Waging War on Domestic Violence

Our Revolutionary 18 Month Pilot Program

In August 2022, we started our pilot program with:

  • One village
  • One paid employee (Esther)
  • Five volunteers (started our first ManKind club)
  • We boldly confronted our first offender (choice between kindness or prison)

In February 2024, we concluded the pilot phase of our program with:

  • Ten villages
  • Two paid employees (Esther & Benard)
  • Supported hundreds of victims (started our WomanStrong club)
  • 100 volunteers (ManKind and WomanStrong clubs)
  • 532 offenders boldly confronted

Our documented impact was:

  • 694 phone calls received
  • 532 offenders confronted
  • 331 cases registered with police and local officials
  • 1,810 villagers and government officials trained
  • 550 women interviewed by an independent researcher


   Rapid Response: 3 Hours or Less

Where are we now?

On March 1, 2024, when our pilot program ended, the choice was easy. We felt certain that we had to make our domestic violence program a permanent component of igniting hope in the villages we serve.


What comes next?

We cannot wait to see how quickly our program can scale. Our goal is to transform at least 20 more villages by the end of 2025. In doing so, we estimate confronting another 1,000+ offenders. We will continue to focus on and invest in the original ten villages that were part of our pilot program.


Imagine multiplying this success to many more villages. In order to expand, we need more employees, vehicles, as well as supplies, training and support.


Here is what it costs to expand into the next ten villages:

  • $150 a month — A smartphone for each village so they can call Ourganda for help and document DV cases with photos and videos
  • $200 a month — Emergency response expenses for police to travel to the villages, medical care for victims, court fees, and clothes for victims (offenders often destroy his wife’s only clothes to prevent her from fleeing)
  • $250 a month — Vehicle expenses (fuel, insurance, tires, maintenance and repairs)
  • $300 a month — Workshops, supplies and training for 100 volunteers cost (T-shirts, badges, umbrellas, flashlights, boots)
  • $700 a month — Two more employees ($350/month each)
  • $18,000 one time — One Toyota RAV4 (to transport employees, volunteers, and victims)


The total cost of expanding into the next ten villages — including a vehicle and all monthly expenses for one year — is only $37,200.

Here is what it costs to expand into each village:

  • $15 a month — A smartphone so someone can call Ourganda for help and can document DV cases with photos and videos
  • $20 a month — Emergency response expenses for police to travel to the villages, medical care for victims, court fees, and clothes for victims (offenders often destroy their wife’s only clothes to prevent her from fleeing)
  • $25 a month — Vehicle expenses (fuel, insurance, tires, maintenance and repairs)
  • $30 a month — Workshops, supplies and training for 10 volunteers cost (T-shirts, badges, umbrellas, flashlights, boots)


The total cost of expanding into the next village — excluding a vehicle and salaries — is only $1,080.

Celebrating the Ripple Effect

Beyond the direct impact of Ourganda’s ManKind program, we are equally excited about the ripple effect. As our program gains momentum, the villages where we work are experiencing a discernible shift in the culture. Even men who have not entered our program are resolving differences with words instead of fists and machetes. Violence is no longer an option. We can only guess at how many men have made that decision on their own.

Q: How did Ourganda address the DV problem?

First, we asked this question: Where in the point of breakdown should we intervene? Almost every domestic violence initiative helps women who have suffered violence. That fills a desperate need, but Ourganda decided to focus on preventing violence against women and children from happening in the first place.


Second, we got in touch with every organization in the U.S. that would talk with us. We had Zoom calls with four ministries in Africa that deal with domestic violence. They all told us the same thing: “DV will never be solved. It’s deeply embedded in the culture and nothing will ever change that. The best you can do is get women away from violent men, offer counseling, and hope that when they feel strong enough to return home, they won’t get beat up again.” We found no one who was intervening at the source of the problem.


Third, we hired a Ugandan woman named Esther. She worked as a registered nurse but resigned to become Ourganda’s full-time domestic violence leader. (We later added a full-time assistant named Benard.) Esther took three bold actions that established the framework for success:


  1. Esther built relationships with the police, social workers and prosecutors in the Bundibugyo District. Ugandan laws already prohibit domestic violence, but enforcement is rare. She needed commitment from the government officials that they would do their part.
  2. Esther recruited an army of 100 volunteers comprised of men and women who were disgusted with violence and determined to stop it. Ourganda has adopted 10 villages, so she organized at least five men in each of our villages into ‘ManKind Clubs’ and five women into ‘WomanStrong Clubs.’
  3. She let everyone know that every DV offense must be reported every time — and immediately — by calling her dedicated phone line. When a man resorts to violence, someone dials Esther.


Whether her phone rings at noon or in the middle of the night, she jumps on a boda-boda (motorcycle), rushes to the village, and gathers ManKind Club members. The goal is to arrive at the offender’s home within three hours. Together, they confront him face to face with this message:


“We don’t hate you. We care about you. We want to help you. But the rules have changed. No one is allowed to use violence in this village any more. So you have to make a choice, and you have to make it now. If you choose kindness, we are your best friend. We will do our best to help you and your family. If you do not choose kindness, you will be arrested tomorrow.”


The WomanStrong members don’t confront violent men; instead, whenever there is a victim, they surround her. They make sure she is safe. They see that she has water and food, that her children are safe and cared for. When the victim needs medical care, the WomanStrong members take her to a hospital or a clinic and pay for her treatment and all other expenses.


Ourganda equips every ManKind and WomanStrong member with an official T-shirt and an authority badge. Each one receives an umbrella, rubber boots, and a flashlight in case they need to respond in a rainstorm or at night. They have a budget to transport victims to the hospital or replace a victim’s clothes (violent men often shred and burn the woman’s clothes so she can’t escape). Each village has at least one smart phone so someone can record photos and videos to use as evidence.


Q: What are the results?

At first, the men thought Esther was bluffing. The police didn’t give a rip before; why would they now? Those men found themselves in a cell, faced a judge in court, then were sentenced to many months or even longer behind bars in the Bubukwanga prison. Offenders who chose kindness signed a ‘Reconciliation Form’ admitting to their offense and pledging to trade violence for kindness.


Word spread quickly. It didn’t take long for men to realize that, indeed, the rules have changed. No one wants to spend a moment in a Ugandan prison which is why overwhelmingly, men choose kindness. (The Bubukwanga prison was originally built for 19 inmates; prisoner census at times exceeds 200.) Several men who battered their wives heard that men wearing ManKind Club T-shirts were about to appear at their house. To avoid the inevitable trip to the police station followed by a court date, they bolted. Some are still who-knows-where, but one thing is certain: They are not beating their wives anymore.


What if an offense happens when Esther and Benard are too far away? Club members no longer wait. They huddle up, lock arms, and make their way to the offender’s house with hearts of compassion, clarity and resolve. These courageous men feel deputized and empowered to make sure no one resorts to violence against their wives, their children or anyone else. And this is huge: In every Ourganda village, the LC1 leader himself has joined the ManKind Club. (The LC1 leader is a government official who is assigned to oversee a particular village.)


Most exciting? No one knows how many men stopped themselves from beating their wives because they didn’t want to be Esther’s next statistic. Overwhelmingly, men are deciding to settle frustrations with words, not fists or machetes. Violence still occurs from time to time (at a dwindling frequency), but Ourganda’s villages are significantly safer and more peaceful — and becoming more so all the time.


Q: What about education? Classes? Information?

In the first 18 months, Esther and Benard held classes, workshops, youth camps, and rallies for almost 2,000 people. Schools, churches and communities open their doors and spread the word that experts have come to help men and women understand the program, their rights, and what each person can do to wrestle the curse of domestic violence to the ground.


Once a week, tune in to the local broadcast and hear Esther’s kind, strong voice spreading the message as far as radio waves can reach.


Esther and Benard are constantly training ManKind and WomanStrong members in various skills such as: How to protect yourself when confronting offenders, Connecting club members to local leaders, How to document and report cases to relevant authorities, How to give first aid to victims, and How to prevent and manage compassion fatigue.


Q: Does Ourganda have independent evidence that the ManKind Program is working?

Stories pour out of the villages every month, but that wasn’t enough. In January 2024, Esther’s team paid a totally independent researcher to ask three outcome-based questions of 550 women. (1) Do you feel safe in your home? (2) Have you been physically abused in the last 30 days? (3) If you were afraid or hurt, do you know where to go? The results provide empirical evidence that Ourganda’s ManKind program is ending domestic violence. (Click here to read the results.) Ourganda will initiate and fund new independent research projects every six months for the foreseeable future.

Q: Why did Ourganda get involved with domestic violence?

A: In April 2022, someone shared a YouTube video titled “Kenya’s Hidden Epidemic”. In addition to several disturbing stories, the video shows a man teaching other men how to beat their wives without getting in legal trouble. We were infuriated.



We decided to find out how bad it was in the villages Ourganda has adopted. We handed Vincent, our Ugandan ministry coordinator, a survey and asked him to interview 50 random women. Fifty out of fifty were afraid of their husbands’ anger. Forty-six had been physically abused. Even Vincent who grew up there was devastated at how deep the problem was. It was impossible for us to not act.


Q: Will the ManKind program work anywhere else?

More than one person warned us that everything rises and falls on Esther. Obviously, they say, Esther is extraordinary, so what happens if she moves, quits or dies? And how are we supposed to find someone as brave and competent as Esther in our neck of the woods?


We agree that Esther is wonderful, but we do not agree that everything rests on her. The power is in the system, not the person. The system consists of (a) strong commitment and support from government officials; (b) an army of ManKind and WomanStrong volunteers; and (c) rapid response when an offense occurs.


We are convinced that almost any woman or man could do what Esther does. Decent people everywhere are disgusted and angry when a man resorts to violence against a defenseless woman or a child. If someone accepts the calling to bring together the components of the system, the result — over time — will be success. No one can say any longer that domestic violence in Africa is inevitable.


Q: What’s next?

  • One of Ourganda’s supporters has written an excellent article titled “Esther’s Army”. You can read it here.
  • We are creating a video that can be shared far and wide. We will post it here when it is finished.
  • Feel free to contact Ron Gladden, our director. He will do his best to point you in the right direction. And if you’d like a story or two, just let him know! (rongladden@gmail.com; 360-624-7271)
  • Support Esther and her army of volunteers. Make a generous donation, or for a greater impact, give monthly with a recurring donation.


The experts were wrong. Men are trading violence for kindness. Families are being restored. Women and children are happy and safe. Domestic violence is coming to an end in the villages Ourganda serves.


Economic Development — The I’mpossible Pathway

You cannot imagine the extreme poverty until your own eyes have seen it. Jump into the Ourganda van and ride along into one of the villages Ourganda serves. If you are willing to dive deeper, meet the moms and dads who live there and poke your head into a typical house.


This is clear: Even if someone could provide everything people need, their only hope to escape systemic poverty is to lift themselves up through work of their own hands.


The Goal: In 2021, Ourganda hired Godfrey, a Ugandan with a degree in business. He and some colleagues huddled up and spelled it out: Ourganda’s economic development program will be a smashing success when the majority of the residents of our villages are consistently and increasingly enjoying and benefiting economically from their work.


The Question: When a self-motivated man, woman or teenager is willing to work hard, take advice, delay gratification and collaborate with others, what steps can he/she take — starting today — to eventually get from ultra-poverty to enjoying and benefiting economically from their work?


Some may already have some income from something they have started, but most do not. We are happy to work with anyone who embraces the above qualifications (willing to work hard, take advice, delay gratification and collaborate with others), but we have to start where people are. How do we help a single mom with four kids who doesn’t know what she will feed her children tomorrow? How about a 17-year old girl or boy, or a recovering alcoholic, who dreams of a better future? We know what their part is; what is ours?


The Context: Here is the lay of the land:

  • Unemployment is awful across the country (47 million people compete for 10 million jobs), but in our villages, no one has a go-to-work-every-day job that pays bills and benefits the family economically. Almost everyone’s ‘job’ is to survive one more day.
  • Most of the villagers cannot read or write in any language. Only half of the children have sat on a classroom bench for more than a year or two, and few adults ever attended.
  • A generation ago, people in the villages fed themselves from vegetable gardens and fruit trees. But when news swept up the hills and down the valleys that Bundibugyo’s climate was ideal for growing cocoa, thousands of gardens disappeared. Ninety percent of the tillable land in Bundibugyo District, locals estimate, has been converted to cocoa. Twice a year, those with cocoa orchards exchange ripe pods for modest handsful of cash. Farmers, most people agree, are not fairly compensated, but a little money is better than none.
  • Before 2014, the only road connecting the district with the rest of the country was a belligerent, sometimes-impassible cowpath that required a high-clearance AWD vehicle and extraordinary patience. Once the government contracted with China to widen and pave the path, commerce began to flow in and out of the area. Several small hotels, a second bank, and another petrol station sprung up beside the road. Aspiring entrepreneurs planted a variety of businesses. The local population began to swell.
  • Other than replacing gardens with cocoa trees, the villages beyond the pavement have not changed for hundreds of years. What’s new is that change is creeping closer to them. Increased population along the paved road coupled with transportation improvements equal higher potential than ever before to launch successful business clusters. All the villagers need now is a pathway.


The Pathway: Ourganda’s answer is the “I’mpossible Pathway,” a 3-year sequence of steps that moves people from poverty to prosperity, from survival to self support, from impossible to I’m possible. Villagers do their part; Ourganda comes alongside them and multiplies their potential.


The steps fit into three overlapping categories: Education, Personal Coaching and Business Opportunities.


Education – Our Ugandan leaders are already teaching Financial Literacy classes (7 modules) and Basics of Business (10 modules). Other classes will be added.


Personal Coaching – Every entrepreneur is coupled with a personal coach. Developing and growing the coaching system is ongoing.


Business Opportunities – As individuals are ready, they are guided to join an existing business cluster or, when appropriate, start a new one. In the future, Ourganda will build and staff factories that employ hundreds of people.


The pathway is under construction. Business faculty and students from the Enactus club in Collegedale, Tennessee, are collaborating with Ourganda staff on the ground. Our rocky cowpath is being widened and paved, thus offering a brighter future. More and more of the residents of our villages are moving from poverty toward prosperity, from survival to self support, and from impossible to I’m possible.