Last Friday Linda Newton, adjunct professor Carleton University and Civil Engineer, arrived ready to initiate a series of business planning workshops with our graduates and older youth. Linda and her husband Keith Laughton have been to Kamengo a number of times including spending Christmas here last year with their grown children and partners to oversee the construction of a full-sized basketball courts built through a USA group “Courts for Kids”.
This visit Linda has designed a series of workshops to help our graduates and older students to collectively plan for potential sustainable business projects. One of our growing challenges at AZBGC is that while we are successful in supporting students through primary and secondary school and some through vocational college and university, there are very few opportunities following graduation. We have some very smart young men and women with university degrees and college diplomas but no jobs available in the village nor in Kampala.
So, the goal in these two weeks under Linda’s leadership is to identify some potential sustainable businesses and together bring our skills to bear on developing business plans to submit to the Ottawa AZBGC committee.
Monday started with a bang – 13 youth, notebooks and pens in hand, ready to put their heads together. We began by brainstorming all the potential businesses and then each member "voted" for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice to enable us to identify the four most popular potential business projects.
· The group identified:
Growing crops / food
· Raising animals (goats, rabbits)
· Ecotourism – a village experience
· Event supplies – tents, chairs, sound systems etc.
We split into four groups with each group taking responsibility to drill down and do some further research on one of the projects. Next we introduced the group to mind mapping exercise where they would identify: costs, resources, risks and markets for their project and also did an overview of using the internet for research.
The youth are really engaged in these activities – we think part of this is their sense of ownership in shaping the future of AZBGC. By the end of next week, we hope to be able to take 4 draft business plan proposals back to the Ottawa committee.
In the evening Hunter and Linda used my facebook account to show the youth the different ways of keeping their phones and accounts private. While many of the youth have used cell phones and facebook accounts none of them seemed aware of the need for security and privacy measures on their accounts.