Blog Article

President’s Report – 2020 Annual General Meeting

November 10, 2020

Since our last AGM in February 2019, so much has happened, not only with CanUgan but in the world around us. The Covid-19 pandemic caused the postponement of our 2020 AGM from March to November, when the board decided to temporarily suspend operations for a few months. As a consequence this report will cover the twenty-one month time period from February 2019 to November 2020.

Board of Directors

During these last 21 months, the 10 person Board has been active, meeting on 12 occasions, with the last three times being via Zoom call. I want to thank all board members for their efforts as volunteers in supporting the mission of CanUgan.


Our partnership with KADUPEDI (the Kasese District Union of Persons with Disabilities) remains strong. We have a close working relationship with our intermediary team of Bwambale Robert, Baluku Peter, and Kahnya Joseph. With site visits in both 2019 and 2020, Rick Morello and I were so inspired by the warmth, the resiliency, the gratitude, and the tremendous sense of community that we felt from the many persons with disabilities that we met during our respective trips to Kasese. Their hospitality was wonderful. 

This year, our intermediary agreement with KADUPEDI was updated. This agreement spells out in detail all requirements pertaining to the transfer of funds and the distribution of assistive devices. 

Impact of the pandemic

Covid-19 has not spared Kasese, Uganda. While the number of cases in Uganda has been under control, the economic fallout of shutting down the economy has been devastating. Food insecurity in on the rise, particularly for persons with disabilities (PWDs). To make matters worse, Kasese district has experienced floods and mud slides both in the spring of this year and in the last few weeks. In response to the flooding which destroyed a local hospital, the board sent $2,000 to KADUPEDI to assist PWDs (Persons With Disabilities) who were negatively impacted by the flood. This contribution was in lieu of a second quarter allocation to pay for assistive devices. These have been hard times.

Great Canadian Giving Challenges, 2019 and 2020

In June of 2019 we raised $9,285. via the GCGC, our most successful online funding campaign to date. And in 2020 in spite of the pandemic making fundraising a challenge, we raised $6,550 thanks to 55 donors. Special thanks are in order for CanUgan board members who reached out to their networks to support CanUgan. 

Other funds raised in 2019 came from the Rotary Club mums for Thanksgiving campaign in the amount of $499 and memorial donations of $1190. in the name of Pat D’Arcy.

Mbili-Kwa-Moja project. (2-in-1 tricycle)

Our partnership with Carleton University’s School of Industrial Design on the” two in one” or Mbili-Kwa-Moja project has been put on pause. Research funding from the Swedish Foundation Promobilia, to advance a design for a combination tricycle / wheelchair came to an end in August 2020. In my January 2019 site visit to Uganda, I brought updated design drawings, an axle, pictures and a model to Uganda to get feedback on the updated design from end users on the effectiveness of the current prototype. I met with metal fabricators in Kampala (Katelemwa) and in Kasese to get their feedback / ideas / capability / etc on advancing this prototype. All of this work has been well documented. Board member Rick Morello built on this work with his visit in February 2020. 

On the go forward more work is needed to develop the 2-in-1 prototype. More research funds are needed to advance this work. The long term goal is to build a successful prototype and open source the design on the web. It has been a pleasure working with Professor Bjarki Halgrimmson and students from the School of Industrial Design on this project..

Assistive devices 

In 2019, 184 persons with disabilities benefited from the following assistive devices:

  • 16 tricycles
  • 4 tricycles with gear systems
  • 4 wheelchairs
  • 24 white canes
  • 37 pairs of crutches
  • 14 raised shoes
  • 13 surgical boots
  • 12 calipers
  • 4 tricycle repairs
  • 56 hearing aid repairs

On average per year, we provide funds for our intermediary team in Kasese to locally source approximately 150 assistive devices. In 2019 however, this number dropped to 128 assistive devices. One reason for the drop is that in May 2019, the board made the decision to cap the allocation at $2,500 per quarter. Previously we gave approximately $4.300 per quarter. We did this because we need time to develop a sustainable fundraising strategy. We hope this is a temporary arrangement 

Site Visit 2020

Board member Rick Morello made a site visit to Kasese in March 2020. Rick will be speaking to his experience at the November 10 AGM. Blog posts highlighting parts of the trip are on As well Rick compiled a detailed report of his trip which will be made available via the website. 

New website and social media

Starting in 2019, the board made a decision to revamp the CanUgan website. We went through a rebranding exercise. After several months we managed to finalize the e-commerce component on the site to generate automatic tax receipts. We encourage members to visit the site for up to date information on CanUgan. Special thanks are in order to Rick Morello for leading this initiative on the Board and to Juhli Lyncaster, past Board President for volunteering to post content to the site. 

 We also upped our game on using social media to support our fundraising efforts. Special thanks to Caroline Marshall for coordinating this effort.

Looking Ahead

Plans for the future include:

  • Two CanUgan e-newsletters, one in the fall and one in the spring. will be sent to CanUgan members and donors. Board member Shauna Devlin will be taking the lead on this.
  • A Holiday Season fundraising campaign when donors will be encouraged to donate funds to match the cost of particular assistive devices. Board member Tess Fremont Cote is leading this campaign. 
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