Jem Hovil

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United Kingdom and Africa's Great Lakes region


Jem Hovil and his family live in Bath, UK. Jem works to consolidate and support the ‘BUILD’ training programme as an Associate Mission Partners of Crosslinks.

BUILD, which stands for ‘Biblical Understanding for In-service Leadership Development’ is one of the programmes he helped to establish during his time living in Uganda and South Africa, between 2000 and 2013.

BUILD delivers training to those church leaders who need it the most but can afford it the least. And it does so in a way that mobilises local facilitators and other resources, using a curriculum designed and developed in context. BUILD follows a cascading multiplication of training in order to help meet extensive training needs.

BUILD began in the Church of Uganda, where the programme is being mainstreamed, but it has spread more widely, primarily in what is known as the Great Lakes Region of Africa. From the perspective of BUILD that region has Uganda at the centre, surrounded by South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all of which have BUILD training going on within them. In Tanzania the work is led by Robert Mloya, a Crosslinks Project Partner (

BUILD is also being used on a small scale in South Africa and has been taught further afield, with occasional gatherings in Cameroon and Malawi for example.

In the UK ‘BUILD Partners’ ( has been registered as a charity in order to help support this growing work. Jem leads that new initiative as the Chair of Trustees.

Jem trained initially as a science teacher, is ordained in the Church of England, served in two UK churches, and his doctoral research was on grassroots theological education in Uganda.

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