The Countries

BUILD began as an initiative of the Church of Uganda, but has spread further afield. That growth has followed natural links across borders to neighbouring countries and their churches in the chronological order indicated below.


The story of BUILD in the Church of Uganda has already been told at some length here. To reiterate it was the multi-church parishes of the COU with congregations, many of which are led by Lay Readers and the senior Christians of the churches that was the seed bed for BUILD. The COU has a rich history of local faith and witness. A range of factors meant that the gospel was embraced at the heart of Kiganda culture not long after the missionaries arrived at the court of the king, Kabaka Muteesa, in 1877. Acceptance there meant that it became rooted in the fabric of society and that Ugandans were the ones spreading the message far and wide, as described in some detail here.

And as one COU Diocesan Secretary put it, “the church of Uganda was founded by evangelicals and the mission elements are very strong” (Revd Kyaliumpa). Set against growing nominalism, that still impacts the Church today, this indigenous, Bible-based identity was renewed and reinforced in the East African Revival of the 1930s onwards, creating a church culture that celebrates the sharing of the Scriptures, the presence of the Spirit, the life of discipleship, and the primacy of mission.

BUILD recognises this rich biblical, local, practical, and missional heritage and incorporates those values and outlook into its life and approach. The BUILD Unit of the COU has been an established and integrated part of the Education Directorate since 2005 under Canon Stephen Kewaza, one of the key pioneers of the unit and of BUILD in the COU. The Unit emerged first from a precursor of the BUILD initiative and began with its own simple resources based around preaching workshops before building them out and developing its comprehensive curriculum.

Sudan and South Sudan

Well before the secession and formation of South Sudan (2015), BUILD related to a Kampala-based Sudanese pastor-trainer who travelled regularly to and from the south of Sudan. This relationship was formalised from 2008 and it meant there was a constant Sudanese voice at the BUILD participatory curriculum development workshops from 2009.

Since then South Sudanese workers have been a part of the Ugandan-based trainers-of-trainers cohorts – both those from South Sudanese dioceses, and those representing the large South Sudanese refugee community in Uganda.


A Rwandan bishop was the first to formally request a cross-border visit from the Church of Uganda’s BUILD team, which took place in 2011. This exploratory visit led to some initial training taking place in Shyogwe Diocese in 2012 with visitors from Burundi present too.

In turn it led on to an important, ongoing relationship not only with the Diocese of Shyogwe, but also those neighbours it relates to as part of the Rural Development Inter-diocesan Services (RDIS) initiative: Butare, Kigeme, Cyangugu, and, recently, the new Diocese of Nyaruguru. The relationship also meant that a number of Rwandans participated in the curriculum development workshops in Uganda, lending their voice to the process.


As noted above about Rwanda, Burundians were present at the first BUILD training event in Rwanda, in Shyogwe Diocese in 2012. However, while the first BUILD visit to Rwanda took place in 2011, so had a BUILD visit to and workshop in Bujumbura, Burundi later that same year. The Burundian visit to Shyogwe was one in which they could share and build on their experience of BUILD, and their number included a future Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Burundi. The exposure led to further invitations to the BUILD COU team to share the work in Bujumbura, and trainee-trainers came from the Diocese of Matana to the formal training at Uganda Martyrs Seminary.


Mwanza, not far from Uganda, was the next place that the BUILD COU team visited with some initial training conducted there in the Diocese of Victoria Nyanza in 2013. That led to trainee-trainers coming to Uganda for training from DVN and Morogoro from late 2015, with visits from the COU tutors to the dioceses. However, it was not until the following year that BUILD was recognised by the Anglican Church of Tanzania through a visit to the BUILD training in Uganda from the then Provincial Christian Education Coordinator, Fr John Sembuyagi. Fr John was based in Tanga, the diocese of the archbishop, and this led to the presentation of the curriculum and its acceptance as a form of training for ACT leaders. Since then BUILD training has continued in Tanga and Morogoro, and particularly in the Lake Zone Dioceses – with Shinyanga and DVN at the forefront of that.


There was Kenyan involvement in the UMS curriculum development workshops towards the end, with a student from the college, David Okoth, attending in May 2014. But that involvement escalated that November with David returning for the block-release training together with two others from Butere Diocese in the West of Kenya, and, importantly, their Education Coordinator Revd Capt Benjamin Kibara, involved as a tutor and translator.

Supported by the then Bishop of Butere, Rt Revd Timothy Wambunya, that involvement led to local BUILD training in the diocese, beginning with two day-release cohorts at the African Institute for Contemporary Mission and Research (AICMAR) there. A regional block-release cohort for the west of Kenya followed, which also included further trainees from Morogoro and Tanga in Tanzania. Bishop Timothy also served as Chair of the Anglican Church of Kenya’s Education Committee and had a hand in the formal, provincial recognition of the BUILD programme. From there the work has expanded, with Revd Benjamin relocating to Nairobi and acting as a BUILD Coordinator for the ACK, and with training based at Carlile College, Nairobi, Bishop Hannington Institute, Mombasa and elsewhere.


The same cohort that drew in the initial Kenyan trainers also included two from Congo, including Revd Jean-Pierre Mukambilwa Watuna the Mission Coordinator from the Diocese of Bukavu, who began to use BUILD to train evangelists there. BUILD’s relationship was not only with Bukavu, but centrally with the Provincial Secretary and the Archbishop, and the province put their stamp of approval on the training. However, until now BUILD’s efforts have primarily been in Eastern DRC with training growing in the relatively new Kamango Diocese. That, too, has been a cross-border effort that has been greatly encouraged by Canon Stephen Kewaza, as well as by those just over the border in the Diocese of Ruwenzori – particularly from individuals who had first experienced local BUILD training from 2008 in what is now the new West Ruwenzori Diocese under Bishop Barnabas Tibaijuka who was himself part of a BUILD group there.


BUILD in the ACK gained a new neighbour, or new form of neighbour, in 2020, with the creation of the Province of Alexandria from the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Ethiopia is one of the ten countries Alexandria serves, along with Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Chad, Mauritania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.

Gambella Diocese in the west of Ethiopia has the highest density of Anglican believers in the entire Province, together with some of the greatest training needs. Gambella also faces some of the greatest challenges in ministry and mission, and BUILD was invited to help with its training. That led to a visit in 2021 from a BUILD representative from Kenya to explore the possibilities: Revd Sammy Atsali Mangu. Revd Sammy has since visited regularly and been appointed as BUILD programme coordinator for the training based out of the St Frumentius Anglican Training Centre in Gambella, a project under development. Sensitisation has been done across the Diocese, leaders have attended selection interviews, and names of successful candidates have been forwarded to His Grace, Archbishop Samy Shehata for approval. We are now waiting to roll out the programme from later in 2023.