Potentiam 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

The Fontes Career Day 2018

by Belinda Von Aesch on 20/06/2018 No comments

As part of our holistic education approach, Fontes organizes an annual Career Day event for the students of our youth centre and other community youth. The Career Day acts as a platform to connect Kampala businesses with talented out of school youth. For the students, the day presents a first chance to network and discover the opportunities available to them. For businesses it is a chance to discover young talent, provide mentorship, and promote their job openings.

The preparation for the event was incorporated into the students curriculum; the English course students learnt to prepare cover letters and CVs, the ICT course shared information about the event through social media, while the catering students prepared the food for the event. A capacity building session was held for Fontes students on how to optimize their CV when job searching. Additionally, the Career Day adds to the personal development of the students as they are forced to overcome shyness through approaching the companies directly and practicing their networking skills.

The Career Day took place at the Fontes Youth Centre. This allowed us to showcase the centre to the organisations in attendance while also being accessible to our students and the wider community. The day began with a breakfast prepared and served by the Fontes Catering Course students. For many of the catering students, this was their first experience of catering in a professional capacity for a large amount of people, allowing them to gain valuable practical food production experience as well as learning about the theoretical aspects such as calculating the cost of catering such an event. Needless to say the students impressed the attendees with their cookery and customer service skills.












The programme was kicked off with a speech from former Fontes student Cleophas Tumuhimbise. Cleophas talked about how he has successfully applied the knowledge and skills he gained at FYC to run his business. He was followed by Jonathan Ebuk, from KCCA, and Nicter Kaweesi, from the HR company People’s Performance Group, who gave advice on the job search, how to present and prepare oneself in interviews. With the conclusion of the speeches, the career fair began as students networked with the company representatives. The students walked around the company stalls, inquiring about the organisations and their job opportunities. To cap off the day, the Fontes Cultural Troupe held a splendid performance with dances from Western Uganda.

Overall, the 2018 Fontes Career Day was a success. A special thank you to all of the organisations who took part in this years event:

KCCA, Trade Lance, Prime Linkages, Refuge and Hope International, Mercy Corps Uganda, Pacino’s Restaurant, Staffable, Paramour Cosmetics, Roke Telkom, Goldway Ltd, and People’s Performance Group.

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Belinda Von AeschThe Fontes Career Day 2018

Scandals In Families at FYC

by Belinda Von Aesch on 04/06/2018 No comments

The Music, Dance, and Drama Team (MDD) was launched in 2012 as an additional way to engage local youth in the area. Since then the Troupe has overshot its original goal as they have developed into skilled performers. The troupe has reached such heights that from this year the troupe has professionalized and is moving towards an entirely self-sustaining unit, with the potential to generate a modest income for the performers.

Last Sunday 27.05.2018, the Fontes Cultural Troupe held a show titled “Scandals in Families” at the centre in Bunga. The performance was met with rave reviews by the audience. The play followed a wealthy Ugandan family and portrayed the complicated family relationships through various love entanglements. Additionally, the performance sensitized the audience to important community topics such as sexually transmitted diseases. Through role play the issue of HIV/Aids was shown and the importance of safe sex, frequent testing, and early treatment was discussed through the experience of the characters. The second half of the show consisted of dances from different regions in Uganda, acrobatics, and the performance of daring feats such as fire eating.

Fontes Cultural Troupe performs dances from Buganda, the Northern Region, and among others from the West Nile. The troupe is available for weddings and other events. To book the troupe for your next event contact Fontes today.

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Belinda Von AeschScandals In Families at FYC

Why Re-focusing the Education System is Key for Business Development and Investment in Uganda

by Lucrezia Biteete on 16/03/2018 No comments

On the 15th of February, New Vision, the country’s biggest newspaper, published an article to clarify the matters around the closing down of Bridge Academies in Uganda. Bridge is an investor and innovator in the education sector, and has gained much attention through its backing by Silicon Valley giants like the founder of Facebook, as well as its wholesale approach to cheap, private education in Africa.
I don’t know much about the details of the Bridge case in Uganda, but the article was an illustration of the crisis the education sector in Uganda is in. Below I add my own views and experiences, as well as clear ideas on how the education sector could be turned around to being the fuel for business development and growth in Uganda.

Life skills

After having spent more than 12 years working with people all over Africa, from poor rural communities to high tech private sector companies, it becomes more and more clear to me that the key to the development of a country is the development of its people. As much as African countries need infrastructure and services, only a population that is empowered and instructed will use its ingenuity to use this infrastructure for something productive. So many times I have seen a lack of education being a major inhibition for a community or a person to develop, despite goodwill and efforts by NGOs and donors. I mean education in a broader sense than what you learn in a classroom; the NGO lingo prefers to give it labels like “life skills”. Education understood in this way includes the basic understanding of cause and effect, sense of responsibility, consciousness of time and history, but in short: the skills needed to thrive and grow in a capitalist society. For Uganda is in a global village where development is measured through on capitalist indicators of growth, profit, efficiency and productivity.

Precisely in a capitalist economy, the power of education could have such a potential, especially in a country like Uganda. With one of the largest “young” populations in the world, Uganda should take its investment in the next generation seriously and even use this as a way of gaining a comparative advantage over its neighbouring countries. Uganda once used to have good schools and universities, Makerere University was lauded as one of the best on the continent. Unfortunately, short term thinking and the inability of government (for whatever reason) to accommodate innovation and foreign investors like Bridge will continue to result in a sluggish growth rate.

The paradox of unemployment and the skills gap in Uganda

Having worked for a private company in the IT and tech sector for the last four years, I have seen first-hand how the shortcomings of the education system have a crushing effect on economic and social development. The Norwegian IT company I work for, Laboremus, is out-sourcing software programming services to the Norwegian market. Demand for the services in Norway has been high, but the company has struggled to grow. One of the main reasons has been the tremendous effort it takes to train young and talented Ugandans to deliver software at an international level. On average, a very talented graduate needs two years at Laboremus before being able to work on European projects. Even after years of experience in Uganda I was taken aback by the inadequate level of education that Ugandan graduates get throughout the schooling system.

As Chairperson of the Nordic Business Association for two years, and frequently in forums with investors and entrepreneurs, my complaints are echoed by everyone: human resources issues are the biggest headaches and inhibitors for growth. This is a paradox in a country where Runemployment is high and competition for the few formal jobs is fierce. Everyone agrees that talent is abound in Uganda, but the skills given by the education system to translate this talent into productivity, reliability, professionalism, customer care and quality is terrifyingly absent. Focus on theoretical learning from early age, “cramming”, big classes with little interaction and a curriculum and pedagogic approach that punishes questioning, creativity, curiosity and play have a profound effect. Students are expected to sit down, be quiet, follow every wink of the teacher, learn everything by heart and then reproduce it in an exam. Yet as soon as these young people leave school or university, they face an employment market where employers value people who are problem solvers, team workers, have people skills, are innovative, entrepreneurial and so on.

In addition to fostering these important qualities, the curricula are also tremendously outdated. If at least all the cramming resulted in a solid theoretical foundation, our task as employers would be easier. Especially in the fast-moving (but increasingly important) IT sector this is flagrantly evident. As one of our employees put it: One day he entered the university class and the teacher wrote XHTML on the board. He had just started to teach himself HTML5. He walked out of that classroom and never turned back. Without a formal bachelor’s degree, he is one of our best programmers today. Generally, Laboremus does not hunt for talent in the software engineering or computer science departments at the universities, we instead focus on the engineering streams because this is where you find people with enough capabilities in math and abstract thinking. That in itself should say something about the adequacy of the curricula.

Early childhood education

Last but not least, the education system does not provide the nurturing that young people need to grow into mature, responsible and self-confident adults. This is often described by employers and teachers as a “poor attitude” in the youth today, and manifests itself through a lack of loyalty, lack of commitment, inability to take advantage of an opportunity and other poor habits like stealing, fraudulent practices and “corruption”. This all goes back to the adults that these young people grow up around.

Through my work with Fontes Foundation, we established a youth development centre where we try to primarily work on the “attitudes” of the youth to make them ready to be employed or become entrepreneurs. The programme includes personal development classes that work on people’s self-confidence, direction and interaction with others, a mentorship programme and a job-placement programme. In essence, we are trying to give the young people in six months what many of them did not get their entire childhood. At Laboremus, we work with many of the same issues with our university graduates, who have had a much more advantageous background than the disadvantaged youth in the Fontes programme.

In a country where a large majority of children come from rural households where the older generation only had limited education, more responsibility is put on the institutions to provide the youngsters with role models and adults that can provide career guidance, personal guidance and teach children all they need to know about their health, sexuality, relationships, talents and last but not least, strong values and culture. Yet children are taught in classes where there is no room or time to cater for individual development problems or needs, often (still) using cruel methods of discipline and by teachers who are more concerned about their own survival or the next PLE exam than developing each child into a successful adult.

The result of these deficiencies on both the part of the parents and the education system, is that employers are left with the burden of not only teaching their employees their trade, which most are willing to do, but also to provide guidance, personal development and communication skills. This takes time and a huge investment from the part of the employer, who is constantly faced with the risk of the employee leaving for greener pastures as soon as an opportunity with a slightly higher salary presents itself. Employers must also pay the employee a salary in the training period, during which the employee is not adding much value to the company. And on top of that, employers are taxed up to 43% of salaries (28% PAYE and 15% NSSF) to provide education and training that is ideally the responsibility of the government. Seen from this perspective, the poor results of the tertiary education system are in fact a socio-economic tragedy: young people spend three years of their most creative years but rarely recall more than experiments with alcohol, partying and sugar daddies from this time. Parents break their backs to pay for expensive university fees, often by selling cows and land or taking expensive loans. Yet after three years, after all this investment, the results are dismal.

The action plan

So what can be done to turn Uganda into a power house of innovation, entrepreneurship and agriculture; a middle-income country as put by the country’s president?

First and foremost, the country needs to control its explosive population growth by making family planning available to all women in the country, along with sufficient information to use it properly. This includes sensitisation of men and other family members, who often attempt control women’s fertility. Countries like Ethiopia have shown that it is possible to extend this even to remote rural societies. Rwanda can serve as a model in how to drastically reduce infant mortality and improve maternal health – these are also drivers of population growth. Once fewer children are born to the households that are already resource-strained, more focus can be put on the development of each child.

Secondly, more emphasis needs to be put on early childhood development. It is commendable that Government wants to make early childhood learning centres available, however, this is partly barking up the wrong tree. Most of the skills and knowledge pre-school children need is not related to reading and writing and should not be taught in classrooms. Mothers need guidance on how to foster the cognitive development of infants from an early stage. Remarkable research from the US shows that the number of words spoken to a child in its early years is a great predicting factor for later academic success. Through village health workers and other community initiatives, parents should be taught about the importance of unconditional love to nurture a self-confident child, basic health knowledge and how to stimulate children’s curiosity, willingness to learn and motoric capabilities long before they set foot in a school.

Third, the mammoth task of reforming an education system stuck in Britain in the 1950s needs to get underway. This will take years, a profound shift in attitudes and strong leadership from the top. One of the complaints about Bridge was that they take their teachers abroad for training. However, this is precisely what is needed: through seeking lessons and inspiration from other countries, Uganda has the unique opportunity to “leap-frog” much of the developed world and go straight into an approach that prepares the next generation for a world where robots compete with humans for jobs and subjects like IT and technology are key. Tech founder Jack Ma said at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018 that “If we don’t change the way we teach, in 30 years we will be in trouble [..] We need to teach something that is unique, [so] that a machine can never catch up with us”.

Educationalists worldwide agree that because of the speed at which technology advances, more emphasis must be put on giving the youth a solid foundation of concepts, principles, values and tools so that they can become “life-long learners”, instead of learning much content. This includes giving the youth the skills to research, filter and analyse information, abstract thinking, problem solving, concept development, visualisation and team work. At Laboremus, we already have workshops tackling all these subjects for our employees. This includes less focus on theoretic university education for success, but the integration of a vocational system which produces high quality technical professionals. Let’s focus more on what is delivered in the schools, and how to get out from the aid-dependency trap that has also ensnared the minds. Well-enlightened teachers and students will themselves find solutions to the absence of tap water or sanitary pads in the schools.

Low-hanging fruit

While the reform of the curricula and teaching methods gets underway, there are three low hanging fruits that the Government can use to its advantage to reap short term gains.

First, focus on the teachers. By drastically changing the way teachers are taught and restoring teaching as a prestigious profession, an impact will be felt already when these teachers set foot in their first classroom. The article had many critics of the way Bridge uses tablets to guide teachers through their lessons. While this might be a little rigid and maybe not a long term solution, it is an attempt to improve teaching at a scale that no government has until now achieved. E-learning has a great potential and there are plenty of start-ups and e-learning initiatives. However, our experience with Fontes shows that teachers and students are not able to take advantage of the vast resources on the Internet if they are not given basic skills in how to navigate this wealth of information, or how to successfully use e-learning as a teaching aide.

Secondly, use the private schools as pioneers and trailblazers. Uganda’s best schools are private and private education is a huge business. Yet surprisingly, most of these schools are still stuck in the old ways of teaching. A need to satisfy parents, who are the ones to pay the fees, could be one of the reasons why many of them prefer to have a “traditionalist” image. At the same time, these schools are better equipped and have more resources to effect changes quickly. Bring a few of them on board and take lessons from the growing number of international schools who are trying out different types of curricula and teaching methods. Give these schools the freedom to innovate around curricula and methodologies, and change the metrics to assess the performance of students to incentivize schools to focus on the skills that are needed in tomorrow’s world.

And third, don’t penalize the private sector for investing in training of their employees. Tax breaks for training periods, cheaper work permits for foreigners and cheaper business visas for experts would all support the tremendous efforts that employers are already making. This would have benefits that are two-fold: first, employers would be able to hire and train more employees (about double, in fact) if taxes were slashed on training periods. Even if only one ends up in formal employment, the second one will leave with valuable skills to use elsewhere in the economy. At Laboremus, we receive phone calls every day from students seeking internships. The last time we hired entry-level IT graduates, we received over 900 applications. We have tried different internships and trainee programmes, some even with donor support. But all turned out to be too expensive for the company to make commercial sense. Yet, without building a pipeline of new talent, Laboremus is in a catch-22 situation: without more developers we can’t make more money, but the developers take too much money to train.

Supporting the private sector in their training efforts would also attract much-needed foreign investors to set up shop and create employment in Uganda. Although the government is currently avoiding the Elephant in the room, soon youth unemployment will catch up with Uganda. Problems such as crime are already on the rise and Uganda is showing much slower economic growth than neighbouring countries. With such a huge young population, it is virtually impossible for all employment creation and growth to come from within, especially with a poorly educated population. Whether we want it or not, Uganda will need investors like Bridge to bring in foreign money and skills to create the jobs needed.

Photos: Fontes Foundation & Laboremus Uganda Ltd

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Lucrezia BiteeteWhy Re-focusing the Education System is Key for Business Development and Investment in Uganda

A New Home for Fontes Youth Centre

by Hellen Griberg on 06/12/2017 No comments

With our lease for the plot in Muyenga due this year, Fontes faced the challenge of finding a suitable location for our Youth Centre. Several factors were taken into account while searching for a new place, including dispelling myths associated with the Muyenga location. Some of the misconceptions were related to how the students perceived the area. Muyenga has become an affluent residential neighbourhood in recent years, and some of our students found this very intimidating. Secondly, access to the youth centre by public means was difficult, which meant that enrolment and attendance could be an issue.

To address these concerns, we made sure to look for areas that were densely populated and more accessible for disadvantaged youth. After an intense search and the consideration of several locations, we finally agreed that the new youth centre location would be at Bunga Soya, Kalungu, on Soya Factory Road off Ggaba Road. As of July 2017, we moved into our new Youth Centre.

While moving to the new location, we faced a few challenges along the way. The main ones include:

  1. The natural water drainage system was a bit of a problem due to the location having many streams running through it. This made the construction process much harder and drove the cost higher than the initially planned amount as stated in the budget.
  2. Reconnection to the utility service provider was a big challenge with most of the processes marred by bureaucracy and unforeseen delays. Because of this, some of the start times for different courses were delayed and in turn caused attrition and fluctuation when it came to the number of students in the new course.
  3. Being that the location is a new one, the number of students is low. Vigorous mobilisation campaigns are being carried out to ensure that with the new site that the numbers of students accessing the course are much more higher.

As we get settled into the new location, we are overcoming these setbacks, and the community awareness of the youth centre becomes more pronounced. We look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of the youth of Uganda.

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Hellen GribergA New Home for Fontes Youth Centre

Spotlight: FK Participant Serge Iradukunda

by Hellen Griberg on 23/10/2017 No comments

For the past 6 months Fontes Foundation has been lucky to have Serge Iradukunda from Rwanda working for us as part of his FK exchange programme. Before joining the programme, Serge worked as an Administrative and Finance Assistant at Amizero Institute of Technology and Hospitality (AMITH) in Eastern Province of Rwanda. I sat down with Serge last week to talk about his experience of joining the FK exchange programme and working for Fontes Foundation.

What made you decide to participate in the FK exchange programme?
I decided to join the exchange programme because I wanted to experience a new culture, improve my English language skills, expand my social circle and gain work experience abroad.

How was it to work for Fontes Foundation?
I really enjoyed working in a friendly and different environment with wonderful colleagues from all over the world. During my period at Fontes Foundation I have been involved in various activities, including organising capacity building workshops and events, planning and coordinating outreach activities in different areas of Kampala, organising Fontes first ever career day, which was a great success, and teaching at Fontes Youth Centre. What I like about Fontes is that the organisation offers personal growth and development opportunities during the programme as well as the chance to learn how to think outside the box.

What is your best memory you have from your time with Fontes Foundation?
I really enjoyed teaching at Fontes Youth Centre in accountancy. The students were great and I liked the way they were interested in the subjects I taught and asking challenging and sometimes funny questions about financial accounting and accounting principles.

What will you take away from your experience?
This 6-month exchange programme has been an experience I will never forget. My time at Fontes has been a learning experience, both personal and professional. It has shaped me as a person and I have gained new skills and knowledge that I would not have had if I had not participated in this programme. Thanks to this programme, I have grown as a person.

Fontes Foundation would like to thank Serge for his contribution to the team, and wish him best of luck in his future endeavours.

FK Norway is a Norwegian Government agency working to promote international and mutual learning. About 600 participants go on exchange each year through partners in Norway and countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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Hellen GribergSpotlight: FK Participant Serge Iradukunda

Following up with our most recent Job Placement Programme (JPP) students

by Rebecca Grattage on 03/10/2017 No comments

Fontes Foundation aims to support graduates of the Fontes Youth Development Centre in starting their professional careers. We therefore partner with companies across different sectors that are willing to work with Kampala’s youth.The Job Placement Programme (JPP) helps graduates conduct internships at one of our partner companies for three months, where they apply their newly developed skills in a practical setting. After the internships, students will either be taken on full time by their current employers, find a new position or use their expertise to start their own micro-startups.

In order to insure that the JPP functions smoothly, we stay in touch with both employers and employees during and after the internship to assist in the successful implementation of the agreement. Last week, we went to visit Joan Nasaali and Sharon Kemirembe, who both graduated from Fontes Youth Development Centre (FYC) in June 2017 and both recently started working as waitresses at Vika Restaurant in Kampala. They both explained how they are already applying the skills they honed at FYC – especially public speaking skills and improved personal confidence, which they say help them as waitresses.

Joan and Sharon at their new workplace

For Sharon, this internship is perfectly in line with her future dreams: to set up her own restaurant. She hopes that the skills she gains during her time as a waitress, in addition to the business skills she acquired during her time at FYC, will help her in progressing to achieve her goal. Joan also plans on setting up her own business, but her passion is in tailoring and fashion, so after gaining work experience using the Fontes JPP, she plans to set up her own business.

Joan and Sharon showing off their new work uniforms.

Fontes Foundation will continue to follow up with the FYC graduates and their employers to make sure that everyone is happy with the programme. Fontes Foundation typically follows up with students for at least 2 years with continuous mentorship and guidance. Further support is offered by the Alumni Organisation through networking opportunities and business development services.

Vika Restaurant, Ggaba Road, Kampala

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Rebecca GrattageFollowing up with our most recent Job Placement Programme (JPP) students

SMP Hairdressing Exam at Fontes Youth Centre

by Rebecca Grattage on 03/10/2017 No comments

In September, the Fontes Youth Centre’s Single Mothers’ Programme (SMP) students had their end-of-course hairdressing exam. SMP was designed to support single mothers in setting up microbusinesses in hair-dressing, baking, beadwork, soap making and several other different trades with an aim to create an alternative income to sustain the mothers and their children. These microbusinesses would then help them provide for themselves and their families and escape the cycle of poverty.

The Single Mothers’ Programme has trained to date over 100 women. In addition to the training, child minder services are provided for the women to be able to attend the sessions without being interrupted by their children. Over 50 children have come to Fontes Youth Development Centre with their mothers since the program started 4 years ago. The trainings take approximately 12 weeks and are divided into 4 sessions per month, taking place every Monday.

SMP students braiding hair.

During the last couple of months, the students have been learning different hairdressing techniques with hair and beauty expert Robina Makula of Makula Beauty salon in Kalerwe. On examination day, the students worked in groups to complete a variety of hairstyles, including traditional braids and twists, weaves, chemical treatment and more. The students implemented the complete hairdressing procedure – from taking out the old hairstyle, to washing the hair, drying it, combing it, braiding it and for some models, sewing in a weave.


Work in progress – twists.

The hairdressing expert and examiner Ms. Makula was thrilled with the results; all of the hairstyles were done to a professional level, and the models were delighted with their new hair-dos! The women will continue to practice and perfect their skills, with many hoping to set up their own hair salons and/or beauty businesses in the future.

Braiding the hair reading to sew in a weave.

A very big well done to our hardworking SMP students!

SMP students happy after passing their exam.

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Rebecca GrattageSMP Hairdressing Exam at Fontes Youth Centre

Addiction awareness-raising at Fontes Youth Centre

by Rebecca Grattage on 03/10/2017 No comments

On Friday 22nd September Fontes Foundation welcomed Bill Bekunda – an addiction recovery coach – to the Youth Centre to talk to our Core Course students about addictions and his personal struggle with alcohol addiction. Bill is now a recovering alcoholic and helps people in the process of recovery from substance abuse and alcoholism.

Bill Bekunda speaking to Fontes Youth Centre students.

Bill gave a detailed account of his life- and his struggles with alcohol addiction over a period of roughly 16 years (15- 31 years old). He was first introduced to alcohol at the tender age of 14 after giving in to class mates’ peer-pressure.  Bill described the burning effect of the alcohol and how it made him happy and confident, as the alcohol overpowered his senses.

That moment was the beginning of a very long journey for Bill.

Bill explained that alcohol is a depressant and it mimics what dopamine does in the brain. Alcohol triggers the release of dopamine, which should be released naturally through natural pleasures.Once Bill was addicted to the feeling alcohol triggered, he would do anything he could to have more and feel the effects of alcohol again and again.

Through his story, Bill explained the dangers of alcohol, describing how it interrupts thinking capacity and normal bodily functions, effecting reasoning judgement and emotions. Involuntary actions such as the heartbeat, breathing and digestion are all slowed down by alcohol.

Bill Bekunda speaking to Fontes Youth Centre students.

Bell Bekunda referenced statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO): 10% of the world’s population are likely to get addicted to substances because some people’s brains are structured to like alcohol. 40% of anyone who starts using alcohol under the age of 15 is likely to become an addict, 80% of those who get a problem become drug addicts, and 38% of those people go on to use crack cocaine.

Bill summarised his talk by explaining to the students that it is important to understand the dangers of alcohol and to realise that you never need alcohol. Peer pressure is dangerous not only to children, but to adults too, and alcohol can become a habit and then an addiction. If you ever use alcohol against spiritual, economic, social, physical or mental needs, it can become a danger to your wellbeing.

If you are interested in learning more about Bill Bekunda’s work with addiction recovery in Uganda, or to donate to his on-going work to achieve an #addictionfreeUG, please contact him on:


Bill Bekunda +256 (0) 782 031 223

And follow the hashtags #addictionfreeUG #StopUnderageDrinkingUganda

Fontes Youth Centre students and staff with Bill after his talk.

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Rebecca GrattageAddiction awareness-raising at Fontes Youth Centre

Fontes Cultural Troupe explores Uganda’s cultures in performance

by Rebecca Grattage on 03/10/2017 No comments

On 24.09.17, Fontes Cultural Troupe performed at the new Youth Centre site located near Ggaba Road in Bunga, Kampala with their event “Explore Uganda’s Cultures.” The event attracted a lot of visitors, all keen to see the variety of dances, singing, acrobatics and fire show that the Cultural Troupe had to offer.

Members of the audience watching the show

Since the launch of Fontes Foundation’s Youth Development Centre in 2012, we have been organising recreational activities open to the entire local community. With the founding of Fontes Cultural Troupe we sought to engage with the local community and learn more about the challenges people face.  Additionally, we aimed to extend our reach and spread the word about the education opportunities we offer.

An acrobatics performance

Fontes Cultural Troupe performs modern and traditional dances from many cultures in Uganda, with cultural music, mimes, drama, instrumental music, and fire performance.The Troupe uses a variety of instruments including drums, adungu, xylophone, shakers, panpipes and other percussion instruments and currently has 20+ members, aged between 8 and 35 years old.

One of the dance performances by Fontes Cultural Troupe

The Troupe activities allow a variety of people to come together and share the beauty of dance and music together.They perform at many events, including weddings, birthday parties, introduction ceremonies, general festivities, and more. 

Fontes Cultural Troupe dancing

Fontes Cultural Troupe’s “Explore Uganda’s Cultures” event did not disappoint, and left audience members gripped to their seats throughout the performance. The Troupe alternated between dance, song, acrobatics and fire performance to keep the show varied and fun.

Watching a member of the Troupe eat fire.

A concrete business plan is currently being compiled for Fontes Cultural Troupe to be self-sustainable. With the growing tourism industry in Uganda, it bears the potential of offering additional sources of income to the members.



Fontes Cultural Troupe dancing


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Rebecca GrattageFontes Cultural Troupe explores Uganda’s cultures in performance