Thursday, 11 August 2022

It is time to celebrate!

Time flies here and it is time to celebrate the progress and achievements of all groups and learners! 

The month started with celebrating the graduation of 11 members of CEFOVID. After 2,5 month of training, the participants are now ready to apply the digital skills acquired in their daily lives. 

The tailors have learned how to create digital content and market their products online. The teachers gained knowledge about pedagogical online tools that they can use them to prepare and give their lessons. Simultaneously, youth leaders improved their online communication and collaboration skills. 

After the hard work, all participants received a certificate. We celebrated it with a big cake and speeches and ending up dancing all together. 🎉

Then, we celebrate the progress of the 40 young refugees that participated in a two-weeks online training. It  was organised together with Windle International as part of their pre-departure training. As the students were split in 11 different refugee settlements, we had no other choice than organising it online. But this constraint eventually offered us new opportunities such as being able to take the time to correct individual assignments and give feedback. It also allowed students to go at their own pace and learn from their mistakes.

As trainers, it was also an opportunity for us to learn how to use Google Classroom. 

According to the participants, the training was super useful for their daily lives, studies and professional careers. 

UPA secretariat also benefited from a tailored two-days training where they learned about Google tools, online design and marketing among others.  Congratulations to them for their new learnings!

Friday, 5 August 2022

A challenging July

It is time for holiday at Kikooba Infant & Primary School as the second term is already finished! July was an overwhelming hard working month for teachers, students, and me. As it was the end of the term, teachers and students were busy with reviews, tests, official exams, corrections, and final reports. In the garden, you could see children run through subjects out loud and teachers with red pens in their hands concentrated on marking thousands of papers. In the meanwhile, I was planning and managing different workshops and training for the teachers to make them into practice, following up Mondo Child Support Program and the Kikooba Solidarity Farmers Group, trying to organize everyone's time in the best way possible. 

Training & Workshops

Good School Environment

What is a good school environment and how can we create it? Teachers and I reasoned on this topic. Firstly, through non-formal activities, they reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of the school sharing them with the team. Secondly, through group discussions, they tried to find possible solutions for the main problems to start the third term in the best way possible!

First Aid Training

I am so proud to have succeeded to work together with the Uganda Red Cross Society. We organized together a full-day-training for Game Master and Welfare teachers who could learn and practice the do and don´t of first aid, the life triangle, and how to react in case of drowning, fracture, bleeding, stroke, dislocation, burns, suffocation, insect bites, and poisoning, and how to use the items of the First Aid Kit I provided to the school. Everything was possible thanks to the use of microfinance supported by Mondo through the EUAV program.

Nursery Workshop

I could work in partnership with Miss Harriet, a teacher from Kampala who is focusing on helping nursery teachers to understand better the importance of their role in the growth of children and how to be organized is necessary to reach their teaching objectives. Using the Learning Framework for Early Childhood Development book, teachers improved their knowledge about the learning framework (competencies and related activities), how to read it, how to do a termly scheme of work, lesson and daily plans, and self-evaluation. 


Mondo Child Support Program

A lot of the children in the school come from vulnerable families and are struggling to pay the fees. In May 2019 sending organization NGO Mondo started with the Child Support Program in Kikooba Infant & Primary school that is supporting 100 students. This month, I was working together with the School Director to check children's health and their academic performances, and meet children´s parents to have some updates on their family background and issues. 

Kikooba Solidarity Farmers Group (KSFG)

KSFG is a project initiated by the previous EUAV. Kikooba Infant & Primary School purchase goats or pigs which will be borrowed to the school community families. The families rear them giving the first production of the borrowed animal to the school. The second production will belong to the family, the third one again to the school, and so on... In this way, the school will generate some income besides the school fees, and also the families will have an income to be able to pay for the education of their own children. In July, I visited all the project´s families to check on their borrowed animals and how is their economic situation after 2 years. 

Birthday Parties!

On the 20th of July, I turned 30! It is some years since I am abroad on my birthday and being far from my family and friends is always more difficult on that day. Besides that, teachers and student organized me a wonderful birthday party. After the birthday song, speeches, dances, and the cut of the cakes, everyone enjoyed the friendly football match between teachers and students. I had to bet that students would win!

Party never ends! When I came back to Kampala, I enjoyed this special day with Villa Mamu´s family by organizing a delicious barbeque.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

A hectic east African mid-summer dream

The colours of Arua

Red soil, orange explosive sunrises, deep green vegetation and blue uniforms. That’s what I could see on my trip to Arua (West Nile) to train, with the Mondo team, the students of the Primary Teachers’ College on the Digital Competencies Training (DCT). Their commitment and excitement made me forget the 11 hours trip by bus on my return to Kampala. 

Ndegeya Teachers’ College

On our way towards the equator (see an extremely Mzungu photo of myself below) I had the honor to interview some students who took part in the DCT at Ndegeya college. 

Part of my tasks are to collect successful stories, and what is reported below is only an extract of the students’ testimony. 

Barbra, 19, and Enock, 23, are about to graduate. Fascinated by my big camera, they were not shy in posing for some photos and told me their stories. 

Proudly wearing his uniform, Enock ushers me towards a classroom to conduct the interview. He smiles whilst rigorously taking notes and introducing himself. 

He was motivated to take the path of teaching by his family as “the people who surround me are teachers. My guardian, his wife, and most friends.”. But at the core of his choice there is a firm belief that teaching “is a natural calling, it’s in your blood, is to become an example to others, help them become what they are supposed to be”. 

Thinking about the future, Enock feels that having gained IT skills, he will have more chances of getting good job opportunities and becoming financially stable. 

“Teaching is to stand in front of a class, seeing the children’s own way to learn new concepts. You can’t teach without love.”  describes Barbra. Her passion for teaching is “stemming out of love”, she says. After college, She would like to combine the two passions she has: study fashion and design of African kitenge clothes, whilst teaching in primary schools. “Gaining digital skills helped me,[...] I can now search on Google for different designs, latest fashions, product’s quality, advice on how to make them on my own.” 

It’s inspirational to hear that digital skills can contribute to achieving someone’s dreams, and Barbra and Enock are committed to realising all of them. 

Celebrations at UPA (Uganda Pioneers Association)

An exciting graduation day for the 9 attendees from UPA members who participated in the Train of Trainer course I delivered for them based on the Mondo DCT, where they mastered digital skills to spread the knowledge to other members in their communities. At the end of the training the participants not only received a hard and soft copy of the manual and slides to be able to train others, but also a shiny certificate… and a well deserved multi-layered super chocolate cake! They also managed to make my heart shrink to their words of appreciation and love towards the way I committed to their learning. I totally mirror these feelings and I feel most grateful, wishing them successful training ahead!

KDI - Kampala Disabled Initiative and Digital Competencies training meet

When two successful projects converge, you can only expect the best outcome. In this case, an explosion of kitenge fabrics, threads and needles, entrepreneurial skills, Insta stories and Canva posters. 

Here, thanks to my friend and EUAV colleague Sophie and her willingness to coordinate a training session with me, the ladies from KDI enjoyed digital skills tailored on their needs, focusing on marketing, social media for business and smartphone photography to promote their products, improve graphic design skills and create a digital poster for their shop’s reopening event in August. 

What it took was a smartphone donated by SUDHAV3 visibility budget, some internet data provided by microfinance and of course, an enduring source of passion and creativity. 

I’m really looking forward to their event coming up soon!

Online we fly

Last but not least, the heartwarming and successful Digital skills training to the young refugees at Windle International, who will be soon resettled to Canada. Before catching that fly towards a new life and new opportunities, we manage to meet them and train them for the first time fully online. After a needs assessment we decided to focus on what the learners would have rather improved, such as financial literacy, CV writing and online job search, as well as graphic design and social media for marketing purposes and all the Google tools such as Maps, Docs, Sheets and Slides, to make their way in a highly digitalized part of the globe being equipped with full competences.

40 learners living in different Refugee Settlements across Uganda, joined our 2 weeks newly developed course using a mix of Zoom meeting, online resources based on the DCT material, and assignments on Google Classroom. Once again, the magic was made by a good amount of internet data provided by microfinance, but mostly their commitment despite the challenges of living in a refugee settlement with limited resources. It was truly uplifting to see their amazing work and hear their feedback - I wish them to achieve all of their dreams. 

I will save you readers from my own story of travelling by bus from Uganda to Kenyan coast for my holiday with Felicia (EUAV)… but leaving you with a taste of it: the peace, the coconuts, the dolphins and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean was worth the 34 hours bus journey. Twice.