Mary Nayiga, 26, from Mukono Nabuti did her Bachelor in Development Studies. Before her Challenges Worldwide ICS placement, supporting Ugandan businesses, she was unemployed. “I had worked on some contracts but I had no previous experience of volunteering. I wanted to discover what it’s like to volunteer and to work alongside volunteers from the UK,” she shared.
During her placement, she worked with Mashambani Dairy Goats Farm, an enterprise that has been producing milk and yoghurt with locally sourced goats since 2016. Mary, together with her counterpart, did an evaluation of the organisation and made, as well as implemented, recommendations.
“The business needed support with organisational structure. The CEO does everything so she needed support to look at operations management. As a new business, marketing was a big focus of our consultation intervention,” Mary said.
She said that many people have never heard about goat milk or they do not know about their benefits. That is why part of her job was to talk with an identified targeted market and raise awareness about the product.
Mary shared with us that she “created awareness by visiting children’s homes which is one of the identified target markets. I personally visited 6 homes. I developed sales skills and followed-up with potential customers. Part of my work was to provide educational interventions to help them understand the benefits. The work I did around marketing, helped to raise awareness of the product.”
“My proudest moment during my placement was my first presentation. At first, I was very scared and I was feeling nervous as I have watched the previous volunteers deliver their presentations with confidence. However, I delivered my presentation to the business development team and I received positive feedback and comments. This was really encouraging and has helped improve my confidence in future public speaking opportunities,” Mary said.
Finally, Mary commented that the Challenges Worldwide ICS placement was a “great opportunity to discover individual strengths and weaknesses.” She also said that “the placement has changed me so much. It has widened my knowledge of the business world. I now know how to start up a business and how they are managed. As a result of my Challenges Worldwide ICS placement, I’m thinking of starting my own business with packed fruits. I feel more employable and feel I could develop my own business.”
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Making one’s way by public taxi through Kampala’s packed streets is always interesting, but this time we were doing so with particular excitement. Our destination was the radio studios of UBC, Uganda’s national broadcaster, and our mission was to represent Challenges Worldwide live on air, to an audience of hundreds of thousands. UBC Radio reaches as far as South Sudan and Kenya.
After a quick group photo outside the compound, we made our way inside. It was clear our appointment was an important one when we were ushered quickly through security on mentioning the producer’s name. Prossy the radio presenter was warm and friendly as she ushered us into the recording studio and explained the procedure, but nerves were running high as we waited through jingles and advertisements for the microphone in front of us to buzz into life. Sharon, a former Team Leader, our Country Programme Manager Nicola, and current volunteers Lynna and myself sat at the desk and poured over our notes as we prepared our best professional voices.
The interview focused mainly on the ins and outs of the Challenges Worldwide’ programme in Uganda, with a particular emphasis on how local people can get involved. This was the topic most addressed in UBC listeners’ questions, which we watched ping in on social media between our turns to speak, but we also discussed our personal interpretations of the programme and, in my case, the experience of a muzungu (the local term for foreigner) living in Uganda.
We were also quizzed on our motivations, and whether I had signed up out of sincere belief in the importance of international development or simply to experience the beauty of the “Pearl of Africa” (in truth, a bit of both!)
Nicola was calm and collected as she expertly explained the details of our programme, and in the end her several pages of notes proved unnecessary, it takes far longer to cover the content than she had nervously imagined. Prossy turned her attention to the volunteers next, and we were able to discuss the help Challenges Worldwide gives to young people who need to develop skills and experience, and the impact we can see our work has on the local community. We were also quizzed on our motivations, and whether I had signed up out of sincere belief in the importance of international development or simply to experience the beauty of the “Pearl of Africa” (in truth, a bit of both!)
It proved a good opportunity to reflect on the differences between the two countries’ cultures, such as the tendency in the UK to work to the clock in contrast to more flexible lifestyles in Uganda, and the famous British reserve and politeness. Both ways of life have their disadvantages, as anyone who has almost been run off the pavement by one of Kampala’s ubiquitous motorbike-taxis (boda-bodas) will attest, but the more relaxed Ugandan lifestyle is good for the soul.
In the end, the hour passed by in a flash, and we found ourselves being thanked by Prossy outside the UBC studio and then shown to the door. Hopefully, our listeners found the experience as thought-provoking as we did, and at least one person is inspired to take up the challenge of global development as a result!
April 22nd, 1970 marked the first celebration of Earth Day. With its roots in New York, at a time when pollution was considered a by-product of prosperity, Earth Day saw the birth of the modern environmental movement. Groups opposing pesticides, destruction of the environment, oil spills, raw sewage and power plants all came together and realised their common values; environmental protection. The result was coast to coast protests; 20 million Americans came out into the streets in favour of environmental reform. Since its dawn almost 40 years ago, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic holiday, spreading to 193 countries and putting the issue of environmental protection into the minds of millions across the world.
Whilst on my Challenges Worldwide placement, I am working as a business support associate with Areg Agro Foods, a small food producer located in Kampala. The owner and CEO, Rachael Corda, has a background in organic farming and is passionate about incorporating environmental considerations into the day to day workings of her business. Rachael knows the value of using organic techniques to grow crops. The result is high-quality natural foods which do not cause any of the environmental problems of pesticides, for example, soil contamination and the death of wildlife.
Since the birth of her business, Rachael has taught farmers how to grow their crops organically and has converted many farmers to the organic lifestyle. Areg Agro only uses high-quality organic crops and milk to produce their many varieties of Italian cheese and fruit preserves.
However, Rachael is also careful about the environmental impact of her business’s waste products. This has led her to reduce waste by ensuring that by-products of cheese production are sold at a rock-bottom price to local farmers and used as animal feed or fertilisers. The result: delicious mozzarella which doesn’t hurt the planet.
In 2016 the WHO published a report which stated that air pollution levels in Kampala and Jinja were 5.3x higher than recommended safe levels. The burning of rubbish was stated as a significant contributing factor to this figure. Luckily, another business that volunteers on our cycle are working with, Bio-electricity has the answer. Established in 2008 in Kyengera by Wilson Ssendagaya, Bio-electricity has an innovative approach to waste disposal. Waste is sorted through and split into categories; natural waste such as food products are turned into an organic fertiliser over a process of two months. This reduces air pollution and also ensures that waste serves another purpose. Ssendagaya also has big plans for the future, currently, plastic waste is shredded and stored with the intention to convert it into diesel using technology imported from the United States. This would not just solve the issue of waste disposal but would go some way into the move towards renewable energies, not just in Uganda but globally.
Hi, my name is Richard Reading and I am a volunteer from the UK volunteering with Challenges Worldwide in Kampala, Uganda, in association with the International Citizenship Service (ICS). Challenges Worldwide work with small to medium-sized enterprises in developing countries across the world, sustainably supporting the economic growth of a wide range of social enterprises. When in country Challenges Worldwide matches a UK volunteer with an In Country Volunteer (a Ugandan volunteer in my case), then we are placed into a business which has a positive social or environmental impact. I have been placed in a motorcycle business called Miracle Motors who have a positive social impact on Boda riders (motorbike taxis) by enabling them to more easily own their own motorbikes, as well as providing safe rider workshops, free reflector jackets, and free helmets to riders.
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My business counterpart, Omara, and I were invited to join our business Miracle Motors on Sunday the 12th of March at a Holi Festival event in Kampala, Uganda. Miracle Motors is the key distributor of Mahindra Two Wheeler motorcycles in Uganda and across East Africa, selling motorbikes, services and spare parts. The festival was a great opportunity for us to gain an improved understanding of how the business carries out their marketing, as well as observing and looking for any room for improvement.
The day started with us arriving at the business early Sunday morning, collecting a few things for the day, then travelling to the event. We both then helped the team hang up posters, and erect stands. This enabled us to see what kind of visual advertisements they use at events to raise awareness of the brand and their products. Once the festival started to get busier we were sent with a member of the sales team to distribute leaflets, advertising the motorbikes to the public. This first-hand experience enabled us to observe the direct marketing approach used by our business on occasions like this.
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The whole day was a great success and has enabled us to understand a key component of our business, helping to complete our analysis of the business and consultancy work in greater depth. We will be using our findings from the day to help us provide enhanced recommendations to our business. For example, as a result of a day researching, we were able to notice room for improvement and form a recommendation for our business. The recommendation we have given is to improve the professionalism of the marketers at business events such as Holi Festival by equipping all marketers with business cards.
Watch the video we made during our day at Holi Festival, I hope you enjoy it as much as Omara and I did. Until the next trip out of the office…
“Be the change you want to see in the world” (Gandhi)
The key message received by volunteers in Kampala, Uganda on International Women’s Day, a national public holiday. Dressed in the day’s thematic colours of white and orange, our group of volunteers, Team Leaders and in-country staff joined many others at a conference partnered by Challenges Worldwide at The Innovation Centre in Ntinda. Armed with the globally trending hashtag “BeBoldForChange” our team were ready to gain first-hand insight into life as a working woman in Uganda.
The message was one which we can all relate to and received by both men and women. It was a day for not only recognising women in Uganda but recognising the changes that we as individuals can make to generate a more equal and inclusive society. Nonetheless, we learnt that 70% of the world’s poor are women and face many challenges in health, education and their role within society which for some women the consequence of their actions could be life or death.
Three inspirational women, two from Uganda and one from Afghanistan formed the panel discussion to commence the event. Godiva Monica Akullo, a feminist, lawyer and human rights activist encouraged women to stand up for change. She shocked the room when she spoke about one of her own experiences: working for a Ugandan law firm and attending a conference as not only the youngest but also the only female, she was approached by a male client who asked if she could pour him a coffee. As a professional and Harvard lawyer graduate she did not let this pass and made her opinions known. Since this day, she believes in empowering women to take action such that men feel their presence in the room.
Among the other panellists was Evelyn Namara, founder of Innovate and an ICT specialist, believing women can be better in technology advancement, breaking stereotypes and mindsets and advocating that girls should grow up with the same opportunities as boys. Captain Babra, a Ugandan army captain also stood up to encourage young girls to follow their dreams because nothing is impossible.
“girls should grow up with the same opportunities as boys”
All the women spoke with such passion and emphasis on how women in Uganda will continue to speak up about this topic until the day they are viewed as equal human beings. However, it was Betty Ogiel Rubanga, author of Against All Odds and an example of the life-changing benefits of education for girls and women, whose story truly inspired. Over ten years ago she was caught up in a road accident, crushing all dreams of becoming an athlete (being able to run 100m in 12.8 seconds, pathed out a potential career), leaving her partially paralysed down the right side of her body and with a speech impairment which would impact on the rest of her life. As she translated these memories into words and spoke of her experiences she moved many in the room to tears. Her message, however, was clear as she went on to discuss the five things that made her excel at life, without which she would not be the women she is today: 1. Working hard; 2. Making wise decisions; 3. Be yourself; 4. Be the author of your destiny; 5. Positive mental attitude.
So the question is: how are we being the change we want to see in the world?
As volunteers with Challenges Worldwide, we have already made this leap. Working to promote development through small-medium sized enterprises, many owned by women we are being active in making the change that we want to see happen in the world.
A Rolex for 2000 might not sound an unreasonable price. After all, the name is associated with the ultimate Swiss watch brand, conjuring up images of luxury and affluence.
Yet in Uganda, the title takes on a slightly different meaning, especially when 2000 is a price quoted in shillings and roughly converts to 50p. No, not a tacky fake with ‘gold’ straps and ‘diamond’ numbers that might temporarily convince the undiscerning eye. We’re talking about a far better bargain – Kampala’s number one selling street food.
Literally a composite of the phrase “rolled eggs” – you won’t be able to spend long in the capital without sampling this local delicacy. Let me briefly explain: A concoction of fried eggs mixed with onion, cabbage and tomato are cooked fresh and wrapped in a chapatti providing the ultimate cure to any hunger fix.
The simple street food concept has taken Kampala by a storm and is developing into one of the city’s major tourists attractions. Starting out as a humble snack which budget-conscious students at Makerere University could afford to sustain themselves during their long working days, the mighty Rolex is now consumed in vast quantities across Kampala morning, noon and night. It has become so popular that in 2016, the city even hosted the first international Rolex Festival.
I first became acquainted with the Rolex after a lengthy exercise session. Nobody can deny it contains the perfect body building combination, packed with protein and carbohydrates. For only modest multiples of 500 shillings, more eggs and chapattis can be added to the mix until you’re left with a meal even Chuck Norris would be proud of. Without too much consideration I selected my local stand manned by the ever smiling Tom. Within seconds of placing an order, the red hot pan was cleared of any distant traces of salmonella with a dirty rag and the cooking was underway. Before long I juggled in my hands my first steaming hot Rolex – fresh from the pan and the best I’d ever tasted.
It may seem shameful to confess to my Rolex addiction but my visits to Tom’s stand (- a brightly lit wooden cabinet adjoined to a smoking charcoal stove) have become ever more frequent. Whilst over a thousand calories of deeply fried bread and egg may be a struggle to justify after a day sat at the office, I often compromise with just a lone chapatti available at just half the price.
I’m by no means the only customer to frequent Tom’s stand – business for a Rolex vendor in Kisaasi appears to be booming. The days are long. I have never seen him away from his workstation. His reward, however, is a phenomenal turnover. Whilst the actual Rolex itself might not be such a hit in this neighbourhood with only 10 being sold per day, the trade in chapattis is where the real money is to be made. Over 90 of these are sold throughout the day, both as a snack for hungry passersby like myself or as an accompaniment to the main meal. Although the costs of ingredients, charcoal and electricity are high, taking in 110,000 a day is a tidy sum in this neck of the woods. From a rough calculation, over 70,000 profits can be generated each day, more than people working in low-skilled professions such as maids and security guards might earn in a month.
Managing times of peak demand is a particular challenge. Cooking each individual chapatti to order makes customer waiting times excessively long yet nobody wants to be provided with the stale disc of bread that has been cooked hours before. Demand surges occur during ‘rush hour’ as people undertake their work commutes, at which time Tom must have his dough rolled and ready to hit the pan. Being only a small outfit, the business is mostly a one man operation with family members and even customers lending a helping hand in the production process if the stand gets busy. Whilst larger stalls in Kampala’s busy markets of Nakawa or Wasafi might make use of the specialisation of labour, Tom is required to undertake all parts of the production process himself, limiting the speed at which food can be turned out. Competition is stiff in these parts, with at least 5 other stands on the same street (one even promising to be well acquainted with Jesus), meaning Tom must cook fast and to a high standard to maintain his loyal following of customers.
Yet my Rolex cooking friend’s greatest threat of all remains the law. According to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Tom’s profession is illegal. Whilst street vending is prolific throughout the city with Police often turning a blind eye, any of the city’s 10,000 Rolex vendors operating an unlicensed stand can be arrested without warning. The penalties are severe. At a minimum, a Shs.100,000 can be imposed and Tom’s stand and all his stock is confiscated. Yet if Tom is unable to pay on the spot, he may be arrested and detained by a mountain of bureaucracy.
Whilst it is possible to pay up to Shs.350, 000 to be released on bail, the complications of being released and charged can seem endless. Whilst about 150 street vendors may be taken into custody each day, the KCCA processes less than 25 of these every 24 hours. It doesn’t take a maths genius to spot the enormous backlog. There is little alternative other than to pay up and play the waiting game but the business impacts can prove catastrophic.
Although Tom does operate his business with this risk, a new series of street vending alternatives are becoming available. And guess what? They’re legal. One such company looking to overcome the lack of regulation in Kampala’s informal street food sector is Musana carts; a San Francisco based start-up supplying solar powered ‘Rolex’ stands. Aside from the firm’s objective to promote cleaner cooking methods, Musana has been able to formalise the business of street vending through a partnership with the KCCA. By ensuring that vendors adhere to certain standards including a food safety inspection, their work can eventually become legitimate. Whilst customers benefit from a more hygienic and cleaner culinary experience, the advantages for vendors such as Tom are enormous. The carts may not be as cheap as their makeshift alternative. Most are issued on a finance scheme paid off at a rate of $3 per day. Their quality, however, is far superior. Carts are equipped with solar power providing them with better nighttime lighting to increase the hour’s vendors can work as well as phone charging capabilities to offer more services to customers.
Receiving a licence from the KCCA isn’t easy, but legalisation is certainly the best alternative to enable street vending in Kampala. The company has a waiting list of over 100 potential customers demonstrating the popularity of the concept yet backlogs in the supply chain and KCCA bureaucracy is, unfortunately, halting progress. Whilst Tom may remain sweating away behind his unregulated stand in Kisaasi for some, a legalised Musana cart may provide a solar light at the end of the tunnel.
Guide to creating a Rolex
Tom’s relaxed manner when making a Rolex makes the process look incredibly simple. After an hour long ordeal, I held utmost admiration for my friend’s profession.
Measuring out the Ingredients
Combine approximately two cups of water and two spoons of salt per 1kg bag of flour into your favourite mixing bowl (most street vendors vessel of choice is a large plastic washing up bowl). This can prove harder than it sounds when pouring from a 20-litre can of water – remember to tilt not lift!
Mixing the dough
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. I was charged with making industrial quantities of dough and therefore was required to bury my arms wrist deep into the mixture (removing watches and jewellery first is highly advisable). The mixing process at first doesn’t require too much technique. If the contents feel a little dry, top up with half a cup more water.
Kneading the dough
Once the flour and water start to combine into the dough the real work begins. Making your hands into fists, you must attack the dough in a slow motion punch. This may not seem challenging at first but as the mixture becomes sticker, more and more force is required. As the dough develops, oil is sprinkled on and kneaded into the mixture and flour can be added to stop it from sticking Chapatti making is certainly an endurance sport. After 20 minutes of this inelegant procedure, I was exhausted and left with aching arms. I quickly realised exercising before eating a Rolex was no longer necessary, making it provided a more than adequate workout.
Rolling the Chapatti
The dough mixture can then be split into small fist sized balls. Tom’s chapattis are a little bit larger and denser than those of his competitors’ so the dimensions of these really depend on the size of chapatti you require. Take each ball and press it out into a round disc with your thumbs. On a floured surface, this can be rolled out, taking care to rotate the disk at regular intervals to try and maintain its round shape. The thinner the chapatti, the better so be patient and wait until the disk is about 2mm thick and is flexible in your hands.
Frying the Chapatti
For best results, make sure your pan is as hot as possible. Tom cooks on a charcoal stove so moments before the chapatti is fried, a brick is removed from an air inlet so oxygenate the glowing embers. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and then carefully lay down the chapatti, making sure to spread the dough outwards with your hands to keep the disk round and thin. After less than thirty seconds, slide a knife underneath the sizzling disk and gently lift the corner to check underneath until the downwards facing side is golden brown. As we were making a bulk order, the process now became a little more complicated. Each disk was lightly fried like this individually then 2-3 can be stacked and cooked together and flipped in a rotation so each side gets cooked. To make sure the disks don’t stick, they are constantly spun like a roulette wheel. This can at first be done by hand but the fried dough gets hot rapidly which is when a ‘heatproof’ flour bag comes in handy.
Mixing the Omelette
The most common Rolex combination in Kampala comes with a two egg omelette mixed with onions, tomato and cabbage and a pinch of salt. These can be whisked together with any metal implement of your choice in a fairly dirty looking cup. The vegetable additions must be cut as small as possible to stop the cooked omelette from falling apart. This is where I confess my skills are limited. Cupping the onion in his hand, Tom takes his knife and dices it at lightning speed, the blade stopping only inches from his fingers. Although this does produce the finest onion segments known to mankind, I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home!
Frying the Omelette
This process doesn’t require as much heat as used for the chapattis so the brick can be repositioned in the stove or the gas turned down. Again, after drizzling yet more oil onto the stove, the egg can be poured on. As the omelette is inevitably rolled, it’s best to make it as thin as possible so before the egg starts to solidify, spread it out as much as possible with the blade of a knife. Similar to frying the chapattis, it is also necessary to slide the knife around the edge to check the egg is cooked and prevent the mixture from sticking. When the downwards facing side is lightly charred, carefully slide the knife all the way underneath to flip the omelette. Once turned over, lay a chapatti over the top and firmly press it down onto the mixture so that the egg almost combines with the warm dough. Once you think the omelette is cooked, using the knife, lift the Rolex off the pan and lay it onto a flat surface
Now all that remains is to roll your Rolex and serve it to your hungry customer – if they have watched you prepare it from start to finish they really will be desperate for their first bite. A thinner roll is always best so take care to make the turns as tight as possible. As your Rolex is fresh from the pan, it is still piping hot so it must then be wrapped in at least two plastic bags to prevent it from burning your hands. Redeem your modest financial reward and send your smiling customer on their way.
Fancy trying a Rolex for yourself?
Apply now to join the 2017 Challenges Worldwide ICS programme in Uganda
Challenges Worldwide believe that social enterprise is the most effective vehicle for poverty alleviation in developing nations. This is a complex and difficult argument to make, but yesterday our guest speaker Martin Muganzi made it thoroughly convincingly by recounting his experiences of working in development.
Martin started from humble beginnings, raised with 6 siblings by a single mother, often relying on neighbors for support. For Martin, community support has been vital to his way of life from an early age, and he quickly became involved in giving back to the community through work with the missionaries at his secondary school. This continued throughout his university education in biomedical science, as part of the scholarship programme through which he had enrolled.
A Passion for community work
After a brief career as a lecturer, Martin realised that community work was his passion, and decided to pursue it full-time. Martin’s first foray into full-time community work was through the Youth at Work Initiative. This project relied upon funding to reduce youth unemployment by skills training, mentoring and job creation.
While YAWI was a great success, reaching over 1000 young people, Martin was somewhat disillusioned by his experience working with foreign NGOs. It seemed that the availability of funding could change quickly, dependent on the current development priorities. What this meant in practice was a lack of commitment to real change, which has to be followed up and supported in the long term. Martin had similarly questioned the approach of NGOs while trying to educate people on the dangers of HIV/aids. He cites events which rely on “per diem” handouts as particularly ineffective. While it is a great way to encourage participation, when your mind is on the food which you came to eat, it is difficult to focus on the bigger picture.
What Martin has realised through these experiences is the importance of true commitment. A team’s commitment to a cause is far more important than their qualifications or resources. And how is commitment commonly displayed? Money. Martin has taken this vital observation and applied it to community work. The result is social enterprise or “social entrepreneurship.”
The mentoring scheme at YAWI had been plagued by the problem of lack of commitment. Mentors would sign up with enthusiasm and promises and then fail to show up in the longer term. Martin now uses a fee-based model where both mentors and mentees pay, thus demonstrating their commitment. The resulting enterprise, All Stars Mentoring Academy(link) is a testament to the success of this approach, with 30 mentees successfully completing the comprehensive 3-month programme this year.
Look at the market
Martin’s approach to social entrepreneurship is deceptively simple:
Identify a community with a shared problem
Look at the markets they are participating in and identify exactly where the market is failing that community.
Both examples are illustrative of the power of social enterprise. The Calabash Collection sell beautiful bags and accessories made from recycled marketing materials. This came about simply through Martin’s personal investigations in the Katwe Slum. He asked how much the workers were paid to make bags, and then followed the supply chain to see how much they were sold for. He thought that a 1000% markup was extractive and simply went into competition, providing a much fairer cut to the workers.
Essential Home Services is a similarly simple model. Martin was aware of a large influx of young workers into Kampala, unemployed and eager to find work. Essential Home Services provides a platform to link domestic helpers to homes who need them. They provide security and background checks for a delayed payment and take a small cut of workers earnings.
Both of these businesses provide a fantastic service to consumers. However, of more interest to us in the creation of decent work, in contrast to the exploitative alternatives. As Martin argued, the power of decent pay and new opportunities for those living in poverty cannot be overstated. The incentives to save and work towards a better and healthier future become far more real once you have something to lose. A more convincing discussion of this can be found in the fantastic book Poor Economics.
The truth about social enterprise
For me, Martin’s argument was a very powerful one. His personal experiences seem to resonate with what I have heard during meetings with the business owners we are currently working with. The deciding factor in any venture is the commitment of the people pursuing it. And the investment of your money is a display of that commitment.
These two truths come together in a powerful way through social enterprise: be that by providing decent work, fair pay throughout a supply chain or an affordable and advantageous service. This is what we hope to support at Challenges Worldwide.
This week we were given a presentation by Product of Prison during CMI training. The talk was highly engaging and very informative on the work that POP does across Uganda.
Product of Prison is a Dutch NGO operating in Uganda that provides skills to inmates in 7 prisons across Uganda. Their focus is on the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners back into society upon the completion of their sentence.
Prisoners usually have few to no prospects of finding employment after jail and so are much more likely to redrawn into the cycle of poverty and reoffending. Product of Prison aims to equip inmates with vocational skill and knowledge and behaviour training to stop this from happening. So far POP has been active for 6 years and helped 3600 prisoners to improve their lives upon returning to their communities. POP’s vision is that prisoners carry out their sentence in a service where their human rights are respected and are treated in a humane manner. All the while their time in detention should be used to acquire the necessary skills for reintegration and life outside of prison.
POP operates across Uganda in both Men and Women’s prisoners in Kampala, Gulu and Jinja. Their vocational training courses include:
Candle making workshop in Remand Prison, Kampala
Recycling art courses in Remand Prison, Kampala
A tailoring workshop in Gulu Women’s Prison (This program has a rehabilitation centre in Gulu town and products are sold in a local shop)
Hair Salon, Lira Town (It is often difficult to attract customers here as they cannot bring phones and there is still a negative stigma surrounding prisoners)
Paper Bead Jewellery Making, Jinja Men’s Prison
Glass Bead Club, Upper Prison Kampala
These courses are set up to provide the prisoners with business and craft skills that would enable them to set up their own small business upon leaving prison. They are also paid for each item that is sold in shops and through the NGO which gives them a little income to afford food and materials once back in their community.
Vocational skills are further enhanced by knowledge training sessions that occurs at all locations. These include career, reintegration and computer skills. Wellbeing and enhancement training is also provided at multiple locations, this includes yoga and break dance glasses and an annual sports tournament to educate the prison guards in keeping the inmates active and healthy.
More information on POP can be found at the following links: