News Release

Church Rolls out "My Path to Self-Reliance" in Uganda

To many people, the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is looked at as a means to help its members temporarily get out of difficult cirmstances. However, the reality is that the intent of the Church’s welfare plan is much more vast; it also involves promoting self-reliance as a way of life.

The leader of the LDS Church, President Thomas S. Monson, has taught that self-reliance, which is "the ability, commitment and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family", is an essential element in the temporal and spiritual well-being of its members.

In order to help members achieve self-reliance, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has rolled out a program called "My Path to Self-Reliance".

On Sunday, 29 March, the first self-reliance groups in East Africa were formed in Kampala, Uganda, with over 90 participants. This initial meeting was organised  by the local leaders of the Church, working hand in hand with its voluntary missionaries.

The program functions without the assistance of professional teachers or trainers. Instead, local members counsel together, learn together, mentor each other, commit to act on what they are learning, and hold each other accountable for commitments. This group mentoring and counseling process, together with the workbooks and videos, creates a dynamic learning environment that strengthens each member in his or her progress toward a self-reliant life.

With some of the materials still on the way the organisers were, with permission, able to improvise using localy produced copies of manuals to get the program started.

Eight of the twelve congregations under the jurisdiction of Kampala were able to form their own Self Reliance groups. Each group was formed with five to twelve participants who can now be part of the first groups to take the 12-week "How to Start and Improve Your Business" course.

Latter-day Saints in Uganda have eagerly anticipated the formation of these groups, with great hopes of it helping them become self-reliant. Over 50 percent of the people in Uganda use subsistence farming to sustain life.  Only 20 percent of the population have employment in what would be defined as a 'regular' job by western world standards.

Elder Story, a volunteer missionary with the Church reports, "When we first came here we started teaching a class on business principles, but when we saw what was in the "My Path to Self-Reliance Initiative", we stopped teaching and put all of our efforts into Self-Reliance Committees. We believe that using these inspired materials, developed by the Self-Reliance Department of the Church and working together in Self-Reliance Committees, will do more to bless the lives of the members of the Church in Uganda than any other single thing with the exception of receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ."

The program will focus on the areas of skills to start and grow a business, Job Search and attainment of education as a means to better employment opportunities.

It is hoped that this program will empower members of the Church to achieve a greater degree of self-reliance and thus contribute positively to the development of their country of Uganda.

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