A fellow’s success story – Imelda Kyaringabira Engabi: Introducing Community Learning Centres (CLCs) as vehicles for socio-economic transformation in Uganda

9 January 2019

The Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social development in Uganda has just approved and allocated a budget for the implementation of a pilot programme for Community Learning Centres (CLCs) in three districts.

The national strategy for piloting CLCs in Uganda is based on the work of UIL’s former CONFINTEA Fellow, Ms Imelda Kyaringabira Engabi, a principal literacy officer in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development in Uganda. She developed this strategy with experts at UIL during the CONFINTEA Fellowship Programme at the institute in 2016. Its purpose is to introduce community learning centres as vehicles for socio-economic transformation in Uganda. The strategy has meanwhile been integrated into Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP II) 2015/16–019/20. In early 2018, her work came to fruition as the Ministry approved a budget to pilot Community Learning Centres in three districts.

Upon her return to Uganda after her sojourn in Hamburg, Ms Engabi shared the national strategy with the national Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Minister for Adult Learning and Education and key stakeholders in a national validation meeting. Moreover, key members of her Ministry travelled to Ethiopia to study and experience the implementation of CLCs there, following the successful efforts of a previous UIL Fellow, Mr Yoseph Abera, in the Fellowship 2015 cycle. However, Ms Engabi’s success has not been without difficulty, as she has had to overcome many challenges in the process of bringing the national strategy to fruition. One challenge was the length of time it took to gain approval for the project, coupled with the need for capacity-development of grassroots staff in the area of CLCs.

‘My experience at UIL was a life-changing experience. The fellowship has greatly contributed to my professional growth in the field of adult learning and education. It exposed me to a whole range of adult learning and education and provided conceptual clarity. Sharing this experience with my colleagues in the fellowship programme especially from the Asian countries was enriching; I am confident that the concept of learning communities, societies and cities is the engine which can drive socio-economic transformation of the developing countries.’

The pilot programme is an important step towards the implementation of Uganda’s National Development Plan 2015/16–2019/20, which identified human capital development as a key feature in the country’s socio-economic transformation.

UIL will continue its support to the Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in developing and contextualizing CLC training materials.

From 2011 to 2017, UIL welcomed 38 fellows (19 men and 19 women, 31 of whom were government officials and 7 NGO representatives) from 32 countries. The last cycle was organized in November 2017.

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