In the 2014 Tumaini Awards, child rights organisations in partnership with New Vision are seeking to honour and recognise individuals, organisations and businesses working to improve the lives of children in Uganda.
Today, Ronald Mugabe reports about KIBO Foundation, an NGO that aids underprivileged children
Richard Walusimbi’s father passed away when he was just six years old. To make matters worse, his mother left a few days later, never to be seen again.
With his younger sister, Juliet Nalubwama, the world seemed to have come to a halt.
Fortunately, Teopista Nakiryowa, a distant relative offered to take care of the little Nalubwama. With nowhere else to go, Walusimbi found solace on the streets of Kampala.
“I used to collect scrap and fetch water for local residents so as to get a bite to eat. When darkness fell, I would look for a comfortable trench to spend the night,” a now grown up Walusimbi recalls.
After a while on the streets, Walusimbi met a good Samaritan, Bosco Ssegawa, who linked him up with MLISADA (Music, Life skills and Destitution Alleviation), a group that supports street children. It is then that he got the opportunity to join school until Senior Six.
Shortly after, a friend, Derrick Tebezinga, told him KiBO Foundation, a local Non-government organisation that supports destitute children.
“I visited KiBO and filled in the application forms,” recalls Walusimbi. “I was then advised to return for the interviews, which I did,” he recalls.
Walusimbi says he did not have even the slightest idea about any computer programme when he joined but after a four months training in ICT and leadership, he saw a better Walusimbi in himself than before.
“I could now comfortably use a computer and had acquired great leadership skills that I could pass on to my peers at MLISADA,” a visibly happy Walusimbi confesses.
With his new skills, Walusimbi was appointed as an administrator and managing director for MLISADA. He attributes this to the leadership, proposal and report writing skills he had acquired at KiBO Foundation.
“I was able to write resource mobilising proposals to organisations like UNICEF and this enabled us to receive grants that we used to meet the needs of over 250 vulnerable children not to mention the 35 children we reunited with their families,” Walusimbi explains.
Walusimbi later went on to attain a bachelor’s degree in Information and Communication Technology and also set up a soccer academy supporting 40 children in Nsambya-Kevina Zone, a Kampala suburb.
He has not stopped at that but also partnered with a friend to venture into music promotion and management of young children giving them a shot at music.
Another intriguing story is that of Moses Mutesasira, 29, who has never seen his biological parents.
He was brought up by his helpless maternal grandmother, Francesca Kiwuka. Although Kiwuka was a woman with a big heart, she was of very humble means.
She, therefore, struggled to send Mutesasira to school, but could not afford secondary school fees. So Mutesasira dropped out of school after Primary Seven.
Like Walusimbi, Mutesasira found himself on the streets of Kampala, a life characterised by pick-pocketing, selling drugs as well as other delinquent acts. He did this for a long time together with his clique of seven lads.
“I later met, Patrick Mawejje, who told me about KiBO Foundation and advised me to quit the risky life I was living,” Mutesasira says.
He quickly jumped on the opportunity and Mutesasira is today the proud proprietor of Miracle Destiny, a company engaged in garbage collection in the city.
“When I came I found that people here at KiBO were thinking differently from us on the streets and I admired them,” he recalls.
“Abraham (Temu), the co-founder of KiBO Foundation always told me to look around myself and find something that would help me change. It took me a long time to fathom this till I gave a shot at collecting garbage in his neighbourhood and that’s the line I pursued,” he explains.
About KiBO Foundation
The KiBO Foundation model was conceptualised in Canada in 2006 and implemented in Uganda in March 2007, according to one of the co-founder Abraham Temu.
The model works in the communities, primarily focusing on the unemployed youths and trying to empower them through technology. It emphasises computer literacy, leadership training as well as the aspect of community service in a bid to create a self-reliant generation.
It encourages professionalism in all its activities and is built on three guiding principles of commitment to work, service to the community and leadership in one’s sphere of influence.
Honesty, integrity and trust are the key values that everyone associated with the organisation rides on. This has seen many suburbs and schools in the city benefit from their Wednesday community service sessions.
“With the help of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), we identify communities that we visit every Wednesday and set up our mobile IT lab as well as doing general cleaning. We have also set up a greenhouse in Kisaasi,” Florence Mukasa, a retained KiBO alumnus explains.
Mukasa adds that they have 25 computers that they move with to the communities. “We are proud to have reached 35 communities last year alone,” she says.
KCCA spokesperson Peter Kawuju says: “KiBO foundation is our key partner in development as regards youth empowerment through providing training in various skills including ICT and leadership.
Together we have focused on youths because of their resourcefulness in their communities, especially during the fundraising drives for our charity works.”
KiBO Foundation has been able to directly train over 3,000 youth and 96% of their trainees have got employment, started own businesses or gone back to school.
The organisation has since been able to extend its services to Masaka, Mubende, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Hoima and Ntungamo districts through partnerships with organisations like KCCA, the UN Habitat for Humanity and the Infectious Diseases Institute.
What beneficiaries say about KiBO
Moses Mutesasira, 29
KiBO Foundation shaped my life. It changed me from the hopeless person I was to the entrepreneur I am today.
I am now responsible for other lives, thanks to the lessons learnt while at the organisation.
I hope to use the skills to grow my garbage collection business.
Florence Mukasa, 29
I was growing helpless after my university education since it took me long to get a job.
But with the help of KiBO Foundation, I was able to obtain job application writing skills that have helped me write better applications.
I was retained as an alumni and I am learning more by the day.
Richard Walusimbi, 29
I came to KiBO Foundation without any computer skills.
But within four months of ICT and leadership training, I was able to learn a lot that helped me proceed to do a bachelor’s degree.
I studied information technology and I am ayouth leader in my community.
Do you know any individual, company or organisation that is working to improve the lives of children in Uganda? Nominate them for the Tumaini Awards by downloading and filling in nomination forms from www.tumainiawards.com. Drop the nomination forms at the offices of any partnering organisations indicated in the Tumaini advert (Page 48) or send it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. All nominations must be in by May 16, 2014