Volunteers come from all walks of life – a baby faced 18 year old fresh out of school looking for gap year excitement, a graduate in search of one more experience before entering the world of work, or someone with a career behind them looking for adventure.
This year alone we have had volunteers from the UK, US, Australia, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Norway, China, Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea and Nigeria – Volunteer Uganda is a truly global organisation.
Volunteers can have a range of skills, from music and art to sports and dance.
But at our heart we are an education organisation. Ensuring that children get good quality education is the steady beat that drives Volunteer Uganda forward.
So there is no substitute for qualified, experienced teachers who give up their time to train Ugandan teachers in modern teaching techniques.
That is what the Limited Resources Teacher Training programme is all about. Developed over the last three years, LRTT brings out teachers who are part of Teach First, an organisation that trains exceptional graduates to teach in some of the most deprived schools in the UK and act as role models to pupils.
Our LRTT volunteers spent August doing workshops with teachers from school across Kanungu district giving them new ideas, new behaviour management techniques and new ways of engaging children in education.
It is a two-way process. Of course, Ugandan teachers know how to teach when there is no smart board with Internet connection, no smorgasbord of learning aids. They know how to get children to learn when only chalk and a blackboard are close at hand. In short, they know how to teach with limited resources.
This collaboration between Bakiga and Bzungu benefits our partner schools and benefits our core volunteers who have improved training and advice to listen to before embarking on their teaching adventure.
Over 400 teachers participated in this year’s training course. 400 more teachers in Uganda who have the knowledge and alternatives so they can move away from the cane, move away from the front of the class and move towards interactive lessons where the teaching is learner centred and not spoon fed.
How much impact will this have? We will find out. LRTT has kept a presence in Kanungu for the next 12 months to access the impact of the training course and to improve it for next year.
The change will not happen over night, it may even be generational. But steps have been taken, and that is always how a journey begins.
To find out more about LRTT please visit http://volunteeruganda.org/teach-first