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64 STUDENTS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II COLLEGE LALIYA SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP ESSENTIALS COURSE

Sixty-four students of Pope John II College Laliya have successfully completed the Entrepreneurship Essentials Course. The sixty-four students were drawn from senior one, two and three. The 64 students were awarded certificates of completion on Tuesday 1st December in a brief ceremony held at the school. The Entrepreneurship Essentials Course is a six topic, six-week, computer-based training program. The Entrepreneurship Essentials Course helps to equip learners with basic skills in business and entrepreneurship.

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All participants who go through the course are able to perform basic business operations such as drawing business plans, marketing, costing and pricing, keeping records, business management and other basic functions. Youth in Uganda are the youngest population in the world, with 77% of its population being under 30 years of age (Population Action International, 2013). There are 7,310,386 youth from the ages of 15–24 years of age living in (Uganda Youth Statistics, 2013). Many of the youth were therefore optimistic that the skills they had acquired through this course would enable them to be self-employed and self sufficient in life. A brief interaction with the youth just before they received their certificates of completion revealed the following; On what motivated them to participate in the course: Ocen Brian: “I wanted skills to start a successful business”. Otim Nebin: “Entrepreneurs cannot fail in life. I joined the course because I wanted skills to start and operate a business”. Omoya Louis Herbert: “To get self-employment through my own business”. Ajok Prisca: “To have a future improved standard of living through a good business”. On what they liked most about the Entrepreneurship Course, the students had the following to say: Turyatunga Emmanuel: “The way the teachers trained us was very good and enabled us to easily get the tips for managing a business”. Arach Irene: “I liked the fact that the course can instill a lot of confidence in a person to start a business”. Wokorach Patrick: “The teachers used videos and other teaching aids that made learning very easy”. Kizza Ray: “I liked the fact that I can do basic accounting in a business”. Obong Emmanuel: “The teachers taught us how to be persistent and never give up when starting a business”. Ocaya Moses: “I used to think that starting and managing a business was very difficult but after attending the course I now believe it is possible.” To further boost the program, BOSCO Uganda has started a new initiative called the Bosco Uganda Entrepreneurship Club. The club aims to bring aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners together to create a community where entrepreneurs can collaborate and share successes and challenges with each other. One of the main activities of the Entrepreneurship Club is the Entrepreneurship Essentials class based on the Skills to Succeed curriculum developed by Accenture Foundation and specifically tailored towards Ugandan entrepreneurs. As members of the Entrepreneurship Club, participants will:
• Have the opportunity to gain knowledge and expand their business skills.
• Learn about opportunities for business loans, accounting best practices and more.
• Network with entrepreneurs and business leaders in their community.
• Develop and get feedback on their business plans.
• Practice pitching their business ideas by presenting to the club.
• Find a local mentor, or get a mentor through Accenture, one of America’s top professional consulting firms.
• Hear about local entrepreneurial success stories and get inspired!

DIGITAL DRUM ATTRACTS YOUTHS TO BOSCO UGANDA BARDEGE ICT CENTER

On a hot January afternoon, a pair of boys aged 9 and 12 struggle to fit on a small wooden stool otherwise meant for one person as they stare without blinking at a loading facebook profile page running on one of the two computer monitors that sit just outside the veranda of Bardege ICT center owned by BOSCO Uganda and located just in the outskirts of Gulu town. Wrapped in a solid yellow sheet of drum shaped metal, with two computer monitors on each side, the BOSCO Uganda digital drum computer not only attracts, but also serves a handful of youth and children who flock to the center from various locations ranging from Laroo, Pece, Bardege and Kanyagoga among other places all with the aim of benefiting from fast Internet from the Digital drum.

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Designed in 2010 from used crude oil drums by a trio of engineers working in liaison with car mechanics for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) community kiosk project whose goal was to create information access points for all villages in Uganda, the Digital drum’s most noteworthy pros lie in durability and its use of solar energy which renders it usable; even in power deprived areas thus making it a favorite of the youth in Gulu. “ Unlike other computers which rely on electricity from UMEME, the drum is never affected by the constant power outages in town” boasts Denis Okello, a twelve year old pupil at the neighboring Unifat Primary School and user of the machine, in complement of the digital drum’s use of solar energy in comparison with the electricity provided by power company; UMEME. Its simplicity; a quality it garners from its appearance (keyboard and monitor) without a visible Central Processing Unit (CPU) or even the lengthy strands of connecting power cables, adapters and limited supervision further makes it a favorite of most youths. Donated to BOSCO Uganda from UNICEF in 2012, the Digital drum at Bardege ICT Center office still functions with the speed of a newly acquired one and not even the wear of the characters on the keyboard offer limitation to its usage by its many users; “the veterans” you could call them have come to master all the characters on the keyboard typing them from memory. Eric Akena, a senior 6 candidate at Gulu Senior Secondary School and one of the pioneer users of the Digital drum from its time of installment is able to type perfectly even without staring at the keyboard and considers the worn out keyboard a way of evaluating his typing skills. Akena also explains his preference of the Digital drum in its durability and location on the veranda, outside the ICT Center. “The drum he says, “is long lasting and strong, because it has taken four years outside, which compared to other computers is long, I prefer it to the computers inside the library because it allows fresh air to a user ” he adds. Ivan Rackara is a student of Mass Communications at Uganda Christian University Mukono .



Entrepreneurship Essentials Graduates Urged To Be More Practical

The Entrepreneurship Essentials class graduates of Bardege ICT Center were encouraged to put to practice the knowledge acquired during their training and start businesses. This was during the graduation ceremony which saw forty four members of the entrepreneurship class walk away with certificates in recognition of their efforts in attending the six week course. The course which was provided by BOSCO Uganda in partnership with Accenture (a management consulting firm) and the University of Notre Dame was delivered to students through bi-weekly lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays and in the same vein assessed through presentations and tests is a brain-child of the Connectivity, Electricity and Education for Entrepreneurship (CE3) project for members of the Entrepreneurship club.

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“The purpose of this training was to help you the students to not only start a business but to also run it” said Lino Owor Ogora the BOSCO representative in advice to the newly graduated students. The students who expressed interests in starting small scale businesses commended the course for offering them a platform to learn and share ideas about businesses. “The course has been beneficial in enabling me as a youth integrate with other people and share business knowledge and ideas, I believe am now capable of creating my own business instead of searching from another person’s created job” remarked Peter Aguma a recent graduate of Gulu University and member of the class. Samuel Okot another graduate of the class and small business owner also vowed to put the skills he acquired from the course to his business. “ I will apply the knowledge and skills gained from the course to my business” he said. Samuel Komakech, the facilitator for the course also commended the successful students for their persistence and commitment in attending lessons and doing assignments which accelerated their training and in lieu of this advised them to continue with the same for success in their future endeavors. “I would like to encourage you to maintain the spirit of commitment for progress even in the running of your future businesses” advised a proud Samuel Komakech, as he presided over the handover of certificates.




IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

In this brief blog post we would like to share with you three very brief quotes from three participants who have joined BOSCO Uganda’s Entrepreneurship Club which was formally launched on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. Bosco Uganda Entrepreneurship Club aims to bring aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners together to create a community where entrepreneurs can collaborate and share successes and challenges with each other. One of the main activities of the Entrepreneurship Club is the Entrepreneurship Essentials class based on the Skills to Succeed curriculum developed by Accenture Foundation and specifically tailored towards Ugandan entrepreneurs. Over 20 members are currently undergoing training in business skills at Bardege ICT Centre. On Thursday 12 November, three members of the club were asked to share their experiences and how they felt about the club. In their own words, the three members had the following to say: Jesca, Club Member, Student and local businesswoman based in Gulu: I welcome the visitors of BOSCO

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I am Jesca. I am a business lady; I have done my business for about four years. I started by doing vegetable growing where I would grow vegetables like spinach. I would sell the vegetables to middlemen in Gulu town. But overtime I decided to start selling the vegetables myself. I studied from senior one to senior six and then I went for a business course but did not complete. I therefore had to look for another way of doing business. I am currently undertaking another course in Business Studies at Cavendish University. I learnt about the entrepreneurship club when I had come to the ICT Centre to read. At around 3 – 4pm people were organizing themselves for a class and I asked what it was. I learnt that free entrepreneurship skills were being given to members of the public so I joined. The EE classes have helped me to enhance my business skills. One time a brother of mine wanted to give me a business opportunity and he asked me to make a business plan but I could not do so. Now I can draw a business plan after only two weeks on the course. I currently sell tomatoes and as a result of attending this entrepreneurship course I have learnt that I can enhance my business through tasks such as branding and value addition. I now know that I can for example add value to my business by making tomato sauce and selling it to avoid losses as a result of my tomatoes going bad. The major challenge that many people have is the lack of capital but I have learnt that you do not require a lot of capital in order to start a business. I encourage everyone to come and I also encourage my fellow classmates to share ideas and experiences in order to enhance their skills. Robin, Club Member & Student: I love this EE course because it is practical. If I complete my studies and fail to get a job in future then I can simply start a business. When I was still a student I did not realize that the skill of entrepreneurship could help me. I now know that starting a business is not a big task. You can start with whatever little capital you have. George, Club Member and Local Businessman based in Gulu: This region (northern Uganda) was affected by conflict. It made the youth to become lazy and loath agriculture. Entrepreneurship and business skills are therefore an opportunity for them to find alternative employment. .

COMMUNITY FAIR EVENT IN PAJULE PADER DISTRICT

BOSCO Uganda in Conjunction with Peace Together Organized a Community Fair that took Place on 31st Sept 2nd Oct 2015. The event aims at bringing youth from the various ICT centres together for experience sharing, online blogging and dialoguing on controversial issues that affect community members. The event featured;- Community Evening Bond fire (Wang-oo); Radio Talk Shows; Traditional Dances; Role Plays and Dialogues on Alcoholism, Land disputes and Gender Based Violence among others. Communities came up with several measures to address the above vices. On alcoholism, the suggested measures include:- Preventing young people from getting involved in the sales and abuse of alcohol; reduction in alcohol intake by parents, prioritizing children education, refraining from sales of harvested crops for alcohol consumption and respecting children rights, among others. Regarding Land Disputes, the action points suggested include;-

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Clear demarcation of land boundaries, avoiding discrimination of orphans and widows regarding access to land; involvement of different categories of leaders (Religious, LCs and Traditional leaders) in handling land disputes; constituting Legitimate Council to handle land disputes; avoiding Corruption and biasness when handling land disputes, adopting family planning to reduce on scarcity of land, upholding the principles of mutual respect, honesty, love and valuing one another during land disputes among others. Finally on Gender Based Violence, key resolutions included;- Respect, love and listening to between Husbands and wives; resolving family conflicts with the support of immediate family members as mediator; revival of the traditional Evening Bond fire (Wang-oo) talks to discuss and resolve family matters; Promoting Christian principles of love, peace, and unity in families and communities; valuing and prioritizing families; involvement of local and Religious leaders in handling Gender Based Violence.