitation of Wim to accompany him on his visit to Namoemba and Bbakasa last June. Because we have together at least a year of travel experience in Africa, that combined with all our TV and newspapers wisdom, but also because we have once studied geography of development countries, we did not expect big surprises. We had images of poverty, hunger bellies, drunk guys, ignorance, begging, inefficiency, self-enriching government, etc. And somewhere In the back of our mind still buzzed the statement that 80% of the development aid is not helping at all, or even counterproductive. Nevertheless, we have tried to view the work of ProjectsNow unprejudiced.


The first subconscious bias that we had to let go was about the people themselves. The residents of Namoemba and Bbakasa turned out to be very polite and civilized people, it did not stink there and also people looked happy and healthy at first sight. Second, it also showed that the development committee, the teachers of the school, the parents’ committee and those involved in the clinic have a good understanding of the problems and also come up with possible solutions.

The government seems to perform a positive policy in the area. For example, various educational programs are conducted in the area of health, hygiene and family planning. There are boreholes dug by the government and the road to the villages is being improved.

Our impression is that the work of ProjectsNow has a positive impact on the developments taking place. Due to the large improvements ProjectsNow has made to the school and the clinic a good foundation is laid where the government and the community can further build on. The community is proud of these facilities. The clinic and school are now recognized as formal institutions and are provided by the government with staff and resources. This probably would not have happened without ProjectsNow.

It certainly does not mean that the work is completed. The community has indicated that the water supply can be improved considerably. We have seen with our own eyes the huge line at the pump. To relieve some women and because one has experienced that six years is too late for children to go to school, the community started with two kindergartens. However, it lacks a proper space and resources for this. There are still many more of these issues to be solved.

What ProjectsNow does well is listen to the people and invest in things that benefit the entire community. We don’t have any criticism really. However, there are a number of potential pitfalls: Make sure that the community remains hooked, so avoid false promises and ensure good communication. Try to avoid favoring persons; handing out things individuals can easily lead to crooked eyes. Do not “know better”, keep the people’s respect by listening to their suggestions.

A personal highlight was the visit to the classrooms and to see the enthusiasm, pride and eagerness of the students. The level of the lesson we followed was high for Dutch standards.

What has made a big impression was the woman in childbirth emergency that we had to bring in the back of a bumping Pickup over the dirt road to the hospital. The ride lasted about an hour, but she was on time. With a C-section, the babies Ernest and Wim where born. There is a high probability that children and mother would not have survived if she would have had to give birth at home.

The opportunity that we had through ProjectsNow to be involved for a few days with the issues, opportunities and development of a place in Africa tasts for more!

Noelle van den Boom and Rosan van Wilgenburg