Self Help Foundation, Kampala, Uganda(TN-In-UG-KY-2012-309)
27th August – 9th October
- 1. Background:
From the 27thof August till the 9th of October I absolved an internship at the Self Help Foundation Uganda in Kampala. This is a basic report for my supervisor Edna Akullo. It is structured in first a comprehensive background with all facts and data about my stay in Uganda. Secondly about challenges which I was confronted during my stay and lastly my recommendation for a more productive and efficient way to do charities work in Africa.
I stayed the first 4 days in the AIESEC house, the organization which was transmitting me. This house is probably not the best start in Uganda because it is next to a slum and the living conditions are just bad. After the 4 days we went to Karamoja to give training for different youth groups in business and entrepreneur skills. This is definitely one of the best experiences I got. The youth groups were so ambitious and motivated that it was pretty impressive. Afterwards back in Kampala my major exercise was to report the trip and to prepare the accounting for the past training. Also I planned a follow-up training for the same youth groups; including a simple business plan. My idea was to discuss business opportunities with the youth together and collect the ideas from the young entrepreneurs. In the end I would like to try to get the start capital with some crowd-founding tools like giveforyouth.org. Unfortunately the starting date was postponed from day to day so that in the end I was not able anymore to travel to Karamoja again. So I spend the rest of my days in Kampala.
- 2. Challenges and recommendations:
The first challenge was the culture shock for sure; I have never been to a third world country before. Therefore especially in the AISEC house, where I got all the poverty around me, the first impressions were super difficult and sometimes even scares. This is nothing that can be changed easily. A better communication could prepare future interns to avoid this first culture shock. Just describe the situation how and under what conditions you are living here. Or just forward one of these reports to the students. Nevertheless this is also a fault of the AIESEC organization; there are much better accommodations in Kampala. Because of that I was really pleased to could move to Edna’s house.
Secondly the horrible traffic is a big issue. An own car would be awesome but it not possible to change. Honestly I don’t have recommendations for that. Just don’t be scared and try to do it. If you don’t have a car and living far away from office/downtown then you have to get used to this situation.
The next big challenge is a general problem caused by miscommunication and miss organization. Often I had no plan and no clue what we are doing, what the challenge is and how I can help or support. Especially for me this was quite unsatisfied because I wanted to get to this country to help and to change something here. So every time without a plan or without a structure I felt hopeless and I couldn’t reach my target. Of course this is also caused by my high expectations. It is hard to find a solution for this. Maybe with proper communication like transmitting time tables and exact information about follow programs as soon as they are available. Furthermore the optimal solution would be if the student gets a structured time plan about his/her time at the Self Help Foundation in Uganda. Sometimes I even had the feeling that Edna has no plan where the problem is or why we are not moving to Karamoja for the second trip. A meeting with all responsible people to figure out a satisfied solution for everyone would be a start to solve this. Take apart more in the organization and planning would give me a better overview about the structure and about what is the problem right now.
The last issue is addressed to me. With too many expectations you just can get disappointed in the end. Therefore try to be bottom lined and concentrate on the things you can achieve. You can’t change the world in 2 month.
- 3. Conclusion:
All in all I had an amazing time in Uganda. All the experiences that I got are priceless and unforgettable. I learned a lot about a new culture and a new work culture. I would highly recommend going to a country like Uganda to open your mind and to expand your horizon. Of course you are confronted with a lot of new challenges that you have never heard before; but you are much prouder afterwards when you challenged it and if you could do some charity work. Therefore I’m really thankful to Edna for giving me the opportunity doing the work in Uganda and to get so many new experiences. I hope we will stay in contact and I can finish my project even from Germany. So in conclusion I’m happy to have done this job.