It was in January 2016 that a friend who worked with BOSCO Uganda then approached me about an opening for a Research Supervisor within the organisation. What caught my attention at first with BOSCO was the ability to have transitioned from an organization that gives hand out to one that helps to build communities through an innovative sustainability for self-reliance. The research position was short term but more assignments came in for training and mentorship which I led. These specific roles gave me learning in research programming in livelihoods provided by the ecosystem approach in the CE3 project. When these short term contracts ended, I was asked by BOSCO management to join as a permanent staff as a Learning and Documentation Officer. It wasn’t a hard decision to make since BOSCO and I shared the vision to take the lessons from our work replicate into future programming. After nine months, I was offered the position of the Chief Operations Officer, a great responsibility that I was happy to take.
Over the past 17 years I have worked as a teacher, social worker and research supervisor besides running a family business. 13 of those I have dedicated to work in emergency, recovery and development of humanitarian support. This included supporting Sudanese refugees, Kenyan and internally displaced people of northern Uganda. I started from a humble position as an Education Programme Assistant, but with focus and interest to learn and passion for work I soon grew to a Field Manager (head of sub-office). The secret was simply dedication, reading, integrity and volunteering to take up tasks beyond my job description. I learnt many things outside my department namely health, WATSAN and livelihoods.
I have supervised a number of researches however, the one that I have done with the government of Uganda during the National Census, still stands out very strongly for me. I was motivated because of the importance of the data derived as it is used for critical decisions which will affect the whole economy but most importantly the un-expecting common person in the rural villages.
Before I started at BOSCO Uganda I Co-Founded a CBO focused on socio-economic development through entrepreneurship skills development and peer counselling.
I currently work as the focal point person for proposal development. I support the team in idea generation and building. This is a double edge exercise and it involves capacity improvement for the other members of the team as well. This is done through sharing tasks and later improving as a team. Besides report reviews, data collection tools designing for inputting into the reports. The quality of reports are dependent on the data collected and it is an area that we are growing in right now.
I also provide oversight of planning and execution of project results and outcomes. This comes with ensuring that activities are planned well by the different departments for efficient use of the constrained resources of vehicles and personnel but still be able to deliver appropriately. This includes having meetings every Monday of the week and a quarterly general staff meeting.
Together with the Administration I plan human resource management in terms of leave, recruitment and ensuring staff are duly appraised. This is one of the new assignments and will take a stronger hold in the New Year 2018, as we will focus on capacity building through coaching and mentoring.
BOSCO Uganda offers me variety of exciting things to look forward to in the coming year and it becomes very difficult to choose from such as expanding into the refugee work, growing the ecosystem of CE3 with the sustainability components of energy and education, and generally expanding our partnership with other partners in providing cheaper internet connectivity for the rural community besides staff retention as a core for carrying the organisation forward.
I will opt for sustainable clean energy as a model for future replication and adaptability. Moreover, the transparency system in place that is continuing to be learnt. This system will not only empower BOSCO and beneficiaries but I believe it can be a very great way of creating employment and jobs for our population which is hugely young.
As we do this, entrepreneurship training needs to be provided to the community. The attrition rate may be high but it is one area that should be integrated into young people early enough. Because the older persons may not easily adjust to new ideas that are coming quick and fast in e-commerce.
Is there a story that exemplifies to you how BOSCO makes an impact?
The CE3 project supports a number of institutions. One of those is Pope John Paul 11 College that benefitted from a 30kw of clean solar energy. When asked about the school’s future academic performance, a staff member there said: “Give a man fish and you feed him for a day, Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.
This project is very important for our school because the national grid is most often off up to about three days in a week. With this project the teaching time as increased since teachers do not rely on day light only for teaching. Student times have also increased as they can read early in the morning before coming to class. Actually we can complete the syllabus early enough and prepare the students better for exams. We are also building another structure that will house a computer lab and in administration, we will computerize our accounting system which was not possible since we did not have stable power.