Highlights of the month
- Gulu PWDs Electronic and other members of Gulu Wheelchair Basketball Team took part in a National Sport Gala for Persons with Disabilities organized by Uganda Paralympic Committee and won! See this earlier post.
- Members taking part in ETC@GDPU report significant increase in income as a result of their training
- An in-depth Reflection Meeting will really help us all evaluate what has worked in the pilot project, and what has not, and where to go from here.
Skills Training Report
The ETC@GDPU project officer followed up recent trainings in Omoro and Gulu, to ensure that the pilot business enterprises are building their capacities in areas such as:
- Business plan development,
- Skills training
- Conflict management and resolution.
The youth are now actively participating in the training programme and 75% are reporting that their levels of income are increasing because:
- Their area of coverage has increased
- They can now repair more things compared to when they started project.
The training program is running up to the end of October and the GDPU project officer is following up to ensure that they are getting the required skills and that relevant knowledge is imparted
Hairdressing at Acet
Five members of Nyeko Rac Hairdressing and Salon at Acet Centre are trained in areas they need. These are:
- pencil plaiting
- styling and twisting hair
- dread locks
- free hand.
Savings are being made among members of Nyeko Rach hairdressing,
Conflicts are being resolved among members
- Some materials for hairdressing are now available at Nyeko Rac Hair Beauty Salon at Acet, although lack of material for weaves, chemicals etc
Gulu Pwds Electronic
The ETC@GDPU project officer has reported before about difficulties with Gulu PWDs, their lack of cohesion as a group, their disinterest in saving money and in training for anything but phone repair.
Training is going on for two months from 11th September to 19th November 2017, aimed at addressing problems areas where they feel they face difficulties:
- Discovered the use of charcoal stove for soldering gargets such as Radio, TV, phones etc
- Changing/repair of mouth piece, charging system and screens
- Discovered the alternative for Blower Machine by using candle when there is no electricity
- The training program was affected by the National Sports Gala which took place from 25th to 30th September 2017.
- Village savings and loan association (VSLA) is not active among Gulu PWDS electronics members although they attended training for VSLA
- Business location for PWD electronic is neither favourable or easily accessible, it is hard for them to keep customers appliances because they operate their business in a corridor.
- Some phones are complicated to repair, spare parts are not available for most bought in the area, especially Chinese phones.
- Unlike their business competitors they lack software to unlock phones
- Business is not growing for electronics
- Limited knowledge and skills on other electronic appliances such TV, Radio, DVD players, Smart Phones and Amplifiers
- Customer demand lower prices than are viable
Radio repair is doing well for Akera Robert, Rubanga Na Electronics business plan was successfully developed and completed by Akera Robert and GDPU project officer
- Security for his place of work is still an issue, Akera Robert still operates under the veranda
Knitting and Sweater Weaving
Sweater weaving is doing well, they get contracts from schools and local community members. Support training is aimed at improving their quality of work and building customers trust, training area for knitting is:
- joining using sewing machine
- making V shape sweater
- designing sweaters.
- High-level absenteeism from the instructor for knitting and sweater weaving might be affecting the positive development of the programme.
- Customers take long to pick their items
- Customer demand lower prices than are viable
Conducted by GDPU project officer and ETC and Project Coordinator GDPU to check on the impact of ETC project in Gulu and Omoro District.
What has worked?
The local community attitude towards PWDs is that they are best known for leather work. Yet as this and the YDP proved, they are able to do other income generating activities such hairdressing, motorcycle repair, electronic repair and maintenance.
- Skills training has improved the ‘offer’ of all the business groups
- Active in repair of electronic gadgets, hairdressing and sweater weaving, i.e. businesses are growing although some are slower than others.
- Record keeping is now observed in all enterprises, learnt how to balance books of account because of financial literacy received during the ETC project.
- Learnt to communicate effectively with customers, most of the youth enterprise members had bad communication skills that made them lose customers but the capacity building trainings offered by the ETC@GDPU project has improved this aspect.
- Learnt how to deal with large number of customers, greatly improved customer services by use of first come first serve.
Challenges: Solutions and the Way Forward
The reported rise in members incomes is very welcome, how can we continue this increase? Which parts of the programme are working and what do we need to do to improve them as part of the pilot programme and for future programme planning? Diversification and widening the ‘offer’ of each group, further investigation into sources of investment and increasing the self-confidence of members could all play a part. As could:
- Linking the enterprise to other service providers available in their location
- Having a by law on mandatory savings
- Inclusion saving for disabled and non-disabled
- Continuous follow-up and support from GDPU project staff
- Further tailor-made refresher training in specific areas e.g. Repair of modern phones, TV radio etc
- More advertising using posters
- Enterprise members to carry out market survey to check on the prices of commodities and services to be comparable with other enterprises and avoid over pricing.
Apologies for the late posting of this months news, also we (the UK founders of ETC@GDPU) had hoped to be flying out to Gulu at the end of this month to discuss and evaluate the pilot phase and how to move on to the full project. Sadly, Mark was involved in a motorbike accident in the UK just weeks before departure. Although he will be OK his mobility is restricted for a few months. Ironically Mark clocked up 12,000 kilometres on a motorbike around Gulu and district with only a few bumps and scrapes, riding in the UK is far more dangerous. If you are a car driver, please look properly before you pull out of a side road! However we hope to carry on the project development by Skype in the next few months and return to Gulu in February.