2007 Educate! Trip to Uganda

Learn about Educate!’s 2007 trip to Uganda by reading Educate!’s blog. The trip laid the foundation for Educate!’s strategic direction in the future and led to the development of three new programs.

There are many educated people, but an overwhelming number are job seekers and not job creators. Additionally, we learned that the culture of community service is lacking in schools and in Uganda at large. To address these problems, Educate! is starting work on three new programs:

1. School development
2. Educate! community service clubs
3. Leadership institute and seminars

These programs will be implemented with the goal of developing and empowering socially responsible leaders for change. They are described in greater detail below.

1. School development

To address the rigidity of the UNEB curriculum, Educate! hopes to work in close partnership with secondary schools to develop leadership and social entrepreneurship programs that will help students think independently, take initiative, and give back to their communities. To give this program the best chance at succeeding, Educate! will work reactively with a school, supporting program ideas that the board and faculty present instead of implementing our own programs. Educate! has identified a school it hopes will become a model for this relationship.

2. Educate! community service clubs

The goal of this program is to change the culture of community service and make it a more lasting presence in the lives of secondary students in Uganda. We will encourage the clubs to develop sustainable projects that are more demanding of their time and energy than of their money. To promote this, the Educate! community service clubs in Uganda will be paired with Educate! clubs at high schools and colleges in the U.S. and in Canada. The partnership will create a valuable cross-cultural exchange and will serve as an incentive. The fundraising for club projects will be a joint effort with the American club contributing an amount four times what the Ugandan club raises.

The first community service club will be started at St. Mary’s College Kisubi, an elite all boys secondary school in Kampala. This club will be paired with the Educate! club at Amherst College in Massachusetts. We met with the members of the St. Mary’s club, and they are all enthusiastic about participating. They’ve already drafted a plan for a project where they will give deserving families in the community a pig to raise and use as a source of income. Their hope is to enable these families to support themselves and be able to send their children to school. The details of the project and the fundraising necessary will be discussed between members of the St. Mary’s and Amherst clubs.

3. Leadership institute and seminars

To address the gap in leadership, Educate! will be offering leadership, social responsibility, and social entrepreneurship training in three stages:

Stage 1: One day, multiple hour introductory sessions at secondary schools around Uganda. These presentations will be open to all students. They will introduce the concepts of leadership, social responsibility, and social entrepreneurship, and perhaps feature one keynote speaker. These sessions will be used to gage the interest in our program and inform students about stages two and three of the series.

Stage 2: Two day programs conducted at one school or a group of schools, depending upon interest. Admission to these programs will be determined through an application process; they will be open to students in their fourth, fifth, and sixth years of secondary school. A more in-depth series of leadership/entrepreneurship/social entrepreneurship presentations and exercises will be conducted for students who have expressed an interest leadership training and who have taken initiative in the past.

Stage 3: One to two month leadership institute held multiple times during the nine month break between secondary school and university. Admission to these institutes will also be determined through an application process, and they will only be open to students who just graduated from secondary school. These programs will focus on developing leadership, entrepreneurship, and social entrepreneurship skills through discussions of theory as well as practical application of the lessons. Educate!’s vision is to bring elite students from privileged backgrounds together with promising students from rural areas and harder circumstances so that they can learn from one another’s experiences and form friendships that may help them later in life.