Through twinning the town of Pontypridd and the wider area of Rhondda Cynon Taf with a town and district in Uganda called Mbale, PONT aims to create a new type of development work. The linking together of professionals and organisations in both communities enables us to avoid the top down approach of many western based aid organisations. The people of Mbale are empowered to develop and realise their own ideas and solutions to poverty, and are given support, encouragement and advice from their counterparts in Wales. At the same time the people of Uganda have much to teach us about many of the values that are increasingly missing from our hectic lifestyles.
The PONT project has developed rapidly. Numerous partnership links have been established that work across all aspects of life here and in Mbale, from education to healthcare, the ambulance service and engineering. In each instance the partnership is based on individuals and groups from both communities getting together, identifying needs and working out how best these can be met. Often volunteer’s skills and knowledge of best practice are put to good use, and in other instances groups from Wales support their counterparts in Uganda with both material and financial resources. Throughout the year funds are raised in a variety of ways to support the work of individual projects in Mbale, and the work of PONT as a whole.
All members of PONT are volunteers; all travel expenses are met by themselves directly or are funded by external grants, and publicity and administration incurs minimal costs. Project funds are used 100% in Uganda without any UK overheads being taken out.