Oyam: FICH graduates 120 girls who attained ‘business life skills’  

(Last Updated On: 5 February 2024)

Oyam | 120 secondary school-going girls in Oyam district have finally graduated upon attaining business life skills courtesy of the Foundation for Inclusive Community Help (FICH).

The training was under the program “Leadership Education Access and Discovery (LEAD)”. The students started their training in 2022 while in senior 2 and completed in the third term of 2023.

The graduation was held on January 27, 2024.

FICH is currently implementing an education program “LEAD” which targets secondary school students in Acaba SS, Everest High, and Atapara SS with greater emphasis on the girl child.

The LEAD program is revised to strengthen the competency-based lower secondary curriculum which emphasises boosting key generic life skills in the revised Uganda National Curriculum.

Now, the revised 2022 implementation strategy of FICH holds termly mentoring sessions known as boot camps with 240 selected secondary school girls during holidays of each academic term to allow them to participate in the LEAD program in one single venue

Encompassed skills included developing business ideas, critical thinking; leadership skills, and operating businesses of their interest, among others. Among the schools that participated were Atapara Secondary School, Acaba Secondary School and Everest High School.

The participating girls drawn from Atapara SS in Kamdini sub-county, Acaba SS in Acaba sub-county and Everest Girls School in Loro sub-county exhibited skills in making reusable sanitary pads, liquid soap, poultry farm, cake and bread making.

Victoria Harriet Anyango, the Programs Manager in charge of Education at FICH explained that the training stems from assessments that were conducted in East Africa around life skills.

She revealed that many children were found to be having less or no access to skills.

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“The research we conducted in 2021 and 2022 in the whole of East Africa revealed to us very shocking results around life skills. For example, children who participated and were proficient in problem-solving in the whole of East Africa were only 5%, and children who were at least able to manage themselves were only 23%. Our plan was to nurture life skills through social and emotional learning that would enable them to understand themselves, and discover opportunities around them,” Anyango explained.

Anyango said the skills the girls have attained will help them get financial support in various aspects of their lives as they grow.

“Our aim is to ensure that we develop their life skills holistically since we have taught them how they can raise funds to support themselves so that they can solve problems within their communities because it is life skills, not hands-on skills, we have actually given them ‘the how to live’,” Anyango told tndNews.

David Adea, the Acting District Education Officer of Oyam said the training is very supportive of the education system in Uganda at the moment, especially for the learners in Ordinary (O) Level coupled with the introduction of the new Curriculum.

“I’m so happy with what FICH is doing because the skills they have taught with the students is in line with the new Lower Level Curriculum that will be very beneficial to the learners,” said Adea

Felix Obong, the head teacher of Atapara Secondary School said the students should be supported to put the skills learnt into practice.

“The skills the learners have need support from parents such as capital so that they can realise the impact of the training,” Obong added.

Speaking to tndNews, Juliet Akwero, one of the graduates from Everest High School confirmed that she will be concentrating on bakery productions to enhance her financial levels and in turn help in meeting the basic needs of life.

“I shall be practising making small bread which is ‘daddies’ so that I get some money that can help me buy my basic needs as well as pay school fees,” Akwero pointed out.

Trainees and their trainers display ‘daddies’. Photo by Atim Nancy.

Another graduate identified as Mercy Abongo, from Atapara Secondary School who attained skills in liquid soap making and rosary making, is hopeful that they will make money because of the many customers they have.

“Our school is Catholic founded and I am sure we shall make a lot of money if we make many of the rosaries as well as liquid soap since our health needs to be kept clean. I believe our school will even buy our product,” Abongo hoped.

Collin Oyit, a parent of one of the students said she may not be able to avail capital for her daughter to further her skills because of ill health and lack of money.

“I am grateful for the skills my daughter attained though I am not in a position to support her financially to start up her business idea, I do not have enough money, and her father is not well at all for now sometime,” Oyit said.

The just concluded LEAD program participants were hosted in Atapara Secondary School with training classes running from January 19 to 27 2024.

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