The Trip to Change East Africa

On the night of 9th January we took a bus from Kampala to Kigali in Rwanda. This would be the first of many border crossing as we embarked on what we knew would be the biggest adventure of our life. We would be travelling only the two of us, on a shoestring budget and with no professional support: no camera crew following in giant cars. It was just the two of us against the world.

We embarked on this journey for many reasons: to reach out to as many youths led organization in East Africa as we could. We wanted to find other young people who, like us, want to change East Africa. We wanted to demonstrate to the outside world the power of East African youth to create change.

Rwanda is one of the coolest and most hospitable nation in the world. On reaching Kigali, we were treated like honoured guests by everybody we met.

While in Rwanda, we visited a number of organizations like; AKWOS, this empowers East African women through sports and here we met with the Executive Director Mrs. Felicite Rwemarika and brainstormed on how more young people can be empowered to be the agents of change in their communities. Mrs. Felicite showed interest in starting doing slum run in Kigali and willing to work with us to make this happen starting this year 2016.

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Meeting up with Mrs. Felicite Rwemarika

And then there is a Youth Entrepreneurship Chamber that helps young entrepreneurs by providing them all the resources they might need to foster their business ideas and providing them with market knowledge. Here we challenged the committee members to start empowering their members to start running social enterprises and explained to them how this is beneficial both the community and their personal development.

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Having a chat with the Youth Entrepreneurship Chamber Chief Executive Officer

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Exchange ideas with the Rwandese Got Talent members on how we can develop youths talents in East Africa.

After Rwanda, we set off to Tanzania, which became our first stumbling block. We thought it would take us only a day to travel from Kigali, Rwanda to Bukoba in Tanzania because Tanzanian authorities do not all night travels and so we had to spend a night at Kahama town so that we catch the early bus the next morning all the way to Bukoba.

While in Bukoba we got a chance of being interviewed by the young reporters of Bukoba on what could John Pombe Magufuli do to encourage more social entrepreneurs as the newly elected president of the Republic of Tanzania when we had just finished our session at the youth hall.

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Francis talking about the methodology of creating change.

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Being interviewed by the Mwanza young reporters.

We did not spend much time in Bukoba as we had to catch up the ferry to Mwanza that docks in only thrice a week and it was its last shift of the week. We travelled over night on ferry to Mwanza.

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Live on the waves of Metro FM Mwanza

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At the Watoto Na Vijana offices, an organization that was started and run by youths. We were privileged to how they run their organization and also to do activities with their members.

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At Uhuru Elimentary School of Mwanza

When entering Tanzania, our stay was shortened by the border officials and we were only given one week and so we had to replan our itinerary. We left out some places that we had on our first itinerary like Arusha and Kilimanjaro. That meant we had travel all the way from Mwanza to Nairobi spending 15 hours on the road. Reaching the Tanzania Kenya border, we were defrauded by the money exchange agents as all the Kenyan money notes look the same with Jomo Kenyatta portrait on them. We were given 100 notes instead of 1000 notes. It was the worst and most frustrating part of our journey.

We did not do much in Nairobi as it was our place of resting not until we reached in Eldoret.

While in Eldoret we visited a good number of youths organizations learnt from our fellow youths on how young people manage and run their own social organization. One of the organizations we visited in Eldoret was the Eldoret Global Youth Group that mentors youths from vulnerable backgrounds and train them in various fields like entrepreneurship, ICT, and other programs. Even though they do not any of the resources they use but they manage to run their projects successfully.

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Meeting up with some of the Eldoret Global Youth Group members.

From Eldoret we went to Mbale back to Uganda where we visited Elgon Youth Development Centre an organization that was started as a result of the appalling poverty stuation in among Ugandan youths that led to a rise crime rates and substance abuse, among others. Here they do work with the youths various programs like Creative Recycling where they collect wasted plastics and transform them into fashionable bags. They also have programs in Music and art, Farming, Entreprenuership and many other programs.

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Somewhere around Mubiyi one of the major peaks of Mt. Elgon

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A selfie with some of the people we found at the org offices.

From there we went to Bududa, again still in Eastern Uganda to visit the Bududa Youth Development Association, and from there we headed back to Kampala.

I would like to thank everyone that sponsored us. Your support opened many new opportunities for us and helped develop our social entrpreneurship skills. And we are looking forward to be doing such trips in the near by future.

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