Maendeleo Foundation Executive Director recognized as prominent leader in the education technology field

Congratulations to our Co-Founder and Executive Director, Asia Kamukama, for being recognized as a leader in education technology by the Makers and Shakers Education Technology Index!

Asia and Maendeleo Foundation as a whole are recognized alongside other reputable and international foundations such as Duolingo, Khan Academy, Girls Who Code, and LEGO Education. We are honored to be grouped with such esteemed foundations working in the education technology field.

Home_-_Makers_Shakers.png

The selection process was strategic and competitive, as only fifty ‘thought leaders’ are featured in the index and they have been selected by a committee of renounced professionals within the field. As Makers and Shakers explains on their website, they aim to highlight organizations that are creating innovative and meaningful uses for technology in education.

The Makers and Shakers Education Technology Index wrote the following: “Asia has been actively promoting basic literacy and the use of ICT for Development in Ugandan schools and communities for nine years. As Co-Founder and Executive Director of Maendeleo Foundation Uganda, she has been actively involved in building the organization’s structure and designing innovative and relevant programs and projects. She has been a key person behind award-winning projects.”

Congratulations, Asia, and thank you for your constant dedication and leadership! We cannot wait to see what wonderful things you do next.

Visit http://www.makersxshakers.com/laureate/asia-kamukama/ to see the featured profile on Asia and Maendeleo Foundation.

Asia_PP

My life changed because of Computer

Those who have fully attended our ICT training sessions have a complete Practical education and a specific line of work fitting into them to earn a livelihood. Kakembo Paddy trained with Maendeleo Foundation Advanced Computer Training and Incubation Center during his senior six vacation. Between December 2012 and March 2013, Paddy completed training in basic computer skills, graphic design, and digital photography. He was able to receive this training because of a full bursary offered to him by Maendeleo Foundation. Paddy uses the computer skills he learned to work as a photographer and photo editor with Events Guru (one of the leading photography and videography and  studios in the heart of Kampala), and to pay for his Bachelors of Commerce degree from Makerere University. Below is an interview with Paddy.

 

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Answer: My name is Paddy Kakembo. I was born in December 1992, which make me 23 years old. Right now I am a photographer and editor, and am also pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Commerce at Makerere University.

 

Q: Which schools did you attend?

A: I attended Nalusse Primary school and Bishops Senior Secondary School (for O’level and A’ level).

 

Q: When & where did you start using computers?

A: I first used computers in my O’level but was not efficient. I only became efficient after I joined the Maendeleo Foundation Training Centre during my senior six vacation in 2012.

 

Q: Why did you choose Maendeleo Foundation over other computer training centres?

A: I chose Maendeleo Foundation for computer skills training for a number of reasons. The Maendeleo Foundation Training Centre was near my home so I needed no transport. Also, there were sensitization activities the organization carried out about its services which convinced me to visit their office to see what they taught. These included posters & fliers. After asking around, I realized they were cheaper than all the other places.

 

Q: What training course(s) did you complete at Maendeleo Foundation and how much did you pay for each?

A: First I enrolled for the Basic Skills Training which covered Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the internet. I later did graphics designing and photo editing using Photoshop. All of these were hands-on, skills based courses. For all the courses, I didn’t pay any money because I was given a full bursary.

PK1.png

Q: How did you end up at Events Guru?

A: I joined Events Guru through a cousin. She was also in her S.6 vacation and was working with a company near Events Guru studio in Mukono. At that time, Events Guru need someone who could use Photoshop. I was about to complete my graphics design course at Maendeleo Foundation so I went to Events Guru and after discussions with them I realized the company was doing the same things I had studied at Maendeleo. So, the computer skills in Photoshop were an added advantage.

 

Q: Has photo editing helped you in any way since you started out? What have your achieved using your computer skills from the Maendeleo Foundation?

A: Photography and photo editing helped me a lot. I have used these skills to earn a living and pay for my Bachelor’s degree at Makerere, I have made friends at different levels, I have met many different (big) personalities and talked to them, and I have also got the opportunity to move to many places within and outside Uganda. I have managed to teach other individuals, which makes me proud.

 

Q: What is your inspiration for keeping in this industry or field?

A: First I like what am doing, which I liked even before joining media production. I also have a dream of starting my own company in the future. The field is also well paying.

 

Q: What do you dislike about this career?

A: Some people don’t want to pay after service delivery, and some people undermine this career.

 

Q: How would you describe a good photographer or photo editor?

A: A good photographer or editor is one who is willing to learn and make research about what is trending or new on the market at a given time. One who is willing to accept and learn from their mistakes and do the right thing. He/she should also be a good time manager.

PK2.png

Q: What else do you do apart from working at Events Guru?

A: Mainly I study at Makerere University. Sometimes people give side photo editing jobs which I do when not at work and at the university. On a few occasions I managed to get contracts for my own functions like covering weddings, introductions, graduation functions, and birthday parties which bring extra income.

 

Q: Where do see yourself in, say, five years?

A: In five years I will be 28 and will have finished my Bachelors’ degree. I will be able to save more because I am currently using my savings to pay for my studies. I plan to be self-employed with my own business and able to train other people in photography and videography. I will achieve this using my savings.

 

Q: How do you spend your free time?

A: I watch football and movies. I also research for tutorials to broaden my photography knowledge. This has helped me improve the quality of my work and know about other applications like Adobe Lightroom.

 

Q: How are you using your computer skills to help other youths/people?

A: I use the computer skills to train other interested individuals and to help anyone who approaches me for help with a problem I can solve. This also makes me proud.

 

Appreciation

I would like to appreciate what Maendeleo Foundation did for me and for a job well done.

Stephen, one of Paddy’s work mates since 2015, says Paddy is hardworking, friendly, always stands for what he wants, and is very focused when it comes to work. The Maendeleo Foundation would like to congratulate Paddy on his hard work and successes.

21st Century Refugees and Their Access to Technology

As we recognize the United Nations’ World Refugee Day, one of our former interns, Jake Lockledge, offers his insights on the conditions faced by refugees in Uganda. Jake is an International Studies major at the University of Michigan and is currently completing research on refugees’ access to technology within the UNHCR Nakivale refugee settlement. 

Since the General Assembly voted in December of 2000 that June 20th would be internationally recognized as World Refugee Day, a lot of things have changed. The world is more energy-efficient, social media has reshaped communication, and Jose Chameleone made his debut. But, a fair amount hasn’t changed. People still battle prejudice, income gaps continue to rise, and Yoweri Museveni is still the president of Uganda.

In 1951, the international community defined what it meant to be a refugee and in 2000 they decided to recognize refugees’ struggle annually. Forced migrants have not somehow migrated in a world outside our ever-changing society; rather they have experienced its changes with brutal force and now find themselves navigating entirely new lives in new countries.

Uganda plays a central role in the protection of refugees within the East African community. Over 477,000 asylum seekers and refugees have crossed Uganda’s borders to reside in a country surprisingly dedicated to their well-being. Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister allocates plots of land to refugees to encourage economic participation, subsistence, and development. While the government’s treatment of refugees is by no means perfect, and their policies could be adjusted, I think their program has particular merit given the culture it rests in and the world surrounding it.

One of the biggest changes that has come in the 16 years since World Refugee Day became recognized is technology. There is an app for everything, the world relies on Twitter feeds and Facebook posts, and “do you have the Wi-Fi password?” has become an extremely common phrase. The situation is no different for refugees. Technology influences the way people communicate, gather information, and share that information for the benefit of others. People who have been forced out of their home nation have to familiarize themselves with the unfamiliar. Internet-enabled smart phones and computers offer a chance to be connected with the world, so that task becomes marginally less daunting. They can answer important questions such as: What rights do refugees have in Uganda? What crops grow in Western Uganda during the dry season? What is the political condition of South Sudan? Technology also offers employment opportunities. Those with programming abilities, and even basic skills like typing and printing, have opportunities to secure wage earning professions as secretaries or computer technicians.

This World Refugee Day, I invite you to consider the work of the Maendeleo Foundation, striving for computer literacy across Uganda. Now, imagine if it were able to reach beyond nationals.  What if refugee settlements contained computer literacy programs? What if we capitalized on a government mindset that seems to prioritize the sustainability of its refugee populations? A lot has changed in the past 16 years; perhaps it is time for refugees’ ability to access technology to do the same.

Jake Lockledge, ’17

An Update on our MSCC

The Mobile Solar Computer Classroom (MSCC) is a project that was started in 2007 at Maendeleo Foundation, and has carried on ever since.

DSC_0186.jpg

The project was aimed at solving the problem of rampant load shedding and inaccessibility to hydroelectricity in rural areas of Uganda.

With the MSCC, Maendeleo Foundation is able to extend its computer services to the most remote areas in Uganda, even without access to electricity. This is important to us because these rural populations lack the resources to access computers. While some more urban school children may be able to travel a few kilometers to access an internet café or library, these rural villages do not have those same privileges.

This school term, the MSCC is used in seven schools in Uganda. In these schools, our training team moves with an all-terrain vehicle equipped with a minimum of 30 laptops, a solar system, projector, camera and other items. The team trains around 300 pupils in each school. The solar energy is used to power the laptops, projector and any other electronic devices that the team may need. Because the project is self sustainable, the schools visited don’t need to provide anything except excited and engaged pupils.

DSC_0211.jpg

The MSCC even allows teachers to use a solar-powered projector to show presentations.

Students are not simply learning how to turn on a computer, either. Our Maendeleo trained students are able to type, create documents, use software such as Microsoft Office and our own Maendeleo software, access the internet, and operate equipment such as computer mice and printers.

So, why is this project so important to us? Technology literacy and the ability to operate a computer are incredibly useful skills. With these abilities, individuals can find employment to create income, stay connected with other people, and even use the internet to find information regarding things such as health concerns, agricultural tips, and current events.

Through the power of solar energy, over 50,000 Ugandans have had a chance to learn and use computers, and 98% of these individuals have been from remote villages. We are excited for the MSCC program to continue to expand and reach even more students.

Students are back for the second school term!

6th June, 2016 was the official start of term two for schools in Uganda. It was an exciting day and the whole week has been busy with parents taking their children back to school.

There are public and private schools in Uganda. Parents are free to take their child to any one of these schools depending on what resources they have available to them and their personal preferences.

_DSC1265.jpg

Students travel by foot, bus, car, and even taxi depending on how far their school is.

During this period, business is highly booming in these private schools. The school fees in some of the private primary and secondary schools are the same as the fees for a university student’s semester. Clearly, parents really value their children’s education and understand how important it is.

I accompanied my younger brother to one of the private schools in Mukono and I was overwhelmed by the required items these children have to take to school! First of all, each class has its own color of jerrycans, basins, plates, cups, and mosquito nets. You can imagine walking the whole of Kikuubo looking for a pink 20 litre jerrycan! The list of requirements is long and includes items like brooms, toilet balls, and toilet cleaning detergents, toilet paper, scrubbing brushes, reams of printing paper and ruled paper, tennis rackets, barbed wire and much more. Of course, the schools need all of these items to accommodate the students.

IMG_20160228_163522.jpg

Students arrive at school with the many items required.

One would think that the high school fees would cover these items. However, parents have to buy all these items and more in addition to paying the school fees.

These materials are enough to put up a serious supermarket! I wonder if one student can use a whole ream of paper (500 sheets) in just one term. If a school has over 1,000 students, they are collecting more than 1,000 reams of paper! Surely that is too much. However, we must value education.

With the current economic hardships, most parents will face loans and debts in pursuit of quality education for their children.

As educators and an organization aiming to complement the education system, Maendeleo Foundation hopes to alleviate some of the stresses of students heading back to school by beginning our programs right away at the start of the term. We are already back in schools and excited to make every school day count for students, regardless of all of the materials needed and time spent getting back to school! In addition to the education pupils receive in their schools, Maendeleo provides them with extra training and opportunities every school term.

Happy second term of school to all students, teachers, and parents!

By Talemwa Charlotte, Volunteer, Mass Communication Graduate from Uganda Christian University (UCU)

How do we use information?

For society to effectively reap the benefits of information, it has to be accessible and free.

The recent events in Uganda have left some people questioning whether people have a right to information or not. Recently on the 12th of May, all the commonly used social media i.e. Whats App , Facebook and Twitter were switched off by Uganda Communications Commission for security reasons. Many loses were made in business, a lot of speculation aroused among people and a lot of people were left frustrated by this shutdown.This incidence left very many question in people’s minds like

 

While some people continue to reap the benefits from technology and information, others continue to abuse it. Information on social media travels like wild fire; people are able to record events as they unveil and share with their friends.But what information do you choose to share with others? Does it incite violence ,promote pornography, call for change, build people or what.We ought to appreciate the power of technology and information and it’s our responsibility to make great use of these tools and support others to do so!

Written By

Charlotte Taremwa, Volunteer at Maendeleo Foundation

University Graduate from Uganda Christian University.

Genuises

 

Sports and Development

Wednesday 6th April, is the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. This article looks at the tip of of the social economic benefits of sports. A lesson from the USA and EU.

In 2003, the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace defined sport, (for the purposes of development), as “all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organized or competitive sport, and indigenous sports and games.”

Sports has since time immemorial played a crucial role in many different societies all over the world, be it physical activities, competitive sport or simple casual play.

Sport and play are human rights that must be respected and enforced at all levels of society including schools and homes. Therefore every person should have a chance to engage in sports.

Back in the 80s and 90s we used to play different types of games during break time and lunch time at school. We could even miss meals but were not really bothered because we could catch the meal later (at home) but not the game. Remember practice makes perfect, so when it came to time for interclass, inter house & interschool sports competitions it was much easier to choose the best, who would compete favourably even up to the highest level. Remember John Akiibua (athletics), Godfrey Nyakana & Justin Juuko (boxing), to mention but a few.

In Uganda today, some students miss out on the benefits of sports since their schools do not have the amenities to support sports. The challenges , that limit active sports in schools include;

  • Lack of  play grounds where students can go for P.E (Physical Education) and other forms of sports ( mainly in urban schools).
  • Lack of sports equipment. Besides balls made out of banana fiber, you will not find find any sports equipment in most rural schools in Uganda.
  • Over concentration on academics.Due to academic pressures, some schools do not pay much attention to sports and do not actively participate in the various school sports competitions.

No wonder the quality of Uganda’s sports personalities has dropped in different competitions. This has happened at a time when there is increased money being pumped into the sports industry and therefore many Ugandans and Uganda as country  loses out on such opportunities.

According to economic modelling.com in their post by Gwen Burrow published on Tuesday 09th July 2013, & titled “Not Just a Game: The Impact of Sports on U.S. Economy” (http://www.economicmodeling.com/2013/07/09/not-just-a-game-the-impact-of-sports-on-u-s-economy/), the sports industry roughly contributed $14.3 billion in earnings per year, providing 456,000 jobs with an average salary of $39,000 per job.

According to sportyjob.com in their blog post Published on Thursday, 15 January 2015 titled “The contribution of sport to economic growth and employment in Europe” (http://www.sportyjob.com/blog/440-the-contribution-of-sport-to-economic-growth-and-employment-in-europe), the sports sector contributes about € 175 billion to the European economy which is more than agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined. If you add all the sectors that are influenced by sports, the share of sports at the European GVA is almost € 300 billion.

Note : GVA (Gross Value Added) = Gross Domestic Product + subsidies – (direct, sales) taxes).

Employment opportunities in the sports industry

  • Athletes & sports competitors
  • Coaches & scouts , Umpires, referees, and other sports officials
  • Entertainers & performers, sports & related workers, all
  • Gaming & sports book writers and runners
  • Agents & business managers of artists, performers, and athletes
  • Construction of sports facilities

That means you don’t have to be an active competitor to earn from sports.

Construction of sports facilities is infrastructural development; it creates jobs for the construction workers and later the employees in these facilities. The construction of Mandela National Stadium in Namboole (Uganda), for example, led to development of the Namboole area with more access roads, residential houses, hotels, schools, and a vibrant town with commercial activity which contribute to the economic survival of the inhabitants.

Many sports personalities work as good will ambassadors, brand faces etc for different companies, organisations, and products, from which they earn big. Many have set up foundations like Kanu heart foundation which helps heart patients

Let each of us make a contribution to activities that will promote sports in our communities. Do not undermine your input, it will work for the greater good. This will prepare our youths and nation to enjoy the social economic benefits associated with sports.

References:

http://www.sportyjob.com/blog/440-the-contribution-of-sport-to-economic-growth-and-employment-in-europe

http://www.economicmodeling.com/2013/07/09/not-just-a-game-the-impact-of-sports-on-u-s-economy/

http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/sport

Written By

Walusimbi John, Lead ICT Trainer