Salama Shield

HISTORY

OUR ORIGIN STORY

Our journey began in 1992, in the southwestern Ugandan town of Lyantonde.

 

There, Dr. Dennis Willms (McMaster University) and Prof. Nelson Sewankambo (Makerere University) were serving as co-principal investigators in a behavioural science research study on HIV/AIDS transmission. Together with their team of ethnographic researchers, they were able to shed light on who was at heightened risk of contracting HIV in Sub-Saharan African communities, confirming that HIV transmission was far more prolific than first believed.

 

They also saw first-hand how the crisis was significantly impacting the lives of generations of Africans; those with HIV/AIDS were “dying and getting finished”, leaving behind orphans, widows, and aging grandparents to face the awful struggle of poverty. At the time, there were no anti-retroviral therapies (ARTs), which made the need for HIV/AIDS prevention and support services for vulnerable communities critical.

 

The team believed there was great promise in participatory action research (PAR) where research findings are translated into tangible solutions and used by the impacted communities. Unfortunately, despite successfully publishing academically robust data, the team could not rely on traditional academic grants to finance PAR activities.

 

To generate the funding needed, Dr. Willms established Salama SHIELD Foundation (SSF). In 1994, the foundation was incorporated as a charitable organization and registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency (#89062 7672 RR0001).

 

Thanks to generous donations and the work of countless people, SSF has since been able to ethically and meaningfully come alongside communities in addressing their health and development needs. SSF aims to “do development differently” by depending on – and deferring to – the collective strength of indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and spiritual values.

 

By working alongside esteemed community members – including mentors (aunts and uncles), traditional healers, faith leaders, and budding entrepreneurs – SSF programs are helping people reclaim their hope, worthwhileness, and well-being. These programs include socially compelling and sensitive approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention, small business development (including micro-loans), gender-based violence (GBV) intervention, and addressing food insecurity, poverty, education, and water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) issues.

 

SSF continues to advance its unique form of authentic development in Uganda, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, and is currently replicating its best practices and processes into Canadian ethnocultural community settings. Our commitment to sustainable development has resulted in the indigenization of SSF-Uganda, now independently registered in Uganda as an Indigenous Non-Government Organization (NGO).

OUR MILESTONES

1992-1994

Dr. Dennis Willms (McMaster University) and Dr. Nelson Sewankambo (Makerere University) conduct HIV/AIDS behavioural and ethnographic intervention research in Uganda with Phase 1 funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

1994

Dr. Willms establishes and incorporates the charitable organization, Salama SHIELD Foundation (SSF).

1997-1999

Phase 2 funding from IDRC helps to finance the "Promoting Sexual Health" in Uganda project.

1998

"The Mentorship Intervention Project", where local mentors provide HIV/AIDS behavioural prevention in the context of sexual and reproductive health education, is launched. Sixteen female mentors (aunts or Ssengas) from four villages of Lyantonde Town Council are trained.

2000

"The Mentorship Intervention Project" expands to include 21 trained male mentors (uncles or Kojjas).

2001

SSF and community members identify a need for a safe place where development-minded people can congregate for discussion, action, and reflection. A build site for a Community Development Centre (CDC) within Uganda’s Lyantonde District is secured.

2002

Construction begins on the CDC in Lyantonde.

2002 - 2005

Comprehensive health programs are funded by the Motz Family Foundation (MFF), Canadian Rotary Committee for International Development, and Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).

2003

Staff begin working out of the newly-built CDC in Lyantonde.

Jan 2004

"The Salama Drama Group"is formed and begins performing at community sports events, incorporating HIV/AIDS educational messages.

2004 - 2006

The Indigenous Aunt and Uncle Mentorship to Young People program is funded by the Canadian International Development Centre (CIDC). During this time, 150 ssengas and 150 kojjas and trained in HIV/AIDS prevention education and paired with young people in Southwestern Uganda. Approximately 900 adolescent girls and boys are mentored.

2005

The CDC is commissioned by the Hon. Maria Mutagamba, representing His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda.

2006

Dr. Willms, Prof. Nelson Sewankambo and staff host His Royal Highness Kabaka Muwenda Mutebi II at the CDC.

2006

The Rotary Foundation International (TRF) conducts project site visits in Lyantonde and at additional SSF program locations.

2006 - 2009

Through the "Health, Hunger, and Humanity Project", nearly 250 bicycles are provided to mentors. This allowed them to better support orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and marginalized women in remote villages. The project is funded by The Rotary Foundation International, Rotary Club of Hamilton, and the Rotary Club of Hamilton AM.

2006 - 2017

Students from different universities and institutions in Uganda participate in formal internships with SSF

2007

The OVC Goat Project provides 13 families (most of whom are headed by child-adults with no parents, widowed or single parents, or elderly grandparents) with two goats each as a means of generating income for themselves.

2008 - 2013

The Centre of International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, ON funds SSF’s participation in the African Initiative, including the African Initiative Congress on Climate Change in 2009.

2008

Staff members Hanifa Namuli and Rose Kawere are recognized for their ten years of service with SSF

2008

The 3H Rotary Grant allows 25 disadvantaged women from five villages to receive funding from the Micro-credit Revolving Loan (MCRL) Program.

2009

The MCRL Program scales up thanks to funding from Canadian benefactor, Peter Cullen. Capitol and business training is provided to women and youth from 40 villages in Lyantonde District.

2010

SSF participates in community-based activities with the Stop TB Project (funded by the World Health Organization’s Challenge Facility for Civil Society).

2011

The MCRL and OVC Goat Projects benefiting orphans and vulnerable children scale up thanks to support from the Jim and Lorna Blair Family Foundation.

2011

A ground-breaking ceremony is held at the future site of the SVEC-L, formalizing the beginning of Phase 1 construction for the school.

2011

"The Pearl of Africa Baseball Exchange", where young men from Vancouver, BC come to Lyantonde to play baseball together, takes place thanks to organizer Luke Willms.

2011 - 2015

"The Nkondo Adopt Project", in partnership with the Rotary Club of Kampala North, provides training to KYENATU Development Association members of Nkondo Sub-County in Buyende District.

2012

Hanifa Namuli is decorated with the honour of “Ambassador of Hope” for SSF.

2012

Frieda Willms donates 90 goats on 90th birthday.

2012

A two-day eye clinic takes place at the CDC thanks to Dr. Les Neufeld and his Canadian team who donate their time and professional services.

2012 - 2014

The Strengthening Community Response against HIV and AIDS Project is conducted in Rakai District in partnership with RACOBAO.

2013

The grand opening of SVEC-L is attended by the Vice President of Uganda.

2013

Dr. Dennis Willms is the recipient of the Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Club of Hamilton AM.

2013 - 2017

A partnership and student exchange program between SSF and the University of British Columbia is coordinated by Tamara Baldwin.

2014

The SSF Children Care Fund allows nine physically challenged children to receive medical treatment at the CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital in Kisubi and St. Francis Hospital in Kampala.

2014

Staff members Ruth Nakaaki, Yoram Malanzi, Fred Mawanda, and Hajat Sarah Matovu are each recognized for their ten years of service with SSF.

2014 - 2017

"The Community Systems Strengthening Community and Facility Linkages Project" is implemented in partnership with Mildmay Uganda.

2015

Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), in collaboration with Save the Children International under the SUNRISE OVC Project, declare SSF a “Site of Excellence.”

2015

Loan Tracker, a series of excel documents that improve administration, activity tracking, and data gathering of the MCRL Program, is created and updated by Dr. Don Wagner of the University of Prince Edward Island.

2015

SSF hosts the UN Women Team as they work to reduce violence against women and girls. A monthly Uganda Youth Network Orange Day is established to raise awareness for women’s issues.

2016 - 2017

With the help of Roy Godber (Canada) and Mike Gordon (UK), six youths are trained at the CDC in pole lathe techniques, allowing them to do carpentry work without the use of electricity.

2016

Dr. Willms and Dr. Sewankambo meet with staff members to discuss the indigenization process for SSF-Uganda.

2017

Children from the Laurentian Christian School in Canada donate 28 goats to the OVC Goat Project.

2017

Singaporean students Anthony, Tai, and Sandy visit SSF where they donate footballs to local primary schools, micro-credit groups, and OVC households.

2017

Orphans and widows receive training in micro-credit operations through "The Siriba Adopt Community Project" in the Bweyale District, in partnership with Rotary Club of Kampala North.

2017

The Rakai Health Sciences Program (RHSP) implements the OVC Regionalization Program in Lyantonde District.

2017

A four-day dental clinic takes places at the CDC. The effort is organized by Lisa Larmon-Burega and community members receive dental care thanks to the volunteered time and professional services of American dental professionals led by Dr. Schmotter of San Francisco.

2020

Elizabeth Nakayiki is recognized years for 10 years of service with SSF, as finance and accounts manager.

2021

SSF-Uganda is independently registered in Uganda as an Indigenous Non-Government Organization (NGO).