“The sweetness of a friend comes from earnest counsel… As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Proverbs 27: 9,17 (NIV). 


As Proverbs 27 teaches, friendships help us discover blind spots. We create space to grow when we remain open to counsel rather than resisting it. This is an invaluable scripture many Ugandan school leaders are applying to their own lives, and it’s through something called Parish Fellowships. 


These fellowships consist of school leaders from the same district gathering to share ideas. It’s a time to share insights, learn from one another, and improve their schools’ operations.


The Beginning of Parish Fellowships


Annet Mbabazi, Edify Christ-Centered Education Officer (CCEO) Program Lead in Uganda, shares how it all began in November 2022, “We noticed certain school leaders succeeding much more than others after having attended the same training. We knew that it was because of the unique knowledge that lies within each school leader, and we wanted to find a way to share this knowledge. So we started to bring the idea of Parish Fellowships to our partner schools.”


The team began by gathering together partner schools by district, inviting them to Parish Fellowship vision meetings. After explaining the heart behind the fellowships, they would welcome all interested to join, and eventually elect leaders for each solidified group. Then, each group of around 10-12 school leaders would commit to regular gatherings, with meeting topics spanning anywhere from financial sustainability to creating engaging classroom material. 


The lessons learned during these times proved transformative, and in many cases, the local school leaders would discover blind spots because of the authenticity and trust in their fellowship. That awareness would then pave the way for transformation throughout entire schools, and such is the case for Mr. Lumu Edward. 

Sparkling Beginnings School


Mr. Lumu is the proprietor of Sparkling Beginnings School, who joined his district’s Parish Fellowship in the summer of 2023. Sparkling Beginnings is a small, rural primary school with around 70 students. Joining this group allowed Mr. Lumu to collaborate with schools different than his, creating a unique opportunity for growth. Little did he know, he would soon discover a blind spot. 


It was late July and Mr. Lumu’s turn to host the group at his school. This meant 10 school proprietors would be sitting in his humble 3rd-grade classroom. Conversation flowed, broaching topics like classroom strategy, servant leadership, and biblical integration. Before long, his fellow teachers began to take notice of the empty walls surrounding them. 


Questions, thoughts, and ideas began to float around the room. “What ages attend class in this room?” one asked. “Would you consider adding anything to the walls?” another suggested. Their words hung in the air as Mr. Lumu pondered this newly discovered blind spot. The classroom was empty.

The Transformation


Thankfully, he wasn’t alone. The group’s ideas quickly became realities as various members brought construction paper, markers, pens, maps, and everything in between to bring the classroom to life and surprise the students. 


Mr. Lumu shares, “I thank God for the Parish Fellowships. If they hadn’t challenged and supported me, I wouldn’t have made the necessary changes to our classrooms… And, of course, the students were thrilled. They immediately wanted to scan the various charts and maps surrounding them. Some were inspired to draw pictures in their books, while others led their classmates through charts.”


Annette shares the importance of this event, “These ages are so crucial, which is why we must utilize visual tools for learning. It is so important for them to learn this way.”  


Thanks to the dedication of the Edify Uganda team, impactful changes such as these are happening all over the nation, transforming students’ lives. Today, 50 percent of our partner schools in Uganda are in Parish Fellowships. This means over 5,000 individual school leaders are willing to go the extra mile toward excellence. 


Consider the impact of the 10 school leaders who committed to coming together regularly and the impact that had on Mr. Lumu. Now, take a moment of wonder and imagine the possibility of this many teachers, just like Mr. Lumu, collaborating, sharing ideas, and putting God’s Word into action. As they continue to lean on one another and remain open to counsel, only God knows how much further the transformation will go.