Uganda - Kalongo (St. Bakhita's)

Population facets: 

Partner Organization: Saint Bakhita’s Vocational Training Center, Uganda

Location: Kalongo, Uganda

Number of Students: 4 students

Dates: Site determines dates.   

In person opportunities summer 2021: Yes

Virtual opportunities summer 2021: Yes

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  None, but openness and desire to learning some Acholi, and other local dialects is necessary. English is the language of instruction.
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  Students have prior experience tutoring, and working with youth Knowledge of computer basics (using search engines, accessing website entry points, typing, etc.) Depending on final project scope and responsibilities, introductory business knowledge (accounting, basic financial literacy, etc.) may be helpful. Above all, students must have a clear history of compassion, empathy, patience, resilience, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Major Requirement: Must have taken, be enrolled in, or plan to enroll in Innovation & Design Thinking. Strong interest in women empowerment, education, youth development, and/or business as a means of global development
  • Student Minimum Age:  None
  • Special Requirements:  Experience or comfort teaching groups and youth is helpful because students could be teaching or assisting with classes of 5-20 students. Any skills in sewing/tailoring, computers, or experience with agriculture would be an additional benefit.
  • Other:  Students should have background knowledge about the recent war in northern Uganda and the current political situation. Interest in global development, economic empowerment, and/or or African studies would be beneficial. It is helpful if participants have already taken or plan to take an African related course prior to summer. Students should also have a desire to learn from others, be open to new ideas, be adaptable in foreign environments, and possess strong verbal communication and interpersonal skills.

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment: (The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the Spring semester. Additional training sessions may be added as needed.)

  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Training
  • Self Defense Session
  • HIV/AIDS Workshop (if working at Health Clinic)
  • First Aid & CPR Training
  • World Religions Session

Site Description:  

At the peak of the Lord’s Resistance Army civil war in Northern Uganda, thousands of children were abducted, many of them girls who were forced into servitude. At the end of the war, these young girls returned home, having missed their childhood, formal education, and many of them with young children to raise.  In response, Saint Bakhita’s Vocational Training Center (SBVTC) was founded by the Italian Cooperation in 2007 to support and educate the child mothers and girls who had been kidnapped during this dark, two-decade war, providing them with the knowledge and support needed to persevere and rise above their circumstances. 

Located in the rural township of Kalongo, Uganda, St. Bakhita’s Vocational Training Center’s (SBVTC) mission is to be a school which provides a comprehensive education that empowers women to design and implement creative solutions to challenges faced by their community. To achieve this, SBVTC creates leading, hands-on curricula that teach students the skills needed to become change agents in their home communities as they tackle Uganda’s most pressing issues.

At SBVTC, we are committed to educating and empowering individuals across the Acholi region to propel Northern Uganda, and the country as a whole, forward with modern innovation. Through our strong curriculum, practical training, and connections in the community, we provide students with skills needed to excel in their jobs, start their own businesses, and make a lasting impact on their community. 

Additionally, SBVTC aims to make education available to all students by breaking down barriers to knowledge and vocational development. With tuition costs often preventing students from attending school, we hope to alleviate that concern by being one of the few vocational schools in the country to offer tuition support. This will come in the form of completing work at the school and offering other forms of direct scholarships. 

Finally, during Spring 2020 through a collaboration with Notre Dame’s Innovation & Design course, SBVTC launched the Teaching Reforestation and Entrepreneurial Empowerment at SBVTC (T.R.E.E.S) Initiative to plant 20,000 seedlings across 50 acres of farmland managed by the school. Through this program, we hope to meet a triple bottom line of (1) reversing Uganda’s deforestation crisis, (2) providing opportunities for SBVTC and students to earn income from produce sales, and (3) empowering SBVTC students via entrepreneurial education. More information can be found here.

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: Scope of work may have some changes based on the needs of the partner organizations at the time of student arrival/engagement.  

This site can be in person and/or virtual for summer 2021.

Scope of work in person:

SBVTC is truly a multifaceted innovation hub, meaning potential work will vary on a weekly basis, but can be directed by student passions and interests. 

In the classroom, ISSLP participants may assist teachers during hands-on practice applying the knowledge learned from formal instruction. Depending on the track and day, these sessions can range from working with sewing machines to create uniforms for elementary-aged students, to selling fruit in the marketplace, to the basics of writing blog posts and researching information on a computer. Introductory courses in financial literacy and money management may also be taught. ISSLP participants may also be asked to teach introductory English courses.

However, ISSLP students’ main focus will be expanding and improving upon entrepreneurial education and support for SBVTC students. This could involve developing an in-country network of partnerships with other NGOs, designing a program to help support SBVTC students post-graduation, helping SBVTC with student recruitment strategy, or implementing other student ideas from the Innovation & Design course at Notre Dame.

At the school, ISSLP students can expect opportunities to help with cooking alongside the kitchen staff, learning about traditional Acholi cuisine in the process, and ample time to bond with students through various sports like soccer after class. 

Additionally, ISSLP participants will most likely be asked to help at SBVTC’s farm, working with students and community members to care for the trees as part of SBVTC’s reforestation efforts. Tasks may involve basic weeding of land, seed collection and storage, sapling planting, and fruit harvesting. 

Depending on the progress of the farm and T.R.E.E.S Initiative, participants may also have an opportunity to produce efficient charcoal and assist the farm’s business manager with marketing the farm’s products and developing a reliable sales distribution network through which SBVTC students can practice developing their entrepreneurial skills. 

Scope of work virtual:

ISSLP students can expect to assist in developing virtual lesson plans on topics such as financial literacy, money management, and English as a second language. Other possibilities include consulting with SBVTC in developing a student recruitment strategy and post graduation programs.

Housing & Lodging Information:

Students will live in Kalongo, at the nearby Green Oasis Hostel which provides private rooms with private bathrooms (shower, sink, and toilet).

For More Information:

Visit SBVTC’s website (designed by Notre Dame student, Parker Chun)

Visit the T.R.E.E.S Initiative information page

Contact Professor Wendy Angst or Bruce Morris

Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection and orientation process.
upd 09.04.20
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April 2021

Application Deadline | McNeill Leadership Fellows Program
Friday, April 30, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm

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CST Research Seminar
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