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Fontes is looking for a new Youth Center Manager!

by Fontes Foundation on 01/09/2020 No comments

…Do you want to grow your leadership and team-building skills?

…Do you want to make a real impact on reducing youth unemployment in Uganda?

…Do you want to take the Fontes Youth Centre to the next level and move towards a social enterprise model?

…Do you want to work with passionate and committed individuals in an international network?

…Do you like to be creative, innovative and see things happen?

Then you might be the one we are looking for!

Fontes Foundation is looking for a highly reliable, responsible and motivated person with a strong interest in youth empowerment. He/she must present excellent organisation skills as well as great interpersonal skills.

The Youth Centre Manager is responsible for the overall management of the Fontes Youth Centre (http://fontes.no/foundation/fontes-youth-development-centre/) including all the projects as well as its staff. This includes financial management (accountability, budgeting), project management (planning, implementation and reporting), public and stakeholder relations.

Application deadline: 30.09.2020

About Fontes Foundation

Fontes Foundation Uganda is the executing arm of Fontes Foundation, registered in Norway. Fontes Foundation has been active in Uganda since 2003 and started out in the water sector where we trained community groups in basic business management so they could manage their small piped water schemes. Since 2012 Fontes has been active in youth empowerment, mainly through a youth centre in Bunga (Kampala) providing skills to disadvantaged youth. Since 2019 Fontes is a partner in Refactory, an innovative skilling programme for youth interested in a tech career. Refactory and the Youth Centre are currently the main two projects at Fontes Foundation, which consists of a small team at the head office (3-4 staff) as well as 12-15 staff at the youth centre (most are part-time facilitators).

The Youth Centre Manager reports to the Director of Fontes Foundation Uganda. The Youth Centre Manager will receive coaching and continuous follow up from the Director.

Starting salary: UGX 1.7 – 2M  Net Pay

Responsibilities

  • Supervise support staff and facilitators and make sure they perform according to terms of references, contracts and code of conduct.
  • Be responsible for the daily running of the centre.
  • Ensure quality control and make sure facilitators implement curricula and provide quality services.
  • Provide input to project planning, development and fundraising and give ideas for future project extensions.
  • Keep good working relations with local leaders and authorities and keep them informed about the project.
  • Implement monitoring and evaluation and ensure data is collected in a timely manner.
  • Manage the curriculum development process.
  • Carry out any other assignment as may be requested by the Fontes Foundation management.
  • Ensure professional communication to students, stakeholders and staff, and build brand recognition in the community
  • Ensure our services are known to the local youth and that we have sufficient students attending our offerings. Continuously improve strategies and methods to reach more youth.

Skills and experience

Minimum of 2-3 years of work experience.

  • Experience in working in effective teams.
  • Experience in execution of projects and project activities.
  • Passionate about reducing youth unemployment in Uganda.
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal).  Good command of Luganda is an advantage.
  • Organized and able to follow through and prioritize tasks.
  • Self-starter who takes initiatives and sees opportunities.
  • Experience from the education sector is an added advantage.
  • Experience with financial management such as project accounts, budgets, financial planning and financial reporting is an added advantage.

Applications are closed.

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Fontes FoundationFontes is looking for a new Youth Center Manager!

Commercial Kitchen

by Ryan Humbert on 19/12/2019 No comments

Lions Club, Aid in Meeting Norway (AiM) and Fontes Foundation have been able to achieve a lot within a short amount of time and with limited resources, with the construction of a new commercial kitchen at Fontes Youth Centre (FYC). The main aim of this project was to have a fully furnished kitchen to further facilitate the already existing Business Catering course, as well as to provide FYC with an opportunity to have a source of income through clients and students paying to use the kitchen for their activities.

The construction commenced in October and, as of December, the kitchen is being used on a daily basis. This December, a representative from AIM visited FYC, and was impressed to see how the current students have already started to put the kitchen to great use as they were completing their final practical exam.

While the kitchen was being constructed, job opportunities were also being created for graduates of the FYC Business catering courses. Former Business catering course graduates were given an opportunity to pitch as service providers for breakfast at Clarke International University (CIU) in Muyenga. The students made a sample breakfast with a variety of snacks for their prospective customers at Clarke International University (CIU), who were very happy with the products. The students have since signed an official contract to supply breakfast at CIU/Refactory every week day between 8 – 11am and are therefore now receiving a steady weekly income. These former students are now also using the Commercial Kitchen daily to prepare the breakfast for CIU.

The Commercial Kitchen is changing the experience of students as well as former students of the Fontes Youth Centre. Moreover, the Business catering course has started creating job opportunities for (former) students, thereby addressing the problem of youth unemployment in Uganda – one of the main goals of Fontes Foundation Uganda.

Thanks to both current and former students, the Commercial Kitchen has already enabled our very own staff to enjoy a great dinner during our annual Fontes Christmas party – we recommend it to everyone!

Thank You, Lions Club Aid In Meeting Norway.

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Ryan HumbertCommercial Kitchen

New water pumps

by Ryan Humbert on 19/12/2019 No comments

Fontes’ water systems in Western Uganda continue to provide safe drinking water to approximately 15,000 people in five different villages. On top of that, we are very proud that both of our field staff members in Western Uganda, Pascal and Cleophas, are former Fontes scholarship students. Having been provided with the opportunity to go through secondary education by one of Fontes’ donors, they are now able to give back to their communities. They follow up the water systems on a regular basis, encourage and train the water committees and report on technical challenges.

Once a water system is up and running, Fontes mainly focuses on training and follow up. In 2019, Fontes was able to carry out two main training seminars. During these events, we gather water committees and technicians from the villages and go through material such as how to ensure good maintenance, how to do basic accounting and how to sensitise the community on the importance of safe drinking water. Since all the committee members are working on a voluntary basis, they tend to rotate. It is therefore extremely important that these trainings take place on a regular basis. The technicians trained all come from the villages, and most of them have not had any schooling beyond primary education. Still, they are eager to learn and they enjoy the trainings very much!

In October we unfortunately experienced multiple pump failures. Most of the water systems were installed in 2007-2010, and pumps tend to have a 10 year lifespan. Since the villages in Queen Elizabeth National Park are very poor, the price for the water has to be very low for the residents to afford it. After paying the necessary inputs such as chemicals, fuel for generators and a small allowance for the technicians, there is almost nothing left to save for a large breakdown.

With help from our local field staff, the communities were able to request the local District government to include pumps in their budget. After a lot of hard lobbying work and follow up, two pumps were delivered in November. Fontes is very proud of this effort, since it is part of our mission to support the communities in taking advantage of local resources.

Nevertheless, two more new pumps were still needed to have all systems up and running. After a brief campaign on social media we were very grateful to receive donations for the purchase and installation of the remaining two pumps. One of the donors who funded an entire pump, had visited the villages in 2014 and still remembered the massive contrast between the poor fishing villages and the luxury safari lodges very closeby. Another donor promptly agreed to fund the water projects with a generous amount on an annual basis going forward. We are extremely grateful to these and other donors, who acknowledge the importance of our ongoing work in these villages.

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Ryan HumbertNew water pumps

Disrupting tech education in Uganda

by Ryan Humbert on 19/12/2019 No comments

Like in many other African countries, information technology is just taking off in Uganda. Technology start-ups are attracting more and more funding from investors, and some tech companies have already become famous in Africa. Many of them are riding on mobile money and aiming to provide financial services to the poor. Others are in e-commerce, online services or blockchain. Generally, there is a lot of buzz and the Government and donors are increasingly interested in supporting the tech sector as a way of growing the job market. More and more students choose IT degrees and aspire to careers in the IT sector.

Established software firms and large corporates with needs in their IT departments are struggling to find talent with the right skills. Competition over software developers with some experience is fierce in the market, which pushes up costs and leads to high turn-over rates. It also increases the risk and cost for companies to invest in training their employees, since they easily leave for a new opportunity when they have the skills.

At the same time, the local universities are being slow to adjust to the trends. The curricula taught are still the same as 10 years ago, and many courses are entirely theoretical. At many institutions students can get through an entire IT degree without writing a single line of code. 

Laboremus Uganda Ltd, where both Marius and Lucrezia (part of the Fontes founding family) are involved, experienced this first hand. Being a Norwegian software firm outsourcing work to Uganda, the biggest challenge was finding and retaining the right talent. At the same time, Clarke International University (formerly IHSU), a private university in Kampala, had embarked on designing a course with a closer link to employers in order to make sure the curriculum is relevant. A formal partnership between the two in 2018 led to a successful application to Norad, along with Fontes Foundation.

Now, at the end of 2019, Refactory is already a well-known brand in Kampala. The number of applicants for the three-month “Catalyst” course is increasing by about 20 students each round. 77 students have already gone through the Catalyst in 2019, and up to 120 students will participate in course in 2020. Most of the students finishing the first round of the six-month practical boot camp in December already have job offers or have been invited to interviews. Refactory is getting calls from companies, HR agencies and even foreign companies who are all interested in hiring the graduates.

The feedback from the students is also overwhelming. Many say that they have learned more in three months at Refactory than during their entire three-year IT degree at university. Others simply say that “Refactory has taught them how to learn”. Life-long learning is key, especially in the tech industry where new frameworks and tools come out every month. Others say how Refactory has shown them the importance of understanding the problem they are trying to solve with a tech solution very well, including listening to the users, customers and all stakeholders involved.

In September, Andela, a Silicon-Valley backed firm aiming at setting up outsourcing hubs at a large scale across Africa, announced a change in strategy. Instead of training youth from scratch, they would now only hire developers with experience. This is just one of the companies that realised that the investment for a private firm to train people from the level they have when they leave university, to a level where they can successfully deliver software for international clients, is too large. This makes sense from a commercial point of view, but only increases the demand for relevant IT training in Uganda. Read more about what this means for the tech sector in Uganda here. 

For Refactory, this just confirmed the importance of our project, and how big the gap is that we are trying to fill. We are determined to make this programme a model for tech education in Uganda (and beyond), and we are actively looking for additional funding. The funding is needed to cover our contribution according to our contract with Norad (which only provides 50% of the funding), but also to enable us to expand the programme so it can reach many more students.

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Ryan HumbertDisrupting tech education in Uganda

BJL Fontes Football Club

by Ryan Humbert on 19/12/2019 No comments

Shortly after the creation of our youth centre in 2012, we created a Music Dance and Drama Team (MDD), also known as the Fontes Cultural Troupe, as well as our very own Fontes Football Club. The aim of both these activities was to engage with the local community, learn more about the challenges young people face in the communities, keep these young people away from drugs and crime, as well as to spread the word about the education opportunities Fontes has to offer.

Allowing vulnerable young people to evolve in a group by dancing or playing football together has huge benefits; the solidarity, support and purpose which these activities provide to disadvantaged young people with limited opportunities is invaluable. Not only do they keep the young people from the street, but the youth groups also form a very strong bond with each other and their coaches. In the case of the football team, the fact that the entire team has chipped in to support tuition fee payments of some of their struggling team members, shows the strength of this bond and support.

Over the past years, Hamiss Wasswa has been a lot more than a football coach to the players. He starts each of his training sessions by trying to understand his players’ daily problems and see how he can help. Thanks to his network in the community, Hamiss has often been the decisive link between his players and their first employment. After some very encouraging results against the U-17 of KCCA (one of the major clubs of the country), we are very proud to announce that one of our players has been selected to play for KCCA, who will provide him with a scholarship. Excitingly, the Fontes team has recently entered the second division. This will provide the team with a huge opportunity for growth, as they will be playing very strong teams.

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Ryan HumbertBJL Fontes Football Club

Fontes Cultural Troupe

by Ryan Humbert on 19/12/2019 No comments

Shortly after the creation of our youth centre in 2012, we created a Music Dance and Drama Team (MDD), also known as the Fontes Cultural Troupe, as well as our very own Fontes Football Club. The aim of both these activities was to engage with the local community, learn more about the challenges young people face in the communities, keep these young people away from drugs and crime, as well as to spread the word about the education opportunities Fontes has to offer. Allowing vulnerable young people to evolve in a group by dancing or playing football together has huge benefits; the solidarity, support and purpose which these activities provide to disadvantaged young people with limited opportunities is invaluable. Not only do they keep the young people from the street, but the youth groups also form a very strong bond with each other and their coaches.


This year, Fontes Cultural Troupe has increased its reach and some of the members have had international exposure by travelling to China and Vietnam. Sharing some of the deepest cultural roots of Uganda, the Troupe is now self-sustainable and earns money through its performances, which they use in order to improve their shows. They provide great entertainment, performing at different types of events, including weddings and graduation ceremonies. Recently, some of the Troupe’s dancers have volunteered to train several classes of Kansanga Parents Primary School, one of the poorest schools in the region, after which the children successfully performed several traditional dances at their first ever graduation ceremony.

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Ryan HumbertFontes Cultural Troupe

Hello (and goodbye) from a Fontes intern

by Fontes Foundation on 02/09/2019 No comments

First: who am I?

Hi! I’m Marit Frost and I have spent the last three months interning with the Fontes Foundation in Kampala, splitting my time between the Bugolobi main office and at the Youth Center in  Bunga. I was born and raised in California, USA, and now study International Development and Geography at UCLA in Los Angeles. If you are curious how a California girl came to be living in (and loving) Kampala, well this is where my elevator pitch starts. I came here through a program, Insight Global Education, which pairs students from North America with internships in Kampala and enrols them in two classes at Makerere University: Africa in International Relations, and Peace, Conflict, and post-conflict resolution. Beyond that, what we make of our experience is up to us. While in East Africa I have driven across the border to Rwanda to visit the memorial in Kigali commemorating the terrible losses of the genocide, spent a day and a night in awe at Lake Bunyoni, boated across Lake Victoria, abseiled down a waterfall at Sipi Falls, rafted down the whitewater rapids of the Jinja Nile, and spent a week exploring the history and beauty of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Each of those trips was a small vacation I was extraordinarily lucky to have — an opportunity to explore a new piece of a world I had never experienced before — but none even remotely compared to just living and working in Kampala.

My time with Fontes.

While at Fontes I have come to feel like my little table — pushed up against the 5 others that make up the Fontes corner of the office — is really mine. My desk is right next to the foosball table (that I am still a little nervous to try out, people really take their foosball tournaments seriously!) where daily post-lunch games feature loud laughter, fierce competition, and genuine friendliness. I sit near the little kitchen where our Office Manager Irene has coffee, tea, and delicious Ugandan snacks prepared everyday. Just five meters away, is where each of many birthday cakes were placed as the whole office erupted into song and anticipatory cake-excitement (Surea always got the most excited over the chocolate ones). And just upstairs is the lunch buffet featuring local foods, where I had countless conversations about everything and anything, with everyone and anyone who happened to get hungry at the same time as I did. Don’t get me wrong, working at Fontes has definitely been challenging at times. But isn’t that exactly what an internship should be? Plus, I had a partner in crime! Melvin Sedeora: fellow intern, friend, and housemate; student of Simon Fraser University (in Canada); truly kind and very intelligent. 

Melvin and I had the job of substitute facilitators during much of our time at Fontes; we were able to meet the incredible students of Fontes Youth Center who are actively taking their lives — and education — into their own hands, and to help them on their way toward successful careers by teaching the business skills that are most useful — and most lacking — in the young labour pool today. While at the office in Bugolobi, Melvin and I primarily focused on instituting strategic procedures for organizational Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). We performed data collection from within our preexisting programs to develop a framework for evaluating their success, and explored options for broadening the reach of those programs while maintaining their viability. The mission of Fontes is not a static one; the organization is constantly re-evaluating its preceding work so our goals are as achievable as possible, and changing those goals in relation to new understandings of the circumstances and capabilities of each program. These are values I will take with me when I fly home in a week. I have learned to never be content with the work I have done, but to strive to evaluate and change it when it inevitably isn’t perfect.

What I am taking with me when I leave.

My memories from working here are filled with nerves, cake, laughter, stress, coffee, kindness, doubt, matooke, and pride. I will never forget my colleagues, my students, or that foosball table that I will use sometime in the next 5 days. I will never forget the daily standups — where we all learned about each project that was being worked on and put a colorful sticky-note on the board to represent the task — the monday morning check-ins, the chocolate Julianne brought back from Norway, or the sense of community that exists here but is so rare in most workplaces. Truly, I will never forget my time with Fontes.

Lots of love for my students, colleagues, and this incredible city,

Marit

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Fontes FoundationHello (and goodbye) from a Fontes intern

A new cohort at Fontes Youth Centre

by Anbjorg Tovsrud on 24/10/2018 No comments

Fontes Youth Centre recently welcomed around 50 new students to our premises. The majority of the students are enrolled in the newly developed catering and business course, while others will be attending short courses in either ICT or English.The courses kicked off 24 September; the first week was then dedicated to orientation week, giving the students an opportunity to get to know each other and the facilitators, and to get introduced to the subjects.

Denis, manager of Fontes Youth Centre, holding an introduction session the first day of the courses.

FYC has for a number of years offered courses in applied business skills, which also has included modules in business English, ICT and personal development. Catering was introduced as a separate course in February 2018, after Julius Kamukama, FK Norway/NOREC exchange participant from Amizero Training Center in Rwanda, started working at FYC. Julius has a degree in hotel management and experience from working as a professional chef. He is also passionate about empowering others, and enjoys passing on his skills. Julius was therefore asked to develop a course in catering for the FYC. This course was running as a separate course during the previous cohort. The course proved successful; the demand was high, and 23 students graduated in catering.

Catering students during one of their first classes

Many of the students taking the catering course also wanted to benefit from what was being taught in the applied business skills course, as many of them were aiming to start their own businesses. The soft skills training provided in the applied business skills course was also deemed relevant for the catering students. This, in combination with the high demand for the catering course, made it reasonable to merge the two courses, including the modules in business English, ICT and personal development. All the course components are feeding into each other and are providing the students with a holistic education that includes the soft skills needed to make use of their practical catering skills in a meaningful way, either as entrepreneurs or as employees.

 

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Anbjorg TovsrudA new cohort at Fontes Youth Centre

Testimonials from Previous Interns

by Hellen Griberg on 04/12/2017 1 comment

Samuel Kueng, FFU Intern Spring 2017 

During my internship at Fontes Foundation, I was granted the opportunity to take on different tasks in a challenging environment, collecting valuable professional experience. I highly appreciated the combination of desk work and practical tasks. My duties included compiling marketing material, conducting research and writing funding proposals, but also working on various projects at the Fontes Youth Development Centre and field work in several fishing villages at Queen Elizabeth National Park. My personal highlight was the organization of the first Career Day at Fontes Foundation for the students of the Youth Centre, as well as other partner organizations. After overcoming many challenges and exercising patience, it was deeply rewarding to see our sharply dressed students network with employers from various sectors, listen to inspiring keynote speeches, and present their startup projects. My experience in the charming city of Kampala was rounded up by meeting a broad range of professionals engaged in diplomacy and development. Interacting with people working for the United Nations, European Union or GIZ gave me great insights into prospective future professional fields.

Samuel Kueng, FFU Spring Intern

Rebecca Grattage, FFU Summer 2017

I really enjoyed my internship at Fontes Foundation. The work was often challenging, and I enjoyed learning more about youth employment and safe water implementation projects in Uganda. The tasks were varied and interesting. My primary role was to look for funding opportunities and writing funding proposals, attending events at the Fontes Youth Centre and writing blog posts for the Fontes Foundation website and social media pages, in addition to following up with Job Placement Programme (JPP) students and varied tasks. The primary challenge I faced as an intern was probably managing to schedule meetings with some of the JPP students, as they didn’t always keep their phones switched on! However, one of the most rewarding parts of the internship was indeed meeting with these students to hear their personal stories – successes, failures, hopes, and dreams. Some of the stories I heard were truly inspirational and will stay with me as I continue to learn and  grow as an individual. I am extremely grateful to Fontes Foundation for allowing me to be a part of the team. I hope the organisation continues to grow and help make positive changes in Uganda and beyond!

Rebecca Grattage, FFU Summer Intern

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hellen GribergTestimonials from Previous Interns

Developing your Personal Brand

by Rebecca Grattage on 15/09/2017 No comments

On Wednesday 6th September, the Fontes Youth Centre welcomed Larry Holm, CEO of People Performance Group Uganda, one of the leading HR consulting companies in Uganda, to talk to the Core Course students about personal branding.

Larry got the conversation started by asking the students how much they buy “Irish” (potatoes) for. This animated the discussion and helped everyone to consider pricing, and what distinguishes one seller from another. The students discussed using lower prices to try and attract more customers, as most sellers compete on a price basis.

Larry worked with the students throughout the session to open their minds to new ideas, suggesting adding value to a product instead of lowering the price – explaining that by adding value to and branding a product you can charge a lot more money for it. Larry spoke a lot about developing one’s personal brand and being unique in order to attract customers. He described Personal Branding as something that differentiates you from others.

Core Course students listening to Larry Holm’s talk.

Many of the students at the Fontes Youth Centre aspire to start up their own businesses after completing the course, so Larry asked the students what sort of businesses they are planning on starting; their ideas varied from restaurants and eateries, producing boiled food, opening a beauty salon, creating an electronics company, and many more.

Larry spoke about the danger of worry and how it can drain you. He explained that you need energy to push yourself, so it is important to get rid of your worries. The students described their worries, including financial, sickness and employment issues. Larry suggested prioritising key worries, and then deciding when you would like to have dealt with this particular worry by. He spoke enthusiastically, helping the students realise that the more worries that they manage to eradicate, the more energy they will have for pushing and motivating themselves to be successful.

Thank you, Larry, for such an interesting discussion!

PYC Core Course students with Larry Holm after the talk.

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Rebecca GrattageDeveloping your Personal Brand