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Training in Uganda

A group from VIEWS International travelled to Uganda this summer in order to take part in the “Strength through solidarity" (STS) project evaluation meeting. Our team included Anca, Corentin, Joyce, Sam and Theo, and the meeting took place from 7th to 14th August 2017.

There were two main goals for the STS project; the first being to enhance the capacity of grass-root youth organizations working with disadvantaged young people with disabilities in Belgium, Brazil, Congo, Germany, India, Kenya, Poland, Rwanda Thailand and Uganda. The second was to create a website that members from all the organizations could use to share their knowledge and expertise about volunteering, running an NGO and getting more people involved in making change. The aim of this was to give the young people the tools and skills to develop themselves and grow their organizations. This evaluation meeting was the last step of the project and was a valuable opportunity to see friends from previous meetings and reinforce the links between us and once again to share a very good time together.

All the participants at the evaluation meeting of the STS project in front of the natural reserve.

All the participants at the evaluation meeting of the STS project in front of the natural reserve.

A local association call the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) hosted us in their facility. This association educates former orphans, street children, refugees and other disadvantaged youth in Uganda to become job creators and social entrepreneurs. This facility was located in a beautiful area with quite an unusual landscape for Europeans like us. The accommodation was also quite unusual. It was not a five-star hotel and sometimes it could be challenging being without hot water,, showers or running water. The organizer and the people from SINA were able to adapt this open area to make it more accessible for the visually impaired and blind members of the group.

In addition to the activities related to the evaluation process we also visited several local associations, a natural reserve and had a conference in the Landstar a hotel in Kampala. The Uganda national television and radio station were present at the conference which was called “Grassroot Changemakers & Innovators Summit”. This was a big moment for us as it was the time when we could communicate about the project, its conclusions and ideas. Also present were people representing the Ugandan government, other local associations and anybody interested by the project. We had several debates together and in smaller groups.

Our visit to the natural reserve was more for fun . For most of us it was our first experience of an equatorial forest, it was stunning. We also had several games in the forest for team building and to help us understand the difficulties for visually impaired and blind people to walk in that kind of environment.

They were all very enriching experiences for all of us, especially the visit to the local association. All this time in Kampala also showed us how big and how crowded this city is. The smallest journey could take hours due to the endless traffic jams that occur in Kampala and we spent a lot of time in the taxi-bus.

In conclusion, this adventure was vastly rewarding for all of us for a number of reasons; for what we learned about the African culture and lifestyle,, for the knowledge we gained about how NGO’s and associations around the world work, but especially for all the friends that we made.

Anca, Corentin, Samantha and Theo in front of the VIEWS international’s table at the Grassroot Changemakers & Innovators Summit.

Anca, Corentin, Samantha and Theo in front of the VIEWS international’s table at the Grassroot Changemakers & Innovators Summit.

All of the participants meeting together in a circle in the main hall of SINA.
All of the participants meeting together in a circle in the main hall of SINA.

Five huts where we slept at the SINA village in the sunlight of Uganda.
Five huts where we slept at the SINA village in the sunlight of Uganda.

The participants standing in a line and blindfolded in the forest preparing for a game.
The participants standing in a line and blindfolded in the forest preparing for a game.