Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is Development Companions International?
DCI is a small Christian NGO (non-profit) registered in the State of Washington, USA and also in Uganda. We partner with local communities, ministries, and organizations as we focus mainly on sustainable community development. Our programs are developed on-site with our local partners to ensure appropriate and useful solutions.
Where does DCI work?
We are currently working with local communities and churches in rural Eastern and Central Uganda, developing and administering programs in adult literacy, community health, and church leadership development. DCI is open to working in other regions as funding allows.
Does DCI employ local people?
Yes, all of our literacy teachers are from the communities where we are working. Our office staff and program managers are also Ugandans. At this time DCI’s staff includes 27 full and part-time employees.
How many non-local people work for DCI?
At this time there are no non-Ugandan paid staff. We do have an American director based in Uganda who receives no regular salary.
How many potential sites are there for DCI literacy classes?
The possibilities are endless, limited only by funding. There are high rates of adult illiteracy in much of rural Africa and giving adults a basic education will have a powerful impact wherever we are asked to hold classes. We arrange for a local church or community to sponsor a class and provide their facilities free of charge.
What subjects are taught in addition to adult literacy?
The curriculum, taught in English and the local language, covers reading and writing in both languages, arithmetic, health, hygiene and disease prevention, Bible, Gender and Social Studies (gender rights and issues, culture, marriage and parenting, analytical thinking, civics, geography, etc.), agricultural skills, and entrepreneurial skills.
Does DCI operate a medical clinic?
No, not currently. We do not yet have our own doctors. We instead concentrate on teaching an awareness of disease prevention, hygiene practices, and educating the public about healthy living. We do have an advanced nurse practitioner on staff to examine patients, prescribe medications and refer people to regular medical clinics. But his main focus is currently community health education and program development.
How much of my donation goes for overhead expenses?
All administrative work in the US is done by volunteers and supplies are donated. Aside from bank fees there is practically no administrative expense paid from donations.
Does DCI work with other organizations?
DCI is always eager to work with other organizations. Partnerships can take many forms, from simple funding to lending of expertise and on the ground work. We have brought in optometrists with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) who examined patients and dispensed eyeglasses, ophthalmic surgical teams to perform cataract surgeries, and pastors and trainers who have taught workshops and seminars as part of our leadership development program. We also administer literacy classes for Life Seeds, a small agency in Oregon, overseeing it as we do our own classes. Aid Africa, based in Gulu, has provided environmental program training and we are implementing a rocket stove project with their assistance.
How do we select literacy teachers?
We work with local communities to find candidates who live nearby, have some training or experience as teachers, and who are open minded and desire to be agents for change in their community. After assessment and interviews, selected candidates undergo an intensive initial DCI training, which is followed up with refresher trainings after each term, three times per year.
How do we select literacy students?
DCI works with local church and community leaders to recruit the least educated but most eager members of their community. After we explain our programs to them, they are assessed to ensure that they are truly in need of our programs and that they are willing to commit to a two and a half year course of part time study.
How did we develop our curriculum?
Our original curriculum was developed by a team of Ugandans in the Kapchorwa region, led by our country director. The members of the team included pastors and church leaders, professional educators, DCI staff, and community members. The subjects chosen were in response to stated needs by the communities and local leaders. The curriculum has been revised twice with the assistance of expert consultants and the input of our literacy teachers.
What happens after students graduate from the program?
After graduation, DCI literacy students are able to apply the knowledge and thought processes gained to improve their own lives and also to make their communities better. Our graduates are prepared to independently develop and run their own businesses or farming projects, go for other training, and even get jobs or successfully run for local government office. Each class is organized and registered with the government as a community based organization and as a business, so students often continue as a group to apply for other further trainings and grants offered by other organizations and government as they are available to them.
After each class graduates, DCI assesses the continuing need for our programs in each community compared with the demand from other areas. The next group of classes is chosen from this larger pool of candidate villages, based on need, logistics, and funding.