Thursday, 28 April 2022

Positive first impressions

Hello everybody! I am Felicia from Italy and I will be working as Junior EU Aid Volunteer in the education field at Kikooba Infant & Primary School for the next six months. In this adventure, I will be supported by NGO Mondo, my sending organization, and Uganda Pioneers Association (UPA), my hosting one.


Kikooba is a small rural village in Central Uganda, situated at 80kms from the capital Kampala. Kikooba Infant & Primary School was formed as a private school by the community to create an opportunity for the orphans and vulnerable children in the community to attend school. 

The main aim of my position is to improve the quality of education in Kikooba School and to raise awareness of the importance of education in the community as it is facing an increase of dropouts among students, especially girls. Through a sustainable approach and according to the needs of the school, teachers, and children, the aim is to: 

  • organize workshops and training for better school management and different teaching methods; 
  • accompany and supervise extra-curricular activities in the school;
  • assist with Mondo Child Support Program.

I will be fully engaged and get accommodated by the Kikooba community and in my first week of induction, I had the opportunity to meet the School Director and the teachers (image above), some members of the Kikooba UPA branch, local authorities, and my host family. I was surrounded by the students joining their last day of school before the holidays and it was the best welcome I could ever receive. 

Kikooba Infant & Primary School Teachers

Kampala, Gulu and Rwamwanja

Sunset at Villa Mamu
During this first month of deployment, I could live the chaotic energy of Kampala. In the first days, I felt overwhelmed by the noise and the smog of the capital, the heat, and the attention I received because I was the new mzungu in town, the continuous bargain you have to do for everything you want to buy. After this time of adaptation and with an open mind, I can say I received a warm welcome from the team and the locals. I already found my favorite spots in the city, my sellers' ladies at the market with who I can practice my Luganda, and a big crazy family in Villa Mamu.

As Kikooba School was closed for the holidays, I followed my EUAV colleagues on the field. 

Training of Trainers in Gulu
Ambra and Clarisse organized two trainings for the members of the UPA branch in Gulu. Using smartphones and rented tablets, the beginner's group had the opportunity to be trained on basic ICT skills while the advanced group could gain more knowledge and tips on how to train new future trainers for a sustainable approach to Mondo program. Enjoying this training while I was surrounded by amazing local art at the Taks Center was an incredible experience.

Training of Trainers in Rwamwanja
Last week of April, I was with Clarisse, Edi and Cliff (Mondo trainers) and Judith (Mondo Livelihood Programme Coordinator) in Rwamwanja. They organized 3-days-ICT training for the trainers of Finn Church Aid (FCA) who are working with refugees and host community youth in Rwamwanja Refugee settlement. It was an opportunity to share difficulties and challenges between trainers and to explore new solutions and ideas to improve their work for the next sessions.

Time flies in Uganda and I'm super excited to start my adventure in Kikooba, see you next month for the updates!

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

After the observation phase, it is time to act!

It has already been two months that I am in Uganda and time flies!

I continue to meet new partners in order to assess their ICT training needs. As part of the first meetings, we always assess the sustainability of the future project to be sure that it will create long-term impact. 


CEFOVID (Community Empowerment For Village Development) was one of the partners I met. Their mission is to challenge and respond to the causes and consequences of vulnerability and poverty. They mobilize communities by giving them the skills they need to overcome their challenges and live a self-sustaining life with dignity.

We have decided to organise together a Digital Competencies training for their members (youth leaders, tailors and teachers).

Some of them already have basic digital skills and will help us delivering the training as ICT assistants. We will simultaneously train them to become trainers so they can continue delivering the training by themselves afterwards.

 KYAKA Refugee Settlement

I also experienced conducting my first Training of Trainers (ToT) in Kyaka Refugee Settlement. This training is part of a project entitled "Transforming digital learning to earning in Kyegegwa District". 

The objective of the project is to improve the business oriented digital competences of 160 young entrepreneurs.

With the skills acquired during the ToT, the trainers are now able to train the learners in market-relevant and business-focused digital skills. We focused mainly on business planning, business management, product development and digital marketing. 

I was accompanied by two Mondo trainers and it was useful to work together and share our experiences. We also tried different participative approaches and got good feedback from the learners.

Updates from Kampala and beyond

I’m almost coming up to the end of my second month in Uganda, and it feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve arrived!

April has been a nice mix of catching up with things to do, planning, travelling and training delivery. It feels like in the chaos of Kampala, things start being in their place and everything seems more familiar. 


Young African Refugee Integral Development is a Kampala based grassroot organisation founded by young Congolese refugees living in Uganda. They tackle social issues such as lack of employment and access to education, by empowering young refugees, asylum seekers and (mostly coming from DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi), by offering vocational skills training, English classes and sport activities. YARID have been partnering with MONDO as we trained their ICT instructors through the Digital Competencies Training (Training of Trainers - ToT) and have so far successfully taught digital skills to 236 young people. 

Early this month, Clarisse and I organised a second ToT for the instructor to focus on topics that were specifically requested by them, namely improving students’ engagement techniques including energizers, communication, presentation skills, and conflict management within the classroom, which were aimed to enabling improving their teaching practices. We not only appreciated the engagement of the teachers, but also the commitment they showed to continue the project and the passion they demonstrated in passing on the knowledge to the youth. 

Some of YARID  teachers' team, Ambra, Clarisse (EUAV) and Judith, Livelihood Programme Coordinator

One of the teachers practicing presentation skills

Sunny day selfie at YARID!


After a month, we were back to Gulu this time to deliver our first training sessions to the members of UPA branch. The full EUAV team (Clarisse, Felicia, Sophie and I) travelled up north and spent 3 full on and exciting days running different activities. With the help of the representatives of UPA in Gulu, Clarisse and I organised 2 separate trainings, one aimed directly to train on basic ICT skills using smartphones and tablets the beginners of the group, and one to train future ICT trainers within the members. Both the “general” and ToT reached 23 people altogether, all coming from different age groups, jobs, interest and knowledge. 

It was great to see young people learning alongside adults, helping each other and sharing insightful feedback and ideas for the next sessions. We will see these amazing groups in May to deliver the second part of the training! 

Ice breaker activity 

Feedback and expectations activity

Some of the future ICT trainers from UPA

This training was made possible thanks to the use of microfinance: The EUAV are able to spend 125 euro a month on costs related to training material, equipment and venue rent. Whilst the Taks  (Art) Centre in Gulu was our workspace for three days, Maendeleo Foundation in Kampala rented us 8 tablets that we’ve given to the participants who did not have a smartphone to practise on, for the duration of the training. Tablets and smartphone in fact, use the same android system, which made it easier for people to follow the class and learn some useful tools such as creating a Gmail account and sending emails, web browsing and learning about online safety, to name a few. 

The tablets we rented from Maendeleo Foundation

But what happens on the backstage, on those days with no training to plan or to deliver? 

From researching and reaching out to potential motivational speakers for MONDO Education and Livelihood programmes, to drafting story collection concepts, to creating register templates, all the little things that hopefully help our partners and our main projects to thrive and function at their best. I have been a bit unwell this month but when not in the office I can rely on my four pawed mini helpers. 

The work-from-home mini helpers :)

UPA branches’ members will be amongst our protagonists next month, as we are planning training and meetings to optimise our time here and ensure a sustainable method of passing on the knowledge to new members. 

 I am looking forward to seeing what this May brings :) 


Thursday, 21 April 2022

Feedback after two months in Uganda.

Time flies! 
I have been in Uganda for about 2 months now. 
Kampala is a vibrant city where one has endless possibilities and working with 3 groups surely keeps me busy. 
Time does fly but the tailoring and basket weaving groups have been serious and have done a lot of work already. 

I am working with 2 groups of tailors with disability in Kampala and Gulu, and 1 group of basket weaving women in Kikooba. 
The aim of the project is to develop their small scale business in a sustainable way. 
In addition to that, as I did when I was working in Kenya, I am using a problem-solving approach called the Positive Deviance Approach.  
The approach builds capacity with expression/reflection/analyse exercices concerning the groups' challenges and their reasons, main goals and their objectives and common behaviors to see what needs to be improved, kept or modified in terms of behaviors. The approach also uses Positive Deviants, which in this case would be successful/working tailoring and crafts groups around their areas, that the groups go visit and interview on different topics in order to have local examples, advice and sustainable solutions to their current challenges. 
The approach also teaches groups to build a realistic action plan to solves their challenges and reach their goals. And with those skills solve futur challenges and plan towards other goals. 

We are almost done with the preparation phase of the action plan with the Kampala group: KDI. We are meeting 3 times per week and the group is advancing very well. Here are pictures of their visits. In total, they had visits from or visited 6 different tailoring groups and fashion designers around Kampala:

Kikooba group is at the stage of visiting other basket weaving groups as we are only meeting once per week. The next step will be to gather the information and create the action plan.

Lugoro Tutte tailoring group is also at the stage of meeting other groups as we are meeting more or less once per month. More photos will come in the next post. 

Although the groups have different rhythms of work, they are very motivated and grasp the amount of information well. 

After the interviews, the teams gather all the information into the different challenge topics as shown on the picture below.  
In the next post I will show you how the groups put the solutions to their challenges and activity to reach their goals into an organized action plan.