Eleven days to go and counting. Things have gotten more intense since Eric and Stacey have got here, as we’ve been trying to cram in countless meetings into our days here; but they have continued to be very helpful and I feel as though we make progress every day.
Although I may not realize this to its full extent now, I feel very blessed to have the opportunity Educate! has given me to learn about development. While I have studied it in the classroom for years, that experience is nothing compared to actually being on the ground and seeing what people are doing first hand. Being a part of this organization has definitely opened a ton of doors for me here and allowed me to have access to a bunch of incredibly intelligent people doing real work on the ground. At my age I think it is definitely a big privilege.
I mentioned in a previous post the two programs we had in mind – school development and community service clubs. Our ideas have continued to change, and there have been some tweaks to these ideas, as well as an additional programming idea that could potentially be the focus of the new programs.
The Educate! community service clubs program actually remains more or less the same. We met again with the headteacher and a teacher leading community service projects at St. Mary’s, and they seemed to have continued interest in being the pilot school to have the club. We are going back later this week to see what kind of structure they have come up with and see how we will move forward.
The school development program idea has changed a bit, and we are going to now only focus on supplementing the current school structure with leadership/social entrepreneurship programs. Because we do not want to impose any ideas or beliefs on a school, as it will most likely result in failed implementation, we are hoping to do this reactively as opposed to proactively. This means that we will support proposals given to us as opposed to coming to a school with a specific program. We are hoping to launch this at a pilot school and are currently in discussions with one school about potential ways to implement a leadership/social entrepreneurship program. Eric addresses this more in his recent post.
Lastly, we have been coming up with a very rough sketch of a leadership training program for older secondary school students separate from current school programs, leading up to a two month leadership and social entrepreneurship institute for students who finished secondary school during their holiday before university (this holiday is 9 months long in Uganda and a time when many students have little to do). We have met a couple times with James Bulenzibuto, who is the public relations officer at Kyambogo University in Kampala and has experience in leadership training, and have sketched out a rough idea of how this would work.
The program would run in three stages. Stage one would be a several hour “sensitization” at various secondary schools, both elite and disadvantaged elite. This would involve introducing students to the concept of leadership and social entrepreneurship, and would be open to the entire population of a secondary school.
Stage two would include a 2 day seminar at this school (or actually more likely a seminar for a batch of several schools) on a weekend, which would go into more depth about the topic and have several speakers who have demonstrated leadership in their fields. Students would only be able to participate by application, and would have to be in their 4th, 5th, or 6th year of secondary school (Ugandan secondary education has 6 levels).
The last and final stage would be a two month institute for students finishing secondary school, and would ideally include several sessions during each pre-university vacation period. The sessions would be part in class learning about leadership, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and social responsibility, part lectures and talks by successful leader in these fields, and part actual implementation of a project. Students would ideally be a mix of both students from elite institutions and those from highly disadvantaged ones, allowing both an opportunity to network with each other, learn about the other, and hopefully address each others problems in the future.
This opportunity for students of completely different social classes to meet and learn about each other could potentially even have the most value, as the students from elite schools, who are likely to become business and government leaders, will now be connected to students who are likely to become leaders in their communities. Ideally, going forward, the connection they build will be powerful in affecting development from both a macro and micro level.
Again, these are just ideas we have, so please share any thoughts you may have. We are currently working on identifying and meeting with all the people at the forefront of this sort of leadership training and have several exciting meetings set up before we leave. We hope that by the end, we will have a good group of potential advisors on board with the idea. Wish us luck…