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Mukono Diocese turns Nakanyonyi conference hall into face mask factory

Dr Acheng commissioning Mukono diocesan face mask facility. It was blessed by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mukono Diocese has decided to use one of its biggest conference centers to produce face masks to generate income for the diocese and create employment for its flock during the lockdown.

The center is found in the Diocesan Entrepreneurship Center at Nakanyonyi in Nabbaale sub-county Mukono district and was commissioned by Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Acheng while touring some of the projects established by the Right Rev. James William Ssebaggala during celebrations marking his ten years at the helm of the diocese on Saturday.

The workshop produces 50,000 face masks each week and employs 75 workers who are currently paid shillings 500,000 every month.

Debrah Zawedde Ssetyabule, the manager of the entrepreneurship center says they are operating the workshop in partnership with the Uganda Tailoring Association which is responsible for producing and distribution of government masks in the country.

He says they are also targeting the wider market of church founded schools and institutions.

Dr. Acheng was impressed by the quality of face masks produced at the center and commended the diocese for the initiative. She advised the clergy to emphasize the importance of wearing face masks whenever they are ministering to Christians.

Bishop James William Ssebaggala said they are temporarily using the conference center for producing masks since it has been redundant since the lockdown was announced. The conference hall is often used to train Christians and lay leaders.

The entrepreneurship center was specifically established for older persons and retired clergies to engage simple projects to earn a living. However in 2018, Bishop Ssebaggala registered it as the diocesan skilling and vocational center.

Currently the center produces 200-300 bags of maize per season, houses a dairy and piggery farm on top of hosting a vocational center. The diocese has also completed arrangements for setting up a modern pork abattoir and currently runs a biogas plant from the animal dung.

The retired priest Rev. Canon Steven Kisekka says the developments have not only earned the diocese money but also saved church land from grabbers. The diocese has been feuding with residents of Nakanyonyi who encroached on the land measuring 400 acres.

It has also made several attempts to evict over 500 occupants but in vain though it has managed to ensure that there are no new encroachers.

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