August 2018

All posts from August 2018

Graduation at Fontes Youth Centre

by Anbjorg Tovsrud on 20/08/2018 No comments

The Fontes Foundation Youth Centre graduation took place on Friday 9 August. 70 students graduated, after having finalized either the core course in applied business skills, the catering course, or one of the short courses in English or ICT.

These courses constitute a central part of Fontes Foundation’s activities. They take place at the Fontes Foundation Youth Centre, and target youth from the local community. The overall aims of the courses are to equip the students with both practical and soft skills, and to empower them to enter the job market or to start a small business.

Among the Ugandan youth, there is a high demand for courses offering practical skills. However, Fontes Foundation has identified that a more holistic approach is needed in order to equip the students for the future as either business owners or successful employees. The courses are responding to a dire need in Ugandan society, with every second person being below the age of 15, and a youth unemployment rate of 32.2 %.

The six-month core course in applied business skills also included classes in English, ICT, and personal development. Towards the end of the course, each student prepared a business plan. Students wishing to establish their own business could therefore develop their real-life business ideas as a part of the course, thus being able to benefit from guidance from the facilitators. In the business plans, the students developed their ideas, performed a market analysis, and examined the financial and personnel related aspects of their businesses. This has given the students a concrete starting point for the setting up of their businesses.

Graduates with catering facilitator Julius

A variety of business plans were developed, ranging from establishing a farm to writing plays for the movie industry. Here are two examples:

A rabbit farm

The idea of establishing a rabbit farm has come to the surface through a careful examination of various aspects of the market; such as high-end restaurants and hotels that serve rabbits on their menus, schools that would like to teach their students about rabbit keeping, and people who would like to keep rabbits as pets. The student has identified that this is a growing market. He has already partnered with a friend that has experience with rabbits. Adding in his own skills learned at the course, many of the needed competencies will be covered.

A traditional Ugandan cultural troupe

One of the students is planning to start up a dance troupe that can entertain at various events, such as weddings and corporate parties. She has identified that, although the competition is fierce, most of the other dance troupes in her area are only dancing one type of dance. This dance troupe will be performing a variety of dances, and she believe they will reach out to a bigger market this way.  Once they have become an established troupe, a long-term goal is to do shows that helps raise money for the needy, thus adding a layer of social responsibility to the business idea.

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Anbjorg TovsrudGraduation at Fontes Youth Centre

The Fontes Catering Course from a Facilitator’s and Student’s Perspective

by Belinda Von Aesch on 06/08/2018 No comments

The art of eating is continuously being changed by a number of professional and creative chefs, which has in turn increased the demand for excellent services in food production. This trend was concretised by the management of Fontes Foundation through the launch of the catering course on the 5th of February 2018. This course aims to benefit the single mothers and youth of the local community.

As an Fredskorpset (FK) exchange participant, I am privileged to be in charge of the catering course at the Youth Centre. On the FK exchange I have not only gained skills and new experiences but I have also been able to share these experiences and skills with the youth of FYC. I am on exchange from AMIZERO institute in Rwanda. The exchange aims to share experiences and best practices between the two institutions. This exchange is between the Amizero Institute of Technology and Hospitality in Rwanda and Fontes Foundation Uganda.

Since the introduction of the catering course, a number of single mothers and youth have enrolled. Through the course, they have gained cooking skills which now can be applied in any hospitality business, thus enabling them to earn a living. The first intake started on the 5th of February 2018 and ended on the 5th of July 2018. A industry attachment will follow, giving the students the opportunity to add expert practical experience to their skills acquired at the Youth Centre.

Eve Nakito

“Catering is a course that teaches someone how to cook or prepare different types of dishes. Thanks to Fontes, we have been able to take part in this course giving us the opportunity to become chefs in hotels and restaurants or even be self employed. The benefit of such a course is that it is easy to start and begin to earn a living, as all you need are the necessary skills. Through this course, many from outside and within the Bunga area have been able to improve on our standards of living. We are now capable of setting up small pastry and snack businesses as we now have the required skills to do so. Catering businesses have low start-up costs, meaning that capital is not the main challenge as in other businesses. Previously I had the capital but not the skills to start my own business, now thanks to Fontes I can begin my own catering business. Additionally, through the certificates which we will receive on successfully completing the course, we will be able to find jobs in already established restaurants and hotels. Many of us also hope to begin our own restaurants.”

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Belinda Von AeschThe Fontes Catering Course from a Facilitator’s and Student’s Perspective

Student Job Placement Updates

by Belinda Von Aesch on 06/08/2018 No comments

The Job Placement Programme (JPP) was launched in January 2017 and places Fontes Youth Centre graduates with businesses who are looking for trained local talent trained. As the Catering Course curriculum includes an industrial attachment, the students are being placed with restaurants and hotels around Kampala to complete their training. Two of the placed students are Christine Mukonda and Sam Mugisha. They have been placed at Pachino’s restaurant where the manager was so pleased with their performance that he hired both of them just one week into their internship. Together Christine and Sam have developed a new menu for the restaurant including the new very popular ‘Three Little Pigs Burger’.

The JPP Coordinator Gary Agaba checking on the students at their placement

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Belinda Von AeschStudent Job Placement Updates

Farewell from Apiyo

by Belinda Von Aesch on 06/08/2018 No comments

I started out at Fontes Foundation as a Youth Programme Coordinator in January 2013 following the inception of the Youth Programme and Youth Centre in July 2012. Before that I worked with Mara Foundation Uganda running a mentoring programme and incubation space for young entrepreneurs who were mainly University graduates. What intrigued me about Fontes Foundation at the time was two things;

1. The target group
2. Their unique approach to solving unemployment issues affecting youth in Uganda today.

Fontes Foundation targeted out-ofschool youth, most of whom had dropped out in early secondary school due to a plethora of reasons including; lack of finances to continue with school, early teenage pregnancies and a lack of interest in the formal education system. Having worked with a more privileged group of University graduates with fancy start-up ideas backed by a formal education, I was intrigued to see how youth who didn’t have the same opportunities could be transformed and also prosper. It seemed like an uphill task but the rewards also appeared greater in terms of transformation gaps.

Fontes Foundation also has the unique approach of working to transform attitudes and providing soft skills which are ignored or down played by other organisations. Soft skills are not as easily measurable as the hard skills and takes time also to realise tangible changes in the beneficiaries. Fontes designed a Personal Development course aimed at promoting problems solving analytical skills, logical thinking and assisting students in thinking outside the box and being open minded. At the time I joined, the facilitator for this course was a chain smoking, atheist, Dutch hippie who pushed the envelope just by being different from what the students were normally used to. He challenged them to accept other beliefs, to read widely and not limit themselves to what was familiar. Having been nurtured by the same flawed formal education system that this country has, I was curious to see what a different approach could do to change the mind-set of the youth we were working with.

For almost 6 years now I have been at the helm of this transformation, watching some students excel to unexpected heights and others well, not so much. Realising that transformation cannot be pegged to one thing but an amalgam of influences. I have learnt in practice the difference between teaching and facilitating. I have learnt what it is like to encourage without imposing and achieve excellent results.

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Belinda Von AeschFarewell from Apiyo