Reflection on Adult Learners Self Introducing

10th May 2018

Photo of a student in the Adult Literacy programme, Irene Namuganza, introducing herself in English   A few weeks ago the Adult Literacy programme had a session focusing on self-introductions. In this session with Adult Learners on April 8th I realized the capacity of the learners to introduce themselves in English and to “own” a platform.   People came forward and explained things about their lives and we learnt more about them. When the exercise went on in class, one student, Irene Namuganza, firmly introduced herself. She stated she is a housewife married to a gospel preacher and secondary school teacher at Numutumba Secondary School and so on.   Her body language told it all, how confident she was on the platform. She told the class that she is a mother of six, some of whom had completed ordinary level of secondary education. The art of body language was really developed for Irene. She chose a good diction in her expression. She only needed correction in sentence construction here and there, which is great progress for her compared to where she was at the start of her time in the programme.   I hope if Adult Learners concentrate on the Literacy programme, they will be empowered even more so to express themselves very well in public. When the women concentrate and keep coming they have a better chance of achieving their goals and

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10th May 2018

Final goodbyes with the Teen Voices participants from Townside High School, Busembatia.   I write this blog for the month of May, a little earlier than usual. That is because, this week marks the end of my time in Uganda and the realisation that I am soon to embark on my journey ‘home’, is beginning to set in. Despite three months not being a huge amount of time, I have consolidated my view that development is measured in more than numbers. Change often takes the form of a subtle yet steady ripple, which could eventually break, or manifest into something beautiful. A wave. That wave cannot be guaranteed, but the option and choice are there for disposal and that, is exactly what matters.   It has been an eye opening three months completing the Teen Voices internship here in Uganda. There have been moments where I have questioned impact and receptivity, yet there have also been times where I have beaconed with pride and purpose. For example, when I’ve observed the girls’ passion as they presented their poetry at International Women’s Day celebrations, read articles they’ve written on issues from their heart, watched how they communicate with such honesty and rawness and have just generally enjoyed seeing how much they shine.   In my opinion, social change is tangible and visible, but only if we adapt the way we see it. Sometimes it is

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9th May 2018

Photos of a few children stopping by our office to make use of the books in our library   On a recent case study with a local stakeholder, I received some insight that inspired some reflection about WIL Uganda’s impact in Busembatia. The man I was interviewing is a Police constable, Mr. Bukono, who has been in the police force for 22 years. Self-taught, he explained that he hadn’t even attended secondary school, but became a police officer and worked his way up to the senior position he has now. The phrase that struck me during the interview was when he claimed:   “For me personally I am very thankful for WIL Uganda and the reading culture you bring.” The bookshelves we have at our office are full of books ranging from educational textbooks to childrens books to teen novels, and though this isn’t one of the main services we advertise, it is always there for the community to access and make use of, and Mr. Bukono is a frequent user.   The reason the phrase stuck with me was specifically because he used the term “culture.” When you look up the word culture in a dictionary, it is often defined as the shared beliefs, practices, and values of group of people. This made me think about how the act of reading can become a part of a peoples culture: belief in the importance of reading, practicing it habitually, and valuing the role

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30th April 2018

‘I Want To….’ Participants of Townside High School and facilitator Bethan Williams pictured above, during a class activity used to establish personal and collective objectives   During my time as a journalism intern with WIL Uganda, I have been lucky enough to facilitate sessions with many inspiring young women. As the school term ends and this week marks the final sessions with in school youth, here I reflect on the achievements, operational challenges and the things I’ll take away,  from implementing the Teen Voices programme in Busembatia.   Facilitating sessions is just one part of my role here with WIL Uganda. However, the opportunity to foster growth and community engagement on a grassroots level by conducting sessions with in school youth, is one which I fully embrace. I welcome the opportunity to be ‘in the field’ and have direct contact with the local community, a hands-on ability to impact capacity-building amongst young women, it’s refreshing and rejuvenating.   It acts a regular reminder of why I do what I do, and why I feel so strongly about the role of informed women in their own development. I feel honoured to work with such bright and motivated young people. When I am with them, I feel alive and bask in their light and how much they shine with enthusiasm, eagerness and motivation. The girls can be critical and analytical, s

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28th July 2017

Time passes slowly up here in the daylight We stare straight ahead and try so hard to stay right Like the red rose of summer that blooms in the day Time passes slowly and fades away

~Bob Dylan, Time Passes Slowly | New Morning, 1970

  Throughout my placement here in Busembatia, Uganda, time has been central to the entire experience. There is something quaintly and quietly off about the time here, in many ways. People keep time differently, even tell time differently than I am used to back home. Moreover, time passes fast and slowly. Days pass fleetingly and weeks last for months and months last forever and are out before you notice it. It has now been six months, almost to the day, since I arrived. Time ground to a halt for the first weeks, when everything was new. I would arrive a little before 2 in the afternoon, fully prepped for my introductory sessions with the women I would be spending months with. Knowing I knew not what to expect, I expected at least that my eagerness would be met. It was, even if it did not take the form of punctuality and a nervous energy to match mine. Joseph and I sat, as we would sit

12th May 2017

Jamie works as Adult Literacy intern for WIL Uganda. Every weekday, he reaches out to women in the community to teach them English. But there’s more to teaching English than just learning new words: empowering women is what our organisation is about. “Mulija Bukonte. Ndi musomesa,” I answer the conductor on the matatu. He asked me where I was going and what I am doing here. I am a teacher and have been working in this community in Busembatia for 3 months now. Today, Joseph and I reach out to Angela in Bukonte. Angela and many women like her on our programme have received little or no formal education. Their levels vary greatly, but what they have in common is their age-bracket. They are all adults, and I am, as of three months, an adult literacy teacher. I have been a teacher for quite some time now, starting as a private tutor. I taught a skills course at my university during my BA and MA. Most recently I have been working with students that had been in conflict with the law, or came from turbulent at-home situations or had had an otherwise bumpy ride in life so far. What they had in common was a healthy dislike for school, class and teachers. Getting them to pay me some attention other than utter disdain was a daily battle. I thought teaching adult women who came to us of their own volition would be a stroll

20th March 2017

Ssesanga Nasser Shafatinho is a student participating in our Teen Voices programme for boys. In this programme, students learn to think about gender (in)equality, women’s empowerment and issues regarding this in their daily life. By writing articles, they learn to elaborate their thinking and reflect on their situation. Teen Voices articles are currently published on Teen Voices New York and FeministWednesday. My mother was a Musoga from Luuka. She married a Muganda man from Mubende. And that man is my father. When he married my mother, my father already had two wives. My father was a boat engine mechanic on a certain Island in Mayuge. I was born in 2004. My mother was a nurse on the same island. The time came when my father didn’t get enough money, and there were some prostitutes who were begging him for money. My mother became angry when my father stole my mother’s engine and sold it to build a house and put another wife in it. My mother divorced him but it was not a serious divorce. She worked and worked and she got money. She bought many houses and bought a plot in Iganga and built a nice house there. However, because she was busy she didn’t have time to be in that house – so she found a wife who

14th March 2017

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On the 2nd of March, WIL Uganda celebrated International World Book Day. If you mull that sentence over for a couple of times, it begins to look strange. World Book Day is not a holiday proper. It is on a par with World Pet Day. Far from everyone knows of its existence and, I submit, fewer remember the date. Reactions are usually ‘ah, is that today?’ instead of ‘Happy World Book Day!’

Not so in Uganda. Together with Noraly and Joseph, I picked up a group of students from Townside High School. I preach my love of books and reading here during the weekly book club that is part of the Literacy programme. While walking back to the office, I wonder. Is WBD really for us? For them? They hardly have books, there is no reading on the curriculum in schools. Could they name one Ugandan author? We make it to the office a little before 11 and show them around. Even though our event is outside, it is worth the slight delay to show them the inside: some of their pictures are on our walls. There is a mixture in the air of stolid concentration and elated excitement when they find a picture of themselves. Outside, where we have decorated the outer office with banners that Joseph whipped up, and an easel with Poppy’s delightful summary-in-drawing of Harry Potter, we explain the day’s objective. They are to read a story, in groups of 5, sum

9th March 2017

“Football! We really want to play football,” was the unanimous response of both teenage girls and grown-up women to the question what they wanted to do on International Women’s Day. Football and sports are generally a man’s thing, here. But on International Women’s Day, March 8, women decide what the festivities look like. [text continues after photo] International Women's Day Football At 11:30AM, the girls and women lined up at the football pitch. The girls, all from schools where we run our programmes, played in sporty shirts and stretchy skirts. The women, all participants on our community programmes, wore festive traditional dress: bold dresses with pointy shoulders, bright colours and the occasional glitter. Barefoot, laughing, yelling and screaming, they ran across the football field. An energetic match followed by a dramatic series of penalties eventually resulted in victory for the girl’s team.

“I am very happy to be part of these women on this day”

The International Women’s Day festivities continued at WIL Uganda’s office in the center of the village. Girls from local high

1st March 2017

Rehmar is a 15-year-old student at Townside High School. She loves to eat rice, and her favourite subject is English. Rehmar is a passionate advocate for education, and she is a current member of the Teen Voices Programme. Articles are published online at this website. Rehmars advice to other girls would be to “take education as a serious thing”.

“School helps me to know and understand more about the world.”

Rehmar loves going to school. She likes to learn and explore things she doesn’t know about. Rehmar wants to be a doctor, and she aims to achieve this by reading sciences and concentrating on her studies. School is very important to her as she believes that, were she not studying, there would be no good future for her, and she would end up getting married at a young age. This is an all too common problem in Uganda; 40% of girls under the age of 18 are married, and consequently many of them drop out of school.

“[My community could improve] by educating people.”

Rehmar believes that if the whole community is educated then there would be easy access to everything. If people are not educated, then they can’t earn enough money to send their children to school. WIL Uganda empowers women in the community by educating them in l