And the winner is…

Mentor James celebrating with his winning team

James Katumba is a pioneer Mentor for Educate!, a non-profit organization that teaches a two year leadership program to high school students and empowers students to start social initiatives at twenty-four partner schools across Uganda. This post is a reflection of the 1st Annual National Social Entrepreneurship Club (S.E.C.) Competition.

Green Hill College Mukono is the winner of the 1st Educate! National Social Entrepreneurship Club Competition. The contest is an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the remarkable achievements of Educate! scholars as socially responsible leaders and budding social entrepreneurs. Green Hill college is one of the smallest schools in the Educate! family. Their S.E.C. motto, “Lead with others” is a reflection of the club culture. To date, the S.E.C. has implemented several projects including;

  1. A seedling project that gathers fruit seeds from the community and germinates them at no cost. Their vision is for every person to plant a fruit seed for each fruit they eat within their community.
  2. A cough mixture project that utilizes indigenous herbs to make a cheap and effective remedy for people that can’t afford traditional medicines.
  3. A poultry project in which they teach students about best practices in animal husbandry, specifically chickens.

The first time I went to Green Hill College is still fresh in my mind. It took me two hours to locate the school that had shifted to the outskirts of Mukono town. Not even the ever updated ‘boda boda’ motorcycle taxis knew about it. The state of the school infrastructure was dilapidated and the resignation and self-doubt within the students was apparent. However, Mr. Kalinda Jimmy, the Head Teacher, was upbeat and he elucidated the task that lay ahead of him as well as for Educate!. I assured him that the Green Hill College S.E.C. would shine.

Over the year, I worked with the scholars; first to transform them from shy, self-doubting individuals to bold, self-assured scholars that work as a team. My next task was to inspire them to take on leadership responsibilities in their communities. They are now leaders that are shaping the development of the school culture, leading community projects and leading their own lives to achieve their vision. My third major goal was to nurture them into social entrepreneurs within their S.E.C. and home communities. Over time with many steps backward and many more steps forward, Educate! saw these scholars grow into individuals with confidence, creativity, critical thought, competence and commitment.

Green Hill College’s win is a reflection of Educate!’s vision. Their projects are neither the biggest nor the highest earners. Their projects are truly social enterprises that identified a social problem, developed and implemented a solution creatively, resourcefully and sustainably while involving the entire community. Most notably, they launched all of their projects from scratch with no funding, simply a good mix of community service and social entrepreneurship. They had the best and most detailed accountability along with a marvelous presentation.

The Green Hill College Social Entrepreneurship Club accepting their awarAt the end of the first year, I can confidently say that Educate!’s vision is growing; its impact is more visible within the scholars and the communities. The Green Hill College win is great, but even more significant is the entire Educate! family—scholars, mentors, administrators, volunteers, donors and communities—are winners.

~ James Katumba, Educate! Mentor