Spend a Year in a Truck with Your Family in Africa

Spend a Year in a Truck with Your Family in Africa

(From National Geographic site)

Pick up any parenting book and you’re unlikely to find a chapter titled “How to Spend a Year in a Truck With Your Kids in Africa.” But that’s just what the Carroll family did with their boys, eight-year-old Xaver and five-year-old Felix. Earlier this year, Kira, a pediatrician, and Peter, a photographer, and the boys left Alice, Australia, for a yearlong drive through southern and eastern Africa, where they stuffed their lives into a truck, washed in mud buckets, and slept in tents, listening to lions, hyenas, and the occasional baboon. Oh my.

What seems like a case study of questionable parenting to some is, in fact, the adventure of a lifetime for the Carroll clan. “The boys have been experiencing vast landscapes of profound beauty, close encounters with wild animals, and life-changing friendships with children from African villages,” says 46-year-old Peter. “At their young ages, they are nonjudgmental sponges.”

The dusty roads from South Africa to NamibiaBotswanaZambiaTanzania, and Uganda were full of unexpected challenges. Simple problems, like warding off insects, became icky trials. Homeschooling the kids in the absence of an actual home was a tricky routine. But volunteering has been a rewarding high point of the Carroll family’s expedition. In Uganda, the clan spent four weeks planting mango trees and laying bricks while living with a host family.

“It’s difficult to put into words the true value of this for the boys, because I’m sure it will continue to influence them well beyond the here and now.” As for the boys, they’ve learned valuable lessons. “Play with the local kids and climb trees,” Xaver says, but “don’t park or camp under marula trees because elephants love them and can push your car away.” Felix also offers a bit of practical advice: “In Botswana, don’t go off by yourself. The animals might get hungry and hunt you,” he says, adding that African travel is hard, “but fun enough to not want to go home yet.”

Even the parents have learned a few lessons. “Trust your children,” says Peter. “They will open doors, bring unspeakable joy, and teach us oldies what we have forgotten.”

—By George W. Stone


National Geographic Traveler: What gave you the courage to hit the road?

Peter Carroll: Kira and I have always loved traveling. We had dreamed of continued travel after the boys were born but soon realized it wasn’t as easy as we thought. We had holidays, of course, but there is a huge difference between a holiday and extended travel. So it was not so much about finding the courage as arriving at a time in our lives which allowed it to happen. Xaver and Felix are at an age where we believe they will benefit and remember experiences, and at the same time allow Kira and I to travel without constant worry.

NGT: Was planning difficult?

PC: Taking young children on the road camping through Africa for a year has its challenges and logistics and finances are frightening. Once the commitment is made, tasks are ticked off one by one, money saved, house rented, belongings in storage, and before you know it the car is on a ship and you’re in the air heading for Africa.

NGT: What were your biggest worries?

PC: You must accept that your children will be exposed to dangers otherwise not encountered at home. So it was essential to be able to evaluate and prepare for risks and convince ourselves that with the right preparations and research they can be minimized to a point where it was possible to head off relatively confident of their safety. We also left it open that if it really wasn’t working out for some reason, we would accept that and try again another time. There are so many unknowns that you just have to bumble your way through.

NGT: What’s your best travel advice for families?

PC and Kira Carroll: Prepare as best you can. Respect cultures different from your own, learn at least basic greetings and courtesies of countries you expect to visit. Go with an open mind, flexibility, and spontaneity. When traveling as a family, keep an eye on the kids but give them enough freedom to explore and extend their boundaries naturally. Children are great icebreakers when meeting people and they help open doors that you may not otherwise have noticed.

NGT: What are the hardest challenges of being together on the road?

PC and KC: It has been important for us all to find snippets of time for ourselves. Living in such confined quarters for so long can be exhausting and claustrophobic. And communication takes patience. When we’re doing humanitarian work, it can be profoundly rewarding, but incredibly challenging. If the children see and experience difficult situations and conditions, you have to remember to answer the nonstop questions patiently. And when surrounded by children in dire need, all vying for attention, you have to remember your own kids from time to time. It can be difficult for them seeing Mum and Dad giving so much love to other children. Make sure the kids are included, given tasks, and made to feel they are contributing. And give ’em a hug.

NGT: What advice do you have for other kids?

Xaver Carroll: Be ready for it to be different than home. Volunteer your time to help. It’s hard and scary and you see things you don’t want to and can’t even believe, but you’ll make friends and learn a lot. Be ready to wash with cold water in a bucket. Having no power and using drop toilets is fun. Don’t be shy to share your games with kids and play soccer with the locals. Be ready to be surrounded by people saying “Muzungu, Muzungu!” (white person). Have fun.

Felix Carroll: Roads are rough and drives are long. Always carry binoculars and the animal book to look up what you see. Hold in your hunger. You get really hungry sometimes when you’re a volunteer digging and building, and there is no food except sugarcane. Get ready for everyone to crowd around and pull your hair. It is scary but you can climb a tree to escape.

NGT: What are the best parts of traveling in Africa?

XC: Playing with the local kids, climbing trees. On long drives, looking out the window because everything is different from home. Felix and I make up stories together. We do crafts, like knitting and carving.

FC: Looking out the window to spot animals. Going to small villages to play with kids. Learning to use a camera because there are amazing scenes and perfect light. And beans and rice is nice even if you eat it a lot.

NGT: Share some new discoveries.

XC and FC: It’s great to volunteer. You get to build different things, dig, lay bricks, go to schools to play with children, attend classes to see what they learn. You get to know a whole new family and learn how people live. You see children who only eat one cup of porridge all day and have to work hard outside school to earn school fees by carrying water and sticks on their heads. Sometimes they miss school to sell what they grow at market.

NGT: What does it mean to travel with passion and purpose?

PC and KC: To travel with passion and purpose is to move through as a visitor, learn all you can, and contribute where possible. We are both keen to lend our skills in some meaningful way and get deeper insights into the places we travel through.

NGT: What organizations have you worked with in Africa?

PC: We Volunteered with Beacon of Hope, based in a village near Mokono, Uganda (an hour north of Kampala). It’s a very small grassroots organization that’s doing great work. We developed a Kids Go Green Program and presented it to several schools throughout the district. We assisted in the ongoing construction of an education center and clinic in a small village, and built drying racks for several families in remote villages. The most important thing to come about was a posting to rural Kamwenge, in western Uganda, where we lived with a beautiful family running an organization called Uganda Vision Resource Centre, which works to improve the lives of children through self-starting, community-based, sustainable programs. We experienced full immersion into Ugandan village life. We lived with a wonderful family with two small children. They had no electricity, collected water from a natural source a 30-minute walk away, and cooked on tiny coal burners. And yet the family devoted their time to local sustainable development with a list of projects too long to name and describe. We helped HIV clinics, mothers making crafts, beekeeping projects, banana wine production conflict management in refugee camps, educating remote folk about the evils of child sacrifice by witch doctors—I kid you not. It was a most incredible, fulfilling, inspiring, confronting, and emotional time for us.

As a result, our family has formed a partnership with UVRC; we set them up with solar power (a wonderful experience seeing light in the house for the first time), and—thanks to friends and family—have raised more than $1,500 for various projects with orphan refugees, mothers’ groups, and schools.

The web is a minefield of NGOs, and most require an investment of funds well beyond what we could afford. Many people we have met are volunteering through huge organizations (many of them for-profit) that ask ridiculous amounts of money. Hopeful volunteers are scared to take a chance with grassroots organizations. Our experience has shown that the real work gets done at village level by people living in those villages, organized by a few deeply committed people. With no overhead, all donations support the projects. The difference they make is unbelievable.

NGT: What have you discovered?

PC: Our goal in the beginning was to spend quality time as a family, reassess the direction of our lives, work, and where we are living. To have the time and space to answer some big questions otherwise difficult to tackle. The most important thing is to remind ourselves of how privileged we are as a family, to be experiencing all the wonders of nature and humanity in such an extraordinary way. To see that travel is not always a holiday but that each day brings experiences that challenge or delight in unexpected ways is one of our best discoveries. Along the way, our family grows closer and stronger.

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Uganda- A Life Changing Experience

Uganda- A Life Changing Experience!-


Here we joined Dr. Michael and his wife Kim

Australians who are doing medical mission in Kamwenge Uganda.

As we traveled through Namibia months ago, we came to the conclusion that the only way of really having a deeper experience was to meet or find an organisation that would enable us to live with a family or within a village somewhere in Africa. Where we could live for a while and find out what the caper is with these convoys of brand new Aid vehicles from NGOs and GOs from all over the world we have been seeing, there must be some serious problems.

I’ve mentioned before, that there are village tours offered and in some it is even possible to live in for a few days to participate in village life. This is not what we were looking for. Feels kinda like Human Zoo stuff that I don’t want to be a part of….even if some of the funds go to the community visited. I may be wrong but that’s how it seemed. I know some photographers do this and pay for extended visits to Himba Villages in Namibia and have built strong relationships and amazing images libraries, and good on them. It is a mine field of NGOs out there, some for profit some not for profit. Most were asking fees that are astounding, well beyond what we could afford and it made us wonder where all the cash was going. We saw many in big Hotels having meeting and expensive dinners, we met volunteers confused about why it has cost them so much to stand in a class room and teach, spending more time with other volunteers than finding out about the culture they were in. We met others having the experience they were after, a mix of volunteering and tourism, Known now as the growth industry called Volunteerism.

We also came across a PHD student studying the money trail of large NGOs. She has been working on it for a year and was disillusioned to the point of wanting to quit. There is so much corruption within the organisations and lying about how and who they are helping and failed projects. She believes many are doing more damage than good and in the long term will destroy the reputation of the ones working with integrity. The usual story of highly paid staff, too much paper work and admin, too many new vehicles, many meetings and not enough actual hands on work and much of the work was unsustainable once the NGO pulls out, leaving in their wake disenchanted Volunteers but more importantly disenchanted Mothers and children of the villages they were supposed to be benefiting.

So as our search continued so did our pessimism and suspicion. We drove past village after village grabbing glimpses through the dust, right through remotest Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Tanzania. From a drive by perspective everything looked wonderful, people we met were happy, healthy, lacking finances but most, outside cities and towns were living a subsistence lifestyle, that seemed reasonably ideal in a way- everyone looked productive, villages were spotless as were the surrounds and gardens. Most areas lacked electricity and access to water which were the obvious challenges, as men women and children stretched along the roadside with all sorts of water cartage devices, on their heads as well as piles of wood, coal, bananas and other essential items needed to survive day-to-day.

There were also a lot of ripped clothing and shredded shoes. Life was obviously tough and weather plays such a crucial role. A few weeks or months of hot days and no rainfall and most of the areas we traveled would be in big trouble as crops fail and water sources dry up. Namibia was already suffering from drought, with mile after mile of failed crops. Access to education and Health facilities was also a great problem. No vehicles out here, you need to get somewhere or something, you walk. Xaver and Felix were concerned for the children. How far were they walking with these massive loads? Is the water potable, How far does 20l go. “How can such small children be so strong?, don’t they get tired? Must they do this everyday, is the pump hard to use”? When do they go to school? These are some of the questions pondered by Xaver and Felix along the way. It wouldn’t be too long before these questions would be answered through experience, and many more would arise to as we began our stint volunteering. Eventually we found Beacon of Hope based in Mukono, 20km (one hour),outside Kampala in Uganda.

The brief of what we would be doing was somewhat vague but it sounded like a positive impact and learning experience would be had with small, grass-roots, non-denominational NGO. Beacon of Hope is run by a switched on 26 Year Old Ugandan called Isaac. His story of rising from poverty to where he is today, helping those of the Community in which he lives is inspirational to say the least. All of our questions were answered beyond doubt. We knew we had happened upon someone special doing real, sustainable work at Village level. After falling in love with Zambia (yet to be blogged), we were pleased he was flexible enough to accommodate our frequent ETA changes. We eventually arrived at Namubiru Village where we would be based for the first and last weeks of our 4 week stint. Our room had 2 bunks and a place to wash. Two other volunteers joined us for the first week and together in a few intense hours we created a “KIds Go Green” presentation and delivered it to schools in the region over the week. We also “broke the ground on a new education centre/clinic. It was hot hard work digging with a group of men who were amused at our efforts as they powered on and on like machines (“we are machines with blood” one said with a laugh) as we slowly collapsed one by one for lack of energy.

We learned what hard work on one meal a day was all about, the norm for these totally ripped builders. I think the shirtless bodies of these blokes kept the girls enthusiastic for a while though. They just made me insecure. They called me “Slow but Sure” even though I was powering to my limits. The school visits were wonderful and insightful, learning how children walked kilometers to and from school and went all day until around 5pm on just a cup of watery porridge supplied by the schools at lunch time. Teachers are incredibly low paid and also struggled for food. Our first school was a small 2 room mud structure from where about 30 kids came running at our arrival yelling Muzungu, Muzungu and took us by the hands or jumped into our arms for hugs. They were especially interested in Xaver and Felix who were mobbed. We enjoyed a song of welcome from bold beautiful voices and then watched as they sang and danced with the teacher for another good while before our presentation. Xaver and Felix played well with the children at all schools and showed amazing patience but were at times overwhelmed by all the attention. We were already pretty tired by the end of the first week, but it was nothing compared to what was to come during the following 2 weeks. We were going to be with an organisation called Vision2040 Resource Centre.

HomeSolid 10 hour drive across to Western Uganda to Kamwenge with our host Sabiiti Fenekansi. We were welcomed by his Family, Anna who we affectionately called “Maama Trevor”, their 5 year old son Trevor and 6mth old “Baby Brandon”. There were also Mackleen, Rose, Daphene and Innocent who were around to help babysit, cook, clean, fetch water, move the goats and generally look after the household and us as Sabiiti spent his days with us and Maama Trevor was a teacher at a village school.

Truth be told we had no idea what we were going to be doing so it was go with the flow until we got a gist of what was expected of us. We had a room to ourselves. There was no power and we had a few litres of water per day to wash with in a bucket. We were the first Volunteers they had staying with them. They have had one other volunteer who lived with the other partners of V40RC some time ago. As the week progressed we realized what a big deal it must have been to accommodate, and feed a family of 4. I’m sure they would have been nervous of our reaction to their living conditions and whether we would cope, but for us it was perfect.

The boys learned what it was like to live without electricity and running water. It is amazing how the women produced such amazing feasts on 3 tiny charcoal cookers. Every day we would have breakfast of chapatis, Banana, Pineapple, eggs, bread and spreads. Lunch, when we were about was similar to dinner, with pots of Rice, Matooke (mashed cooking bananas), Beans, Cabbage, potatoes, cassava and G-Nut sauce (Ground Nut), which I couldn’t get enough of. In fact we have decided it is the best food we have had in all of Africa.

Often days were long and we would arrive home around 7pm when we were presented with “Tea”, consisting of Bread and honey, tea, chapatis and fruit. We would sit around by lamp light and discuss the days activities. By 9pm dinner was on the table by which time we were well tired and longing to creep under the mozzie nets to rest the mind from its maddening buzz trying to process the day’s experiences. In the end the routine and the warmth of seeing “Maama Trevor” and the kids as we returned each evening was a real warm blanket we all looked forward to. Xaver and Felix attended “Little Angles Primary School. Xaver in P2 and Felix joined Trevor in what they call Top Class. The school consists of 7 tiny class rooms, dirt floors and long wooden Benches, with only natural light coming from the windows. The play Ground was a small bare patch of dirt with a single spinning metal frame with 4 seats for the children to play on. The ball we gave them proved exciting enough for an excursion up to the soccer ground for a couple of hours.

DSC02434The schooling level was pretty high and Xaver coped well with the challenges presented. I love the way Xaver takes everything in stride, super confident but humble. I know I would have been nervous but he loves to get stuck in. During dinner after their first day, Felix admitted with a crooked smirk that his teacher told him to pick up his pencil, paper and bag and go to the principles office where he spent most of the day. Kindy math and writing was beyond his level.

The only reason X was in 2 minds about returning was because…”the teacher whacked a few of the kids” He didn’t want to experience corporal punishment. With reassurance from everyone that it wouldn’t happen to him he returned and was proud of his daily achievements. He went to school on most days but joined us on visits to projects that Sabiiti thought would be beneficial for the boys to experience also. I was to learn corporal punishment is a common tool in Ugandan classrooms. Teachers are paid around 80-150 dollars per month if I understood correctly and pay is often many months in arrears.

The government pays for some teachers but the school must find the funds for the others. This puts pressure on students to pay school fees, and often told to go home if they can’t be produced on the day. In fact many of the projects we visited over the next 2 weeks were parent inspired initiatives to raise incomes to pay these fees and feed the children.

DSC02497Many village schools are built from mud and sticks with cow dung floors. Windows are glass less holes in the walls. Often there are know chairs or desks and the kids sit on rocks or mud bricks using the bumpy, sloping floor as a table. On school visits, as we entered each class the children would stand immediately, tall and straight, and in unison chorus a musical “You are Welcome”. One class that left us laughing, when Sabiiti said “Thank You Children, You may sit down”. In strong loud voices they sang “We shall waste no time” and sat. Kira spent a lot of time in a clinic as she had hoped and returned confounded at how little essential resources they had. Most of her patients were suffering from Malaria and or HIV. At least 35 000 of the children in the district of Kamwenge are Orphans, most losing parents from HIV /AIDS. Yes that is the correct number of zeros. The mortality rate of 5 years and under is around 30-40%. DSC02533I asked one farmer I met at the daily footy practice in town why he wanted 7 children. “If 3 or 4 die then I still have some children.” But if they all survive feeding and schooling them becomes an impossible task for most. Family planning is being promoted strongly in these areas as is reducing stigma associated with AIDS so more people will seek help. It is working but there seems to be a long way to go. As Kira worked, Sabiiti introduced me to at least 2 projects a day in surrounding villages, many very remote on small tracks that rarely see a vehicle. The meetings were quite formal and usually I’d be introduced to the group by Sabiiti.

The group would tell us, translated by Sabiiti, what it is they are doing, what is needed to get to the next level and why it is they were doing what they were. Silence would then fall and Sabiiti would ask me to say a few words, offer advice and encouragement to the group. I was never asked by Sabiiti to offer any assistance, but it was often difficult to be void of emotion as the passion and purpose of the people was so strong in every case. What could I say, what could I do. I am useless at public Speaking, in fact it has always been my worst nightmare. So I found each day a challenge but somehow relished the challenge realising this is one reason we ended up here. I was to get used to it slowly as I begun to understand what was expected of me. I remember Xaver whispering one time he accompanied us to a project…” Dad, you don’t have to make another speech do you?”

DSC02858 “Fraid so mate”. I was expected to speak and inspire people. From school children to politicians. Thankfully Sabiiti is a fine public speaker and in translation I’m sure he padded my words to an acceptable level. One particularly tough one was being invited to speak at a village rally against Child Sacrifice. On a few occasions I was fighting emotion from what we witnessed and heard which made it difficult to speak at all. I was slill reeling from the shock that Child Sacrifice and Witch Doctors still existed. The children put on a powerful play, songs and poetry explaining the common reasons why parents might hand their children to witch doctors for such brutal insanity.

After the first week we were all suffering mental and cultural exhaustion. Daily life in Uganda is full of hardship that was difficult to grasp. Information overload, and a feeling of helplessness for the cause. What could we as a family do and how do you choose who to help when all are worthy of time and money. There were Bee Keeping projects, farming groups producing, pineapples, coffee and trees as well as cows and chickens. Drama and Dance groups, craft groups, Banana Wine producers. Schools and orphanages. All of them doing extraordinary work in tiny remote villages with the purpose to get food on the table and their children to school.

DSC02629We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the people we met, invited to share food, song and dance. There was never any pressure on us to commit any assistance. They were grateful for the opportunity to share their stories with us. The most confronting experience was a visit to rwamwanja-refugee-camp. I was expecting rows and rows of tents, housing the 50 000+ refugees, the sort of scene you see on TV back home. This was different. The Government has moved Ugandans off the land as refugees began arriving at the border 12 months ago. Refugees were given a small plot of land, tarps and basic things to build shelter. They were encouraged to cultivate the land. Now we were driving through a series of villages the land productive with Banana, Kasava and other vegetables which are sold at markets in the area for income. They have built mud and sick homes with thatched roofs, improving on their original tarped emergency structures Most are very basic, but there are the occasional works of art.

XaverWe first visited the commander in charge, a job I do not envy as more and more people arrive after every eruption of violence in Congo. And they arrive by the busload every day. Visiting the clinic was amazing and the work they are doing is astounding. It is tiny, under staffed of course and has three tented wards. One for Mothers, one for women and another for men open to dust, flys and mozzies. I cannot imagine the scene during the wet season. Sabiiti role within the camp in is concerning Conflict management. Initially the Ugandans who had to move off the land were up in arms, and now there a clashes between differing tribal groups and Nationalities within the camp. Witch Doctors ply their trade swindling the vulnerable with promises of wealth and health in exchange for money, land or children. We met a group of unaccompanied minors.

They have no idea whether their parents are alive or dead, or whether they may one day turn up and be living in the next village. A young boy, with a cane to support his injured foot, maybe 16 years old called Amani (Peace in Swahili), was the spokesman for the group of around 15 boys. He told us of their circumstances. Kira was able to pick up these words from his powerful spontaneous delivery before translation. “Hakuna Chakula”- No Food “Hakuna Pemba” – No Love Hakuna Amani” – No Peace They fended entirely for themselves and the usual sparkle in the children’s eyes was absent. They had constructed crude bunk beds from frames of sticks. They had no mattresses or mats and slept directly upon the sticks. A few had torn light grey blankets that were as good as nothing against the cold nights.

The boys are housed under UN tents on dirt floors. Otherwise they have nothing apart from the clothes they wore. Working in the field to earn money for food and school fees which made it difficult to get to school at all. The cooking shelter was an open stick construction where they made a fire and cooked meals in a couple of pots. The older boys were concerned for the mental and physical health of the younger ones and felt it a great responsibility that they must care for such small children when they need love and care themselves which was not available. Xaver and Felix fell silent a big ask under normal circumstances. Xaver later said he wanted to cry and the image of my son standing dumbstruck by one of the self constructed beds I’ll never forget.

Kira and I both struggled for words, Kira was quite emotional. Amani went on without pause, a boy possessed, for 1/2 an hour about the difficulties they faced and said they may as well be back in the war. Sabiiti organized for us to visit a large farm on the edge of the refugee camp land and gave us an opportunity to get up close to a herd of Mega Horn Cattle (Ankole Cows). This was a nice touch to relieve the boys of the confronting scenes they had just witnessed. It was our second last day with Sabiiti, and we arrived home at 8pm shattered, saddened and confused by this reality check.

DSC03146The last day the boys and I visited a group of mothers in a remote village who made mats and baskets and ran a catering service in an effort to earn school fees. The mats were immaculately made. Living so remote, what they needed most was a market. We saw an opportunity to assist both the mothers and the young boys we met the previous day. By purchasing mats and donating them to the boys to place over the stick beds affording them at least some comfort. At $8 each these mats are a bargain and thanks to a donation from Kira’s folks, the refugees will have mats on or about the 20th of September as the women are now in full production. With more donations we can supply 3 other groups with these mats. Boys and Girls camps are well separated. It is a great start and if we can eventually cover the costs of blankets as well these guys will be in heaven. I can picture their happiness now and the Mothers will have fees for their children. Win Win!

DSC05365 Every evening we would go and watch the Kamwenge Youth Soccer Team practice. Over the 2 weeks they became friends and Xaver was furious if he missed a session because the lads had taken him under their collective wings and allowed him to join the training exercises and match. They train and play on a sloping bumpy dirt pitch. Many of the young men have heart breaking stories of personal sacrifice. Others are volunteering their time to HIV outreach and education. They are totally dedicated to the game and are talented players. Huge crowds turn out for to watch training and matches. They are an inspiration to the Kamwenge Town. We have sponsored them with a new kit and are working on boots, shin pads and gloves for the goal keepers. There are 20 in the squad and the jumping and dancing they did after Xaver and Felix presented the gear to them was unrestrained joy. Now they look as good as they play. “We are So Happy” We ARE SOOO hAPPY” they sang. They made shin pads from the cardboard packaging. As we left they were folding them up neatly.

Socer teamTears were shed as we fare-welled our beautiful and talented host family to head back to Mukono for our final week. There are no words to describe our experience with them and the Love they showed us. The boys have experienced so much they will grow in ways yet to show. They were real champs and I’m crazy proud of them. Strong, energetic, brave and compassionate….little buggers. As a goodbye gift we offered to support the installation of Solar Panels. It was quite a buzz to eat a final meal together in light shed by electricity. Sabiiti is a talented man doing incredible work with very little. A man who has gently opened our eyes to daily life in Uganda and some of the challenges faced. Introduced us to hard-working proud and inspiring people and most of all opened his heart and home along with his family, to allow the most fulfilling experience we as a family could ever have hoped for on this African Journey. People can support either of these organisations by checking out their web pages. We full endorse the work they do. It is Grass-Roots and Sustainable, run by inspirational couple of people who live in the area they are assisting. They are angels!


Owekitiibwa Zak Ssamba- Beacon Of Hope Sabiiti Fenekansi- Vision2040 Resource Centre

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International Volunteer Placement



Volunteer with Uganda Vision Resource Centre (UVRC), Volunteer on HIV/AIDS Program, Community Development, Youth Empowerment Program, Orphan Care Support, Counseling & Guidance, Women Empowerment, Food Security & Agriculture Practices, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Advocate for HIV/AIDS Patients, Education Support, Teaching in a school, Microcredit projects, Adolescents Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rural water technologies, Ministry and evangelism, Volunteer in Kamwenge District UgandaCANADIAN VOLUNTEER WITH ISAC


Uganda Vision Resource Centre (UVRC) was founded by Community Social workers from Kamwenge District Uganda, in August 2012, on the hypothesis that by the year 2040 there will be no poor people in Uganda as stated by Uganda’s National Development Plan. Whenever it was said, many Ugandans could not be sure whether it was possible for everyone to grow rich. Others thought that those who can’t grow rich were going to be swallowed by the rich.

It was observed in several communities of Uganda Including home Kamwenge district that few rich people were buying away land from many poor people. You would find an entire village originally occupied by about 200 poor households getting occupied by one or two rich people households establishing cattle firms, coffee farms and other investments. No one knew where those poor people were going after selling land, only to be seen some months or years later coming back to sell manual labor on the farms of the rich to whom they sold the land.

So, come 2040, shall Uganda count this poor landless, property-less Ugandan, selling their energy to the rich, or only the few rich guys owning the entire village will be counted making it to reality that there will be no poor people  in the country by 2040.

Ugandans wanted to be sure. The only way to be sure was thought to be manifested in the visions and goals of each Ugandans set for their families and communities to be achieved by the year 2040. What kind of house do you want to sleep in by 2040, what kind of schools will be your children, what kinds of income for your family, which hospital will you go to, what kind of food will you eat, what kind of water will you take by the year 2040. These visions and goals needed to be translated into daily activities of every household.

In Uganda, when government intervened with the poverty eradication programs a major paradigm shift occurred. However, it was debated that when government began to intervene a bigger percentage of the money that it invested went not to institutions and communities but to a service industry. And so a bigger percentage of the money that government spent on helping poor people did not go to poor people but to professional service providers.

Also those donors of poverty eradication programs ask not which problems are solvable, but which problems are fundable, and as a consequence of this we had the poverty programs. So that if you are running an agency to serve poor people, you get paid for the number of people you purportedly serve instead of how many problems you solve.

Also there was a perfect storm of government policies where many of Ugandan families had a man and a woman raising children despite the fact that they could not provide anything of the basic needs of their families. The government promised to give everything. So obviously government injured families and communities with the helping hand.”

“There is a solution to all this. “I think it’s by inspiring a generation of entrepreneurs and investors who look beyond just making a single bottom line return on investments. We need to be thinking of double, triple, quadruple bottom line returns. We need to think in terms of a financial return, sure, but we need to be thinking of a social return, a spiritual return, and an environmental return.”

“I think what people want if you ask the poor—if given a choice between a handout or a hand up that helps them really to have a sense of dignity and independence, to be able to put food on their table by themselves through their own effort—they all want to be able to do that. You know, that is a part of the human aspiration, and I think we need to find ways of doing that; and it’s enterprise that can really help people do that.”

Poor people make poor households resulting into poor communities ending into poor nations. Poor people are at risk of everything. “In terms of nutrition, they’re deprived. In terms of their housing, they’re deprived. In terms of education, they’re deprived. In terms of opportunities, they’re deprived. See, one of the things that the poor don’t have is they don’t have choice. They don’t have freedom.”

We have a serious land problem here. People can’t take their ancestral land and borrow money against it to set up businesses and pay tax. That’s where we should be going. That’s where our survival is; that’s where our money is; that’s where our progress will come from.

The absence of land title absolutely hurts the poorest of the poor. About 80 percent of our people are farmers. Just imagine, if you have a million farmers who have no title to the land they are farming on. They can’t take it to the bank to get a loan to get farm implements. Now, if they can’t do this for generations and generations, this is chronic poverty. They need to own their land and trade their land. The good ones amongst them will become large farmers, the ones that are not so good will become medium sized farmers, and the bad ones will end up working for the large and medium farmers. And they’ll have good jobs that pay them.

It is on this background that UVRC is formed. To be able to provoke, motivate and provide means for all people to be able to dream their future and ardently work for it. To be able to understand that if you are to be rich by 2040 it’s up to you, you alone, not your government, not your neighbors, not the donors from the west but you and your household.

“It’s a culture of looking at something and saying, I’m going to take responsibility and solve this problem or solve this issue, or even, not from a negative perspective, from the positive perspective, to say, I have confidence so I’m going to realize this dream of mine. I believe that I can realize my vision and I now make a commitment and I will do it. That is, a forward looking positive attitude that comes out of your culture and that is something that needs to be supported locally.”

The purpose for UVRC is therefore to work with households, families and communities to generate motivation and the resolve to get onto the journey toward “the rich 2040” with clear set dreams and objectives at all levels. The best time to start the journey to 2040 is now and it starts with you and i.

 “The journey to the year 2040 begins now and it begins with you.”

Thousands of people are anxious to donate their time and abilities but become frustrated because they don’t know where their talents are needed. At the same time, hundreds of Kamwenge Uganda non-profit organizations are seeking competent volunteers to enable them to carry on their very important work. As a service organization, Vision 2040 Resource Centre is here to receive you in action.

Our Volunteer Program Description:Uganda Vision Resource Centre is running this Kamwenge District Volunteer Program. The focus of this service-learning volunteer experience is for volunteers and interns to expand their own knowledge while at the same time helping to educate and support our local community members in sustainable developments. Volunteers will have the opportunity to become fully immersed in Ugandan culture as they live, work, learn, and play among local Ugandan families, staff in both rural and semi-urban settings.

This program is 238.75 kilometers (km) from Kampala Capital City in Kamwenge District. In this program with the assistance of our locally trained volunteers you help in the training of other local volunteers to effectively address and educate others about humanitarian and development issues using grassroots methodology.

Working by volunteering on this project in Kamwenge District will be challenging, but ultimately very rewarding. Also by serving on this program you help improve the Quality of Life for People in the rural communities of Kamwenge.

This is a rural community, with dirt roads that turn to sticky mud in the rainy season and dust in the dry season. Boda-Boda taxi bikes share the road with bicycles and animals. As in most parts of Uganda, the community members struggle to meet their basic needs and strive to put their children in school. Main jobs include brick making, selling fruits and vegetables, small-scale animal rearing and other manual labor jobs.

As a volunteer in this program, you will experience traditional Ugandan life and participate in daily activities such as visiting elderly villagers, collecting water from a well, teaching children in and outside classrooms, assisting in the brick making programs, feeding animals, community training, compassionate care to families affected by HIV/AIDS as well as other health outreach programs. These programs serve the most vulnerable community members in Kamwenge District.

The main focus areas include providing education to hundreds of children in the surrounding villages. Village schools provide English, Math, health lessons to children 3yrs-14yrs old and high school for 15yrs-18yrs. The schools provide not only needed education but opportunities for sports activities, health talks, feeding center and meeting place for the community.

The community development projects including pig and poultry, house construction and repairs, home repairs, health/HIV/AIDS workshops, youth education, animal rearing, water and sanitation (including well and waterway construction) and project planning and management or other skills that can help us transform this community

With our volunteer program we allow you to discover the wonders of the Ruwenzori region, while doing meaningful and rewarding community work. This is a great opportunity to explore life in rural Africa, live and work amongst the locals and realize one person can make a difference.

It is important for potential volunteers to understand that the culture in Uganda is quite different from what you are accustomed to. Volunteers should bring with them an easy-going, open-minded and relaxed attitude. Locals are curious, very friendly and social people. While V40RC will endeavor to maintain a daily routine, volunteers should understand that things move slowly in Africa (and indeed in rural communities). Relax and enjoy the slow pace. Remember that life in Africa is not as organized and predictable as life in developed countries. Although volunteer work can be very busy and active, at other times work is determined by many number of factors including weather, availability of resources, whether a relevant contact has turned up, cultural activities etc.



Volunteer in a rural school. Nursery and primary school level classes are provided (ages 3yrs-14yrs and high school- 15yrs-18yrs) teaching English and other subjects. Teaching experience is not required. You can begin as a teaching assistant and then work in small groups with children in need of extra attention.

The objective of this program is to contribute to the academic development of the school in order to provide the best opportunity for the orphans to receive quality education. Volunteers support the local teachers; encourage students to learn and play and instill pride in their schooling.

School terms vary from year to year but are approximately as follows: February 1 to April 30, and May 20 to August 30, September 15 to early December. Volunteers can assist with the physical upkeep of the school; painting, decorating, mending desks etc. Most important volunteers should try to develop activities/programs that can be sustained in the future. Prior teaching experience is not required; volunteer simply need an open mind, caring spirit and a compassionate nature.

 Community Development Program

You will have the opportunity to try different roles and projects, dependent on your interests and skills. These volunteer opportunities do not require specialized skills (although these would be an advantage), and we accept volunteers for both short and long-term placements, all the year round. Volunteers certainly gain an amazing life experience from their participation in our placement program. On first arrival, most volunteers sample all the projects before selecting the tasks that suit them best.

The first few days of your placement will be orientation and adjusting to Ugandan life. After this initial period, your placement work will begin. The type of work you are involved with will be dependent on your interests, abilities, level of experience as well as your comfort levels.

One of the advantages of the Community project is that you are not limited to one job role and will have the opportunity to ‘sample’ other roles during your placement. To become involved in another projects simply inform a member of staff who will happily make any necessary arrangements.

Volunteer work side by side the locals’ in on-going projects like brick making, construction and water building projects in the community. Volunteers needed for manual labor jobs working alongside skilled and unskilled local workers.

Some tasks include farming, pig rearing, construction of the volunteer center, expansion, water well building and renovation work. Volunteers do not need prior experience, but skilled workers are very welcome. This is a very hands on, hands dirty sort of program. Enthusiasm, a good sense of humor and helping spirit are required.

Amazing holidays for people who want to make a difference. Combine your holiday with volunteer work.SPECIAL NEEDS CHLDN ST. ANTHONYCHURCH AND FUNCONEY HANSEN VISIT KAMWENGE

Uganda Vision Resource Centre (UVRC) in Kamwenge Uganda is a registered non-profit Organization located in the Ruwenzori Region of Uganda. V40RC runs five key program areas to help end poverty in the rural households of Kamwenge District. Program areas include.

  • Devine Ministry and Family life
  • Health, Sanitation and Hygiene program
  • HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support Program
  • Women Empowerment and Capacity Building Program
  • Agriculture/Food and nutrition and Environmental Protection Program

For those of you who want to make a difference in the world this is the right place to start. Lending your time and skills to people in rural communities is hugely rewarding. Our programs combine volunteer work with relaxing breaks so you can have a holiday that is rewarding, invigorating and fun. Isn’t that just what you want from your holiday? Kamwenge District is gifted with Natural resources such as tropical forests of Kibale National Park with hundreds of Fauna and Flora species. This Makes Kamwenge a good place where Development work can be integrated with meaningful adventure.

Mission Statement for our Volunteer Program

UVRC is a not-for-profit organization established to function as a means to rescue impoverishing communities of Kamwenge Uganda by implementing the most critical humanitarian and development programs. Such programs include health and human services, Devine Ministry and Family life, Health, Sanitation and Hygiene program, HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support Program , Women Empowerment and Capacity Building Program, Agriculture/Food and nutrition, education and Environmental Protection Program.

What we have to do under the Volunteer Placement Program:

UVRC Resource Center will receive and place volunteers into community development interventions that need them while at the same time make efforts to connect them to meaningful adventure places like Kibale National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Western Lift Valley escarpments etc.

Our goal for Volunteers:DSC09674

We provide people an opportunity to help those less fortunate than themselves, without disturbing significantly their work and family responsibilities. Volunteering is probably the most rewarding experience available and our programs make it available to a wider audience.

Our Volunteer programs:

Each of our programs offers between 14-21 days volunteer work, followed by 4-7 days relaxation. The volunteer work is at carefully selected sites in Kamwenge district Uganda.

Most participants are expected from Europe, Australia, Asia and America. And majority is expected to be University and college graduates, Interns, Professionals, and holiday makers. It is a great opportunity to make new friends and have fun while doing something meaningful and highly rewarding.

UVRC offers travel programs that comprise one part volunteer work at an approved charity-related project, and a second part a relaxing stay at any safari or adventure land. Generally this is a 4-week program with approximately 14-21 days volunteer work and the remainder at the adventure-land. The locations of the work and adventures are in different parts of the same district or region.

We offer some air fare options to the destinations, but booking flights is the responsibility of the volunteers themselves.

Volunteers will be given tasks – by the relevant program manager at UVRC, related to the Organizations projects – the day after their arrival. They will be accommodated at Kamwenge Guest Home and provided three meals daily during their placement, but the standards may not be at international levels. Some volunteers prefer to be integrated into a host family which is also an added advantage to learn African culture and traditions.

Why Volunteers at UVRC?

In these changing times, many of us have a strong desire to help those less fortunate. But sometimes we cannot afford thousands of dollars, Euros and pounds asked by most volunteer programs.

So we have organized programs with trustworthy grassroots projects where volunteers can make a difference with the local people and support them rather than supporting the middle man. You can rest assured that your input has provided essential support in parts of the world that need help. You will sure to leave behind a mark of changed lives.

Follow your Interest:
Below are some examples of the wide range of causes and needs that the non-profit programs at UVRC support: Abused Animals, Arts, Abandoned Babies, Children, Cultural projects, Music, Dance, Drama, Disabled, Disease Advocacy/Research, Elderly, Environment, Health Care, Homeless, Hospitals, Immigrants, Libraries, Mental Health, , Nursing Homes, Prisons, Social Work, Special Projects, Sports, Teenagers, Theatres, Women’s Groups, Young Adults etc. You will tell us your interests in your booking.

We are volunteers too:

UVRC relies heavily on the services of over 20 Local volunteers. Other volunteers schedule appointments, compile statistics, raise funds, assist with benefit planning, conduct agency visits, and maintain agency relationships.

What UVRC will do!

  • We shall be able to ensure that Volunteers are fully deployed from the day after their arrival.
  • We shall provide suitable accommodation with bathroom facilities. This can be dormitory-type but must have separate male and female quarters. V40RC is flexible on facilities provided – which will be inspected before the start of a program. Payment for these accommodation facilities will be made to the UVRC by the volunteers themselves upon arrival.
  • We shall provide three meals daily. This can be provided in the same locations as provided for our fulltime volunteers. Western food may need not be provided, but local food shall be traditional and not exotic. Alcoholic beverages will not be provided. A facility that allows volunteers to augment their consumption at their own cost will be identified (such as access to a local store to buy Coca-Cola and cigarettes) but is not so a requirement.

Gap Year opportunities in Kamwenge

Gap year trips for school & university leavers to volunteer at our schools & health projects in rural Africa. Join Uganda Vision Resource Centre in Kamwenge Uganda on your gap year to:

  • Take part in a unique, life-changing experience
  • Make a real difference to peoples’ lives in rural Kamwenge
  • Learn new skills that future employers will value
  • Join safaris & expeditions you will remember forever
  • and have fun with new like-minded friends

Volunteering is open to all. Don’t worry if you feel you haven’t got the right experience, our team is here to help you before you come and while you are in Kamwenge to give you the support and training you need.

What makes UVRC Volunteers program unique?

Uganda Vision Resource Centre is a development focused organization with deep roots in here, working tightly with several community development projects. The organization was founded by Ugandan Social workers who understand very well where your experience and skills are needed.

We run different Community Projects in Kamwenge District where volunteers stay at Kamwenge Guest Home, live in comfortable homestay environment while they play several valuable roles in alleviating poverty in the surrounding area. Volunteers will be allocated roles teaching and supporting teachers at local schools where they will teach mainly English, IT and Physical Education. They will also be involved in HIV prevention projects in the area, generally community development projects and so many other projects as earlier indicated.

What is the Guest Home like?DSC03318

At the Guest home, food is provided by Ugandans led by Mama Trevor who cook a combination of local and western dishes. Breakfast and dinner are eaten at the Guest home and lunch is either eaten from project sites or is a packed lunch. Water is either mineral water or filtered on site for drinking. The Guest home keeps soft drinks that people can buy cheaply. When we aren’t away on field project activities, we shall have big barbecues on the weekends. Community leaders, Teachers and Church leaders sometimes invite our volunteers for dinner.DSC02985

Program Dates:This program runs all throughout the year. Program orientation will take place the second day of your arrival.

Program Duration:Volunteers can choose to volunteer for a period of 1 week to 6 months.


The approximate cost for a four-week program excluding air fare and adventure tours and trips, is US$350-650, dependent on various factors and this covers accommodation, food and ground support.


Simply contact us via the email and we will respond within 24 hours, please note that once accepted into the program, you are required to pay a booking fee of $100 prior to your coming.

Program fees: - Placement booking fee: USD$ 100 paid in 2 weeks’ time upon acceptance into the program, our program is pretty popular, so try to book as soon as possible.

After the Volunteer Coordinator has accepted you into the project, then you will have to pay a non-refundable booking fee. Since we started, the numbers of volunteers applying has increased time and again. Unfortunately only a third of those who promise that they will come, have in fact come. The wastage in Volunteer Coordinator’s time and the fact that volunteers who could have come are sometimes refused due to holding the space for someone else who didn’t turn up, has forced us to implement this policy.

We hope that by implementing this policy of the non-refundable booking fee only serious volunteers will thus secure the chance to volunteer in our projects. The booking fee will go towards paying for communication expenses incurred by the Coordinators to keep in touch with you and the projects.

1 week- USD$350

2 weeks- USD$400

3 weeks- USD$550

4 weeks- USD$650

The program fees can be paid upon arrival for proper preparations of your placement.

Additional Fees:USD$ 97.5 Airport pickup for arrival to Kampala Capital City and bus ticket from Kampala Capital City to Kamwenge paid upon arrival and later a similar amount will be paid on a return journey.

Program fees covers:

  • Pre-service (e.g. culture, health talk, program orientation, training etc);
  • 1 day sight-seeing guide around Kampala or Jinja, Equator, world heritage sites, (e.g. game parks, zoos, museums, rivers etc)
  • Accommodation, Laundry and food during placement with a host family or Guest house (3 meals a day);
  • Transportation to the project site in Kamwenge District
  • Regular follow up support / visit (1-2 week interval) by UVRC’s staff
  • Support for local staff and volunteers;

When a volunteer arrives in Uganda our Coordinator meets them at the airport and brings them to our office for orientation place in Kamwenge. From that point our volunteers spend between 1 to 3 days in our orientation program. This training provides volunteers with a very detailed understanding of how to be acquainted in Uganda’s Life and culture.

The program fee excludes the following:

  • Airfare, Visa and Visa extension fee
  • Transportation during weekends travel
  • Personal travel and sightseeing (trekking, jungle safari etc);
  • Internet access, telephone, drinks or other costs accrued during training and placement;
  • Gifts to project staff and host family, if you wish to buy any;
  • Should you wish to spend more time in Uganda pre and post placement period, please remember to budget accordingly!
  • Travel and medical insurances, immunization, health expenses;
  • You will also need a weekly budget of up to US $50-100 to cater for all your other expenses.

Program Includes:

Accommodation provided with a local host family. Family home has electricity. Volunteers have their own sleeping quarters with bed and bedding. With rural communities, there is no indoor plumbing. Outhouse facilities at the home, and fresh water available for boiling and bathing. All programs are within walking distance from the host family. Three local meals per day are provided. Airport picks up and drops off at Entebbe airport. UVRC Volunteers Project Coordinator will provide orientation tour on arrival, project briefing, an introduction to work placement and local host family.

Your Volunteer Responsibilities

You can play an important role in community outreach efforts, establishment of demonstration sites, teaching in schools, household mentoring and educating the community about HIV/AIDS. You can make a difference in the quality of someone’s life, and you can share important knowledge with others. The continuous cycle of UVRC volunteers working in placements like these, year after year, helps ensure that the efforts continue and progress is made.

There are many ways to get involved based on your skills and the needs of the specific community. You may be coordinating recreational activities for children whose families are affected by the HIV/AIDS, supporting medical professionals who are caring for patients directly, and assisting with in-home care and counseling, or assisting staff with training seminars and conferences.

There are several ways to make a difference by working with people in poverty infested communities:

  • Teach about nutrition at a center for children and pregnant women.
  • Support education through creative community outreach projects.
  • Support evangelism and ministry projects
  • Support rural water technologies

Volunteers will participate in a number of community-based activities. Each day, volunteers meet at project headquarters and take part in daily briefings, develop daily strategies and follow-up on the projects’ current plans.

One of our HIV/AIDS project’s primary aim is the creation of public awareness, and volunteers will travel from village-to-village – accompanying members of the local staff – to spread information and nurse the sick. Some activities include: providing comfort through counseling and/or spiritual guidance, distributing basic supplies (such as food, soap and clothes) administering medication to alleviate symptoms such as coughing, diarrhea, as well as assisting in the building or repairing of affected clients’ homes.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

No specific qualifications are required to join this volunteer program in Kamwenge District. Anyone with energy and interest in this issue can make a meaningful contribution, and all are welcome.

However, volunteers interested in particular projects should have interest in the project-related issues as well as have a passion for helping others. Patience and a willingness to share time, energy and compassion are also crucial important.

Placement Organization:Uganda Vision Resource Centre

Placement Location:Kamwenge District {Semi- Urban/ Rural}.

Accommodation: Host Family and Kamwenge Guest house.

Extra activities you will not miss:Culture Village visits and Kibale Forest National Park which is rich and unique habitat for more than 250 species and over 300 bird species. Visits to other National Parks and Safaris. Queen Elizabeth is just bordering Kamwenge district at one side. Water bodies include Lake George and many small crater lakes like Rwetera and Nyinaburita. Western lift valley with its escarpments, and electricity generation at River Mpanga.

Apply now and book a placement at this program:

How to apply!

Please send a copy of your resume, a list of your skills/interests, and tell us why you want to come, live and volunteer in Uganda. Our program is getting pretty popular, so try to apply well in advance of when you’re traveling. If you’re interested in volunteering with Uganda Vision  Resource Centre write to: V2040rc@gmail.com, Tel: +256-772-888149 or +256-706927637. You will receive our response within 24 hours.

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The Community Tourism Project in Western Uganda is established by Uganda Vision Resource Centre to empower Local Communities in sustainable development through small-scale tourism and local enterprises, also known as community tourism. Our community tourism involves local people in planning, decision-making and implementation of tourism development activities. This form of tourism assures that the benefits stay as much as possible in the local community.

Kisoro aggrRice-fields-in-Kisoro-District-Uganda

What is Community Tourism?

A community by definition implies individuals with some kind of collective responsibility, and the ability to make decisions by representative bodies.

Community Based Tourism is a form of sustainable tourism that allows visitors to connect closely with the communities they visit. This emerging form of travel gives tourists authentic experiences, while allowing revenue generated by tourism to remain in the often rural, poor, or economically marginalized community.

The communities run these tourism enterprises that provide services such as village tours, nature walks, performances, and meals on their own initiatives. Community ecotourism is a particular facet of community based tourism, where at least some of the experiences are natural resourced-based. Community ecotourism benefits both environmental conservation and local communities, the former generating financing for the management of the natural resource area.

Community tourism not only encourages cross-cultural understanding between host and visitor but also embraces the bottom line of environmental protection, cultural conservation, social responsibility, economic health, and the enhancement of livelihoods. Because communities are the owners of these tourism enterprises, they have the incentive to establish standards for international tourists and invest in a quality tourism product. As such, Community Tourism is promoted as a means of development where the social, economic, and environmental needs of local communities are met through the offering of a tourism product.

Community based tourism is tourism in which local residents (often rural, poor and economically marginalized) invite tourists to visit their communities with the provision of overnight accommodation, feeding and laundry services.

The residents earn income as land managers, entrepreneurs, service and produce providers, and employees. At least part of the tourist income is set aside for projects which provide benefits to the community as a whole.

Community based tourism enables the tourist to discover local habitats and wildlife, and celebrates and respects traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. The community will be aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will foster community based conservation of these resources.

The tourist accommodation and facilities are of sufficient standard for Western visitors, albeit those expecting simple rural accommodation. The community has continuous access to a phone (which might be required for any assistance) and daily access to email (which is required by operators to confirm bookings).

Virunga Volcanoes thefancycomMuhabura Mountain

In this community tourism project Uganda Vision Resource Centre partners with the community and other local partners to provide clients, marketing, tourist accommodation or other expertise. Subject to agreement to the ideals of supporting community development and conservation, and to planning the tourism development in partnership with the community, Uganda Vision Resource Centre may or may not own part of the tourism enterprise. The community tourism at Uganda Vision Resource Centre has two goals to achieve;

1. Tourism that benefits local people

Community tourism which community-based is a form of tourism aims to include and benefit local communities, particularly indigenous peoples and villagers in the rural communities. For instance, community people might host tourists in their village, managing the scheme communally and sharing the profits. In this community tourism project, the ‘community’ works with Vision 2040 Resource Centre, ensuring that all community tourism projects give local people a fair share of the benefits/profits and a say in deciding how incoming tourism is managed.

2. Tourism that benefits tourists

These tours open up a world of adventure and opportunity. Our tourists take the opportunity to visit the National Parks, trek through the mountains; experience the magic of the Uganda’s hot springs, enjoy happy moments with local art and music while learning a great deal of Ugandan tradition and cultures. Our good community-based tours take you beyond mainstream tourism. You’ll meet people from different cultures and learn far more about them and their culture than on conventional tours. You’ll feel better knowing that your visit is genuinely helping your hosts. And if you want to simply lie on a beach…. well, there are tours here that feature some of the best beaches on the planet.

ankole prestigeAmatsyo ga Nkole nago gakahwaho

Our Community tourism ensures that it…

  • Is run with the involvement and consent of local communities. (Local people participate in planning and managing the tour.)
  • Gives a fair share of profits back to the local community. (Ideally this includes community projects (health, schools, women groups, child care centres, refugee settlements etc).)
  • Involves communities rather than individuals. (Working with individuals can disrupt social structures.)
  • Is environmentally sustainable. (Local people are involved if conservation projects.)
  • Respects traditional culture and social structures.
  • Has a mechanism to help communities cope with the impact of western tourists.
  • Keeps groups small to minimize cultural / environmental impact.
  • Briefs tourists before the trip on appropriate behaviour.
  • Doesn’t make local people perform inappropriate ceremonies, etc.
  • Leave communities alone if they don’t want tourism. (People have the right to say ‘no’ to tourism.)


Our Community-Based Tourism Development Strategy

Uganda Vision Resource Centre uses Community-based Tourism development strategy to mobilize communities into action to participate in broadening the scope of offerings in the industry. The goal is socio-economic empowerment and a value-added experience for local and foreign visitors. This process opens new niches for destination Uganda, most notably for the nature, culture, and adventure traveler. Uganda Vision Resource Centre encourages local entrepreneurs to reap the benefits of the tourism industry.

This concept gives visitors an opportunity of a ‘home away from home’ with Ugandan families – participating in, and learning about the Ugandan way of life while experiencing warm Ugandan hospitality. This fosters greater interactivity, build cross cultural bonds, respect and understanding, and gives authenticity to Ugandan lifestyles, while creating a source of income for the host community.

Tourism-based development at Uganda Vision Resource Centre is being formalized as a developmental tool for building not only the tourism industry, but the entire country, by opening up communities as attractions with definable modus operanda with achievable goals. The process is guided by industry standards of health, safety and regard for the environment. What this achieves is a policy objective of creating a culture of inclusion in the industry, whereby communities participate and share in the wealth of the industry, dispelling a long held perception of tourism as an exploiter of wealth where only the rich can benefit.

Community-based tourism development empowers people to be more aware of the value of their community assets – their culture, heritage, cuisine and lifestyle. It mobilizes them to convert these into income generating projects while offering a more diverse and worthwhile experience to visitors. Every citizen is a potential business partner to be trained in small business management, environmental awareness, product development and marketing. This type of ‘people-centered’ tourism promotes a sense of ‘ownership’ which augurs well for the industry’s sustainability.


Benefits of community based tourism:

The community:

  • Brings recognition and attention to the community
  • Adds value to a community’s economy
  • Diversifies economic activity in a community
  • Provides an alternative to unsustainable forms of income such as poaching or logging, thus helping safeguard the livelihoods and well being of both locals and indigenous peoples
  • Natural resource-based conservation, where the main product is wildlife or natural-resource related
  • Cultural conservation
  • Tourism income is more likely to remain in the community
  • Encourages community pride and protection of community resources
  • Involves and encourages the participation of women

The tourist:

  • Receives an authentic experience and learns first-hand about the community from   a local guide
  • Has an opportunity to create a deeper connection to the community
  • Knows exactly where the money will go and can feel good about it
  • In the case of ecotourism, achieves a win-win benefits for supporting natural heritage conservation
  • Gets a unique look at a particular destination

Receives personal tour, individualized service, and attention


Please note that Uganda Vision Resource Centre is an umbrella brand that markets community based tourism destinations and enterprises in Western Uganda. When we speak of community-based tourism, the most popular image tends to be a rural village far from the beaten path, and for good reason. Most are. Examples include Kigezi and communities in the Rwenzori region.

Rural community tourism in the Rwenzori region, for example, is a showcase of conservation of large tracts of virgin rainforest, reforestation work and organic agriculture. Travelers can support this work through their visits. While it’s a romantic notion to limit one’s notion of community tourism to rural settlements, the concept of ‘community’ can easily be linked to urban populations.

Successful community tourism is mutually beneficial — for the communities and for the travelers. The big question is where to go? Successful community-based tourism succeeds when it achieves mutual benefits for locals and visitors.

4Abeshongozi ba Ankole nibatangirira enganzi ya BugandaAmatsyo ga Nkole nago gakahwahoankole prestigeUGA1362.jpgKuhingira73323101countryside-guesthousegorilla-forest-campHabukomi IslandKabale-Kisoro-RoadKisoro aggrKisoro TownKisoro villagelake-chahafi-resortLand Mark Tours and Travel Guest House 2mucha-bistro-guesthouse (1)Muhabura MountainRice-fields-in-Kisoro-District-Ugandasawasawa-guest-houseuganda-1Virunga Volcanoes thefancycom2302510871_476c847fb7bufuski-polotokDSC03785DSC03786DSC03788DSC03789DSC03790DSC03792DSC03793DSC03795DSC03796DSC03797DSC03827DSC03833Ebyoburambuzi Lake BunyonyiEdirisa Canoe treckingObu nobwiire bwokutebekanisa emisiri y'emonde

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Facilitating Teaching and Learning in Primary Schools

2013 – 2040 Agenda















Uganda Vision Resource Centre (UVRC)

P.O. BOX 1436 Kamwenge, Uganda.

Tel: 0772888149, 0752888149, 0706927637

Email: v2040rc@gmail.com, s.fenekansi@yahoo.com.

Website: http://v2040rc.wordpress.com




We are the people of Uganda Vision Resource Centre (UVRC). Uganda Vision  Resource Centre is a Christian-based non-denominational Organization, founded by a team of Christians Social Entrepreneurs in 2012 in Kamwenge District Uganda. We work in Kamwenge District where our organization is registered as a Community Based Organization (CBO). Among various programs implemented at UVRC we have the Education Support Program (ESP) aimed at facilitating schools, communities and families to ensure success in learning of the children.

What we believe in/our motivation toward education development

As Christians, we believe that God designed man as spiritual as well as physical and social beings, and our aim is to minister to the needs of the whole person.

We believe that teaching is a universal pursuit-everybody does it. Parents teach their children, employers teach their employees, coaches teach their players, wives teach their husbands (and vice versa), Christian leaders teach their parishioners and, of course, professional teachers teach their students.

We believe in teachers who spend an amazing amount of time teaching young people. Some of that time is richly rewarding because helping children of any age learn new skills or acquire new insights is a joyous experience. It makes one feel good-as a parent, a teacher, or leader to contribute to the growth of a child, to realize one has given something of oneself to enrich the life of another human being. It is exhilarating to watch a young person take from a teaching relationship something new that will expand his understanding of the world or add to his repertoire of skills.

But as everybody knows, teaching young people can also be terribly frustrating and fraught with disappointment. All too often, parents, teachers, and other educators discover to their dismay that their enthusiastic desire to teach something worthwhile to young people somehow fails to engender an enthusiastic desire in their students to learn. Instead, those who endeavor to teach encounter stubborn resistance, low motivation, short attention spans, inexplicable disinterest, and often open hostility.

When young people, seemingly without reason, refuse to learn what adults are so unselfishly and altruistically willing to teach them, teaching is anything but exhilarating. In fact, it can be a miserable experience leading to feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, sheer exasperation and, too frequently, deep resentment toward the unwilling and ungrateful learner.

Uganda Vision Resource Centre Education Programs (ESP) uses a mentoring model of teaching, which was demonstrated by Jesus as He taught His disciples. He taught people; He fed the hungry, compassionately cared for those in need and taught His followers to do the same. Christian educators who follow this example can powerfully impact their entire society.

Our Education Development Philosophy

Over the past one year of our existence, Uganda Vision Resource Centre has developed a philosophy of education development with three basic components.

First and most obvious is the emphasis on high-quality affordable education for rural children. With its booming information economy, Uganda is a land where a good education is often a ticket out of poverty, but it is also a land with extraordinary educational stratification: children with opportunity and means can get an excellent education, while the majority of children have access to poor schools with poor home back ground. Rural schools are notoriously poor in contemporary Uganda.

Second is extra-curricular support for learners. Children from poor rural backgrounds often lack the confidence, knowledge, connections, and family support needed to move into good careers. Therefore ESP staffs and volunteers are to take personal interest in learners and assist in various ways, including providing personal counseling, persuading parents to keep children in school, and providing logistical support for schools and the learners.

Third is to put in place strategies aimed at keeping graduates connected to their home areas. Helping rural youths graduate and move to middle class careers in the city only depletes rural resources unless the graduates remain closely involved with their home communities. ESP will encourage graduates who have gotten excellent jobs in Kampala and elsewhere to intervene in children’s education back in the village. Graduates also will be encouraged to return to participate in village life, and offer advice and encouragement to younger students.

The goal of ESP is therefore, to mobilize, and strengthen capacities of Community leaders, schools, and families to work in their areas of influence to address education concerns in Kamwenge District.

Our aim is Student Successes

Learners’ success is what drives us to take actions to continue. Learners want to succeed. Normally successful learners begin each year believing that they will do well. Typically unsuccessful learners also start each year with the hope that this year might be different. It is our job as education supporters to work with teachers to foster that hope and find ways to help every learner become successful. Obviously, this is not 100% possible, but does not mean it’s not a goal to strive for.

At Uganda Vision Resource Centre-ESP we work to improve access and the quality of education supporting Kamwenge communities to achieve their future goals. We work with local guardians and stakeholders to improve educational facilities and the lives of students. We continue to work diligently towards the goals we first set out for ourselves and appreciate the support from other partners and stakeholders.

Our Mission

Uganda Vision Resource Centre is dedicated to improving the tomorrow of Kamwenge communities through the education of today’s children. We believe that the only way to improve tomorrow’s options and outcomes in Kamwenge is through education today.

Our Vision

We seek to support children, families, and their communities in their educational goals and to work alongside the existing educational systems with leadership present in local communities. Our vision is therefore focused on access, quality, and success in education.

Educational Access – We believe that every Kamwenge Child should have access to education. We work to identify potential roadblocks to educational attainment. We provide support, and programs to meet the identified needs and assist individual children in gaining access to education.

Educational Quality – We believe that every Kamwenge people should participate in and experience high quality education in preparation for the future. We support the work of parents and guardians through instruction, assessment, and training to enhance the educational experience.

Educational Success – We believe that every Kamwenge people should have the opportunity to achieve success through education. We work to increase school completion and attendance rates, decrease failure and dropout rates, and promote achievement in Ugandan education.

General Aim

Our aim is help every child achieve the highest degree of individual development of which he/she  is capable, keeping in mind the needs and values of the society he/she is living in.

To work with schools and families to stimulate in our pupils a sense of pride in their national heritage and culture, respect for their environment and the ability to observe only the best of other cultures.

Academic Aims

Development of skills, qualities of character, knowledge and physical well being.

To achieve personal satisfaction in an academic medium.

To provide learning opportunities where the child can be creative and use one’s initiative.

To foster an inquiring attitude among children.

To develop capacities for thought and judgment.

Social and Moral Aims

We promote social awareness of oneself and others.

We work with schools to provide the opportunity for children to interact with each other and with adults in a pleasant way, both at school and in other communities, thus becoming aware of the needs of others.

While acknowledging differences, they learn to appreciate and respect others.  We try to instill a code of social and moral behavior based on religious principles.

We work with schools to prepare our children for decent leisure and recreation.  The school tries to make the children understand that in a democratic society each individual has duties and obligations to the community as well as rights within it.

Religious aims

Education is at the service of ‘human maturity’.  It aims at the most complete achievement of varied activity expressing the potentialities of students in the context of their social environment.

The general objectives of religious education is to transmit, evoke and acquire knowledge, attitudes, values, skills and sensibilities according to the mind, values and sensibilities of God the creator. Religion is used as the service of the art of life in the religious dimension.

Though the core of the religious message is not primarily the ethical dimension, yet the religious message finds its concrete expression in character formation and good behavior.

In this Education Support Program we work with Kamwenge schools to improve the quality and competences in teaching and learning of these important subjects;

1. Language (English/Runyakitara)

A good level of both English and Runyakitara is necessary for good communication.  This interaction between sender and receiver occurs very clearly in spoken communications, yet this process characterizes itself in written communication as well.  Reading is also a process of negotiation.  This highly complex activity involves knowledge, abilities and skills.  Children make sense of experience by learning to ask the right questions and by talking or writing about it.  It is through language that children come to explore other areas of knowledge in the school curriculum by exercising the communication abilities i.e. interpretation, expression, negotiation and practice.

Initially, the teaching of English as a standard language is based also on an informal communicative approach, where we offer plenty of opportunities for learning through activity, e.g. during art and craft, Physical Education, music/ rhymes and outings.

2. Mathematics

In order that children grow to love Mathematics, we work with schools to see that the subject is taught in a concrete, practical and active way as much as possible. Pupils are more likely to develop mathematical concepts that will help them for later on at school if they can associate what they learn with real life experiences. Mathematics introduces our young pupils to logical and clarity of thought.

3. Art and Craft

Art is an expressive and communicative force encouraging the ability to perceive, understand and express concepts and feelings in a visual and tactile form.  It heightens visual and intellectual awareness through direct participation in practical skills:  drawing, painting, printing, modeling, carving, building, etc. and the handling of different media e.g. chalk, pencil, crayons, poster/water/finger colours, powder paints, paper, cardboard, plasticine, wood,  stone, leaves, flowers, etc.

Art and craft leads the pupil to a more lively appreciation of the natural and man-made environment and a greater understanding of the self.  It fosters in children a positive outlook, an enthusiasm to try things out and eventually reach a stage of maturity which will enable them to enjoy ideas, creating, researching and looking for beauty throughout the rest of their lives.  Art gives form to thought and so renders visible those ideas which would otherwise have remained intangible notions if taught solely through literacy and numeracy.

4. Physical Education

A complete programme aiming for the acquisition of movement skills including locomotor and nonlocomotor skills, as well as manipulative skills.

We work with schools so that this programme is followed regularly so that pupils master skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities.  By year three in school each pupil should know the implications of and benefits from involvement in physical activities especially the values and contributions it gives to a healthy lifestyle.

5. Drama/Projected Play

Projected play is drama in which the whole mind is used but the body is not used so fully.  Treasures (dolls, bricks, any object upon which love is provided) are used which either take on characters of the mind or become part of the place.  The child stands, sits, lies prone or squats and uses the hands mainly.  The main action takes place outside the body and the whole is characterized by extreme mental absorption.   The object played with rather than the person playing takes on life and does the acting, though there may be vigorous use of voice.  This type of Projected play is used mainly by lower primary pupils and it leads to the mastering of various skills e.g. observation, patience, concentration and organization.

Drama, proper is obvious personal play in which the whole person or self is used.  It is typical movement and characterization.

Pupils experience being things and people. Dance also forms part of Drama. The child takes upon himself/herself the responsibility of playing a role. Through drama pupils develop many skills the most important being leadership and personal control.

6. Music

Through music children learn to appreciate another form of art.

Initially children listen to different types of music on various instruments and they express their feelings about particular sounds.  Thus they learn to be critical and analytical.  Gradually they are introduced to singing accompanied by the instruments.

Music helps children express their feelings.  They will also be introduced to certain rules, like standing up straight and breathing well while singing, good timing, voice control and projection.

Through musical performances children gain confidence on stage. Music also helps children develop their personality and all children benefit from it.

7. Computer Studies

Our aim is to work with schools so that Computer Studies are initiated in primary 1 and proceed to primary 7. Lessons are aimed to provide a comprehensive guide to information technology.

By using the most popular software packages in education, lessons are planned to help children explore the unlimited potential of the computer.

Children are introduced to the concept of the following applications and then given step by step description of how to use them.

·        Word processor

·        Computer Graphics

·        Desk Top Publisher

·        Spread Sheet

·        Multi-Media

·        Internet

Computer studies will be amalgamated with all other subjects in the curriculum.  Software tackling subjects like Maths, English Language, Geography, Science, Media etc. will be used during the lesson to reinforce class explanations

8. Science

Science starts in Primary 1 and goes on to Primary 7.  Science is about making hypotheses and testing them out, so children are encouraged to try out things whenever possible.  Many of the activities that are carried out in class are developed further, providing openings for discussion and investigation.  We try to make science appeal not only to the scientifically inclined child but also as a general introduction to the subject for all children.

9. Social Studies

Social Studies start in primary 3 and continue in primary 7.  This subject is made up of three components, Geography, History and Civics.


At the Primary Level, we work with schools to see that children are taught how to learn and solve problems on their own by experiencing things themselves.  A good use of visual aids and educational toys help make learning more effective and interesting. Homework is given to reinforce what is done in class and also an opportunity for parents to take part in the learning of their children from home.

Children are continuously assessed throughout their process of education which introduces and reinforces concepts and activities as the children go from one stage to another.

The staff of ESP works with school teachers as a team so as to ensure continuity and balance between the cognitive, socio-affective and motor skills. A child’s introduction to school is of utmost importance, as these first impressions may well influence the rest of the child’s life.

Specific aims of ESP

  • To make all children happy at school.  If children are happy in their environment, their minds will be at peace and hence open to learning and receptive to new ideas.
  • To provide an all-round education.  The whole child is considered to be important i.e. the physical, mental, emotional and moral aspect is emphasized.  All this provides a strong foundation that will later help our pupils become eager students, self-confident and able to interact favorably with each other and with adults, both at school and in other communities.
  • To make them aware of their needs and the needs of others. This builds love, care and compassion.

Before Primary level which begins at 6 years of a child, we have three initial levels of learning; we encourage parents and schools to organise children at these levels and well prepare them for primary school level. They include;

1. Playgroups (2 – 3 Year Olds)

We believe that this class is an extension of the family, with the added advantage that children can interact with each other.

In the playgroup, children learn rhymes, simple prayers and various simple tasks.  They play with educational toys, all leading to the gradual development of the motor skills, they integrate in groups and thus they learn how to share, wait, obey, etc.   All this helps the child to adapt himself/herself to a life in society.

2. Pre-primary 1 (3 – 4 Year Olds)

In pre-primary 1 level, basic training is introduced such as walking in line and table manners.

Social training in sharing, waiting, obedience and helping classmates are emphasized.

Nothing is more precious than establishing good habits and attitudes because little things established at this tender age remain for life.

Children are encouraged to express themselves orally in English and Runyakitara, to communicate through mime and art work.

Art and Craft

Great importance is given to art and craft, and this forms part of their daily activity.  We support Nursery schools to ensure that Children make use of educational toys such as building blocks, jigsaw puzzles, plasticine, etc.  They learn to use pencils, paint brushes, scissors, etc. These activities stimulate the children’s imagination and promote initiative.

Numbers, Letters and Shapes

We work with Nursery schools to ensure that Children are introduced gradually to the world of shapes, starting with the most basic ones, such as triangles, squares, circles, rectangles and ovals.

Pupils also practice pre-mathematics skills such as sorting, matching, ordering and the like.  Recognition and evaluation within 10. Through play, children are also introduced to the basic colours.

The letters of the alphabet are taught phonetically.  Words are introduced so that the child can relate the phonetic sound with an actual utterance.


We encourage Nursery schools to ensure that Children recite prayers as a class following a familiar pattern everyday; the sign of the Cross, simple children’s prayers and singing of hymns.

3. Pre-primary II (4 – 5 Year Olds)

The curriculum of pre-primary I is repeated and reinforced. ESP works with nursery schools in the teaching and learning of these subjects;


Additionally, pupils in pre-primary II practice more number work within 10, e.g. classifying, one to one mapping, sorting and evaluation.  By now pupils can write all the numbers up to ten and relate a number to its proper value.


By the end of the year, children are familiar with the sound of each letter of the alphabet in English and they would have received enough practice in learning to form all the letters of the alphabet.

Children are prepared for “Reading Readiness”.  Pictures and work-books provide material for conversation, and encourage the child’s observational technique and hand/eye co-ordination.  Pictures stimulate and extend children’s language development.

Spoken English

Children are encouraged to speak in English about various topics in order to promote a growing ability in listening and speaking.  Hence the importance of story telling, where children learn to listen to a story and later talk about what they would have listened to.


Nursery rhymes are sung and acted, using a set of instruments or a cassette recorder.  This gives opportunities for movement, response to commands such as clapping to rhythm, singing of nursery rhymes and learning of simple action songs from music available. Through nursery rhymes and songs, children also develop their language.

We work with schools to ensure that concert is held every year.  This allows the children to express their talents and creativity in music and drama.

 Physical Education

Simple exercises, running on the spot, jumping, stretching, etc. Different ways of moving our body: fast, slow, high and low etc. Imitation of animals and things around us:  galloping, hopping, flying etc.


All this work is done in an atmosphere of play and fun.  ESP works with schools to ensure that Learning becomes an enjoyable event and hence our children are introduced to the later world of formal learning in the most enjoyable ways.

We feel that parents should play a vital role in their children’s education and progress; therefore we try to establish close ties and co-operation between the school and the home environment.

While lots of things are important, we need to hone in on the few factors that make a big difference in learning, such as motivating our teachers and holding them accountable, and creating an environment for children that is engaging and interactive. All these are possible; there is clear evidence of success from within the schools of Kamwenge.

ESP works to help Parents and the Community to share experiences and knowledge about education through village meetings and school meetings and other meetings as friends of learning.

Working with parents and guardians we teach our children how to learn. Once children learn how to learn, nothing is going to narrow their mind. The purpose of education is to replace an empty, closed mind with an open one. 

Parents, volunteers, teachers, community leaders, and friends of learning are encouraged to engage in the learning of the children. Educating a child is an honor to the Nation, community, village, Family and the child.

Teachers Support Strategies

ESP works with teachers to implement strategies that will make a teacher successful both in and outside of the classroom. We work with teachers to first of all generate a good reason for being a teacher. The reason has to be powerful enough to propel a teacher, regardless of many challenges that may come their way.

There are plenty of people out there who will tell you teaching won’t work… that teachers are nuts… that a teacher will never be rich. We all know some people like that… always ready to rain on your parade.

We know that teaching is a rewarding yet demanding profession, one in which a person needs to be fully prepared. ESP focuses on the applied psychological skills, strategies and resources, which will help to ensure, a teacher is equipped with personal and professional expertise to survive both in and out of the classroom.

ESP considers, reflects upon and offers strategies for improving psychological aspects, such as motivation, confidence and self-esteem, emotions, mood and stress, and crucially, adapting to change. It reviews, establishing successful strategies concerning health, nutrition and hydration which fuel and energize successful teaching. It evaluates setting goals, learning how to relax, cognitive restructuring and developing mental resilience for the tough journey towards successful teaching. Finally, it prepares the teacher for the ongoing journey towards excellence and success in teaching.

Teachers always find themselves put under pressure by government strategies, management, students, parents, and their own families, not to mention self-imposed pressures! ESP guides the teacher to identify problems through targeted reflection and suggests strategies to suit the individual.

Final outcomes will have a common thread, that of a happier, healthier, self-confident and therefore more motivated and effective teacher. We find this program helpful to empower teachers to understand how they think and work and how to control and use these traits to improve their lives and careers. The activities and reflections are thought provoking and lead the individual teacher to solutions and satisfying actions.

Our effort is focused at Teacher Effectiveness Improvement. The Methodology Proven to Help Teachers Bring Out the Best in Students of All Ages. For many years, Teacher Effectiveness Improvement strategy has taught hundreds of thousands of teachers around the world the skills they need to deal with the inevitable teaching problems effectively and humanely. Now revised and updated, the methodology can mean the difference between an unproductive, disruptive classroom and a cooperative, productive environment in which students flourish and teachers feel rewarded. Teachers will learn;

•How to talk so that students will listen
•How to resolve conflicts so no one loses and no one gets hurt
•How to best help students when they’re having a problem
•How to set classroom rules so that far less enforcement is necessary
• How to increase teaching and learning time

• How to relate with fellow teachers

• How to create good relationship with your bosses and your subordinates

•What to do when students give you problems

Teacher Effectiveness Improvement strategy is about how teaching can become remarkably more effective than it usually is-about how it can bring more knowledge and maturity to learners while simultaneously cutting down on conflicts and creating more rewarding teaching time for teachers.

Teachers spend an amazing amount of time teaching young people. Some of that time is richly rewarding because helping children of any age learn new skills or acquire new insights is a joyous experience. It makes one feel good-as a parent, a teacher, or leader to contribute to the growth of a child, to realize one has given something of oneself to enrich the life of another human being. It is exhilarating to watch a young person take from a teaching relationship something new that will expand his understanding of the world or add to his repertoire of skills.

What makes the difference between teaching that works and teaching that fails, teaching that brings rewards and teaching that causes pain? Certainly, many different factors influence the outcome of one’s efforts to teach another. But it is the thesis of this program that one factor contributes the most-namely, the degree of effectiveness of the teacher in establishing a particular kind of relationship with students.

It is the quality of the teacher-learner relationship that is crucial-more crucial, in fact, than what the teacher is teaching, how the teacher does it, or whom the teacher is trying to teach. How to achieve this effective quality is what this program is all about.

Our tools for Teacher Effectiveness Improvement include;


1. Top Reasons to Become a Teacher

Teaching is a special calling. It is not a job well-suited to everyone. In fact, many new teachers leave within the first 3-5 years of teaching. However, there are many rewards that come with this oft maligned career.

ESP identifies the top ten reasons why teaching can be a great profession. When anyone in the teaching profession or aspiring to be a teacher stands on these reasons he/she is most likely to succeed. They include;

A. Student Potential

Though, not every learner will succeed in your class. It is important to believe that every learner can succeed. If you believe it, learners will realize it and work harder. When a teacher doesn’t truly believe that each learner can succeed in his or her class, this comes through to the learners and can truly be detrimental. Therefore, when a teacher has “building people’s potential as his/her reason of being a teacher it is enough to generate motivation for success:

B. Student Successes

Closely related to student’s potential, learners’ success is what drives teachers to continue. Each learner who didn’t understand a concept and then learned it through your help can be exhilarating. And when you actually reach that learner that others have written off as being un-teachable, this can truly be worth all the headaches that do come with the job.

C. Teaching a Subject Helps You Learn a Subject

You will never learn a topic better than when you start teaching it. There is an old adage that it takes three years of teaching to truly master a subject and by experience this is the truth. So, someone interested in learning something will teach it with great energy well considering himself/herself the first learn in his/her lesson

D. Daily Humor

If you have a positive attitude and a sense of humor, you will find things to laugh about each day. Sometimes it will be silly jokes you will make up as you teach that might get a laugh from your learners. Sometimes it will be jokes that kids share with you. And sometimes learners will come out with the funniest statements without realizing what they’ve said. Find the fun and enjoy it!

E. Affecting the Future

Yes it might be trite, but it is true. Teachers mold the future each day in class. In fact, it is true that you will see some of these learners more consistently day-to-day than their parents will. Senior teachers will tell you that there is no joyful moment like when you meet your old students longer after their schooling. Therefore, teachers who value positive contribution to others lives will greatly be motivated in their teaching services.


F. Staying Younger

Being around young people everyday will help you remain knowledgeable about current trends and ideas. It also helps break down barriers. This is one of the greatest reasons for those who love the teaching profession.


G. Autonomy in the Classroom

Once a teacher enters that classroom each day and begins teaching, they really are the ones who decide what’s going to happen. Not many jobs provide an individual with so much room to be creative and autonomous each day.

H. Conducive to Family Life

If you have children, the school calendar will typically allow you to have the same days off as your kids. Further, while you might bring work home with you to grade, you will probably be getting home close to the same time as your children. This is a good reason for parents who want to take carriers that will give them enough time with their families.

I. Job Security

In many areas, teachers are a scarce commodity. It is fairly certain that you will be able to find a job as a teacher, though you might have to wait until the start of a new school year and be willing to travel within your county/school district. While requirements might be different from district to district, once you have proven yourself a successful teacher, it is relatively easy to move around and find a new job.

J. Holiday off

In Uganda, there is no area that has a year-round-education system like in some other countries, you will have a couple of days off after every term, three times a year where you can choose to get a holiday job or work in your farm or just relax and vacation. Further, you typically get more days off for Christmas than any other employees are given which can really be a huge benefit and provide much needed rest time.


2. Top Things to Consider Before Becoming a Teacher


Through ESP we meet college students and support them by discussing the most critical factors that are key to teaching profession. Teaching is truly a noble profession. It is also a very time consuming one, requiring a commitment on your part. Teaching can be very demanding but can also be extremely rewarding. Here are some of the things ESP encourages teachers to consider before taking up teaching as your chosen career. This helps the teachers to join the profession when well prepared for it.

A. Time Commitment

In order to be an effective teacher, you need to realize that the time you are at work – those 8 hours – really must be spent with the kids. This means that creating lesson plans and grading assignments will probably take place on “your own time.” Further, to truly relate to your learners you will probably be involved in their activities – attending sporting activities and school plays, sponsoring a club or a class, or going on trips with your learners for various reasons. Teachers who can understand this before can effectively do the job.

B. Pay

People often make a big deal about teacher pay. It is true that teachers do not make as much money as many other professionals, especially over time. However, each district can vary widely on teacher pay. Further, when you look at how much you are being paid, make sure to think of it in terms of the number of months worked. For example, if you are starting out with a 250,000 Uganda shillings salary but you are off for 4 months every year, then you should take this into account, that each year you earn a million shillings while off duty. Many teachers will plan other jobs or business for holidays to help increase their yearly salary.

C. Respect or Lack Thereof

Many people think teaching is an odd profession, both revered and pitied at the same time. You will probably find that when you tell some people you are a teacher they will in fact offer you their condolences. They might even say they couldn’t do your job. However, don’t be surprised if they then go on to tell you a horror story about their own teachers or their child’s education. It is an odd situation and you should face it with your eyes wide open. ESP helps teachers to understand this factor and positively consider it not to allow it to destroy they good cause.

D. Community Expectations

Everyone has an opinion of what a teacher should be doing. As a teacher you will have a lot of people pulling you in different directions. The modern teacher wears many hats. They act as educator, coach, activity sponsor, nurse, career advisor, parent, friend, and innovator. Realize that in any one class, you will have learners of varying levels and abilities and you will be judged on how well you can reach each learner by individualizing their education. This is the challenge of education but at the same time can make it a truly rewarding experience.

E. Emotional Commitment

Teaching is not a desk job. It requires you to “put yourself out there” and be on each day. Great teachers emotionally commit to their subject matter and their learners. Realize that learners seem to feel a sense of “ownership” over their teachers. They assume that you are there for them. They assume that your life revolves around them. It is not uncommon for a learner to be surprised to see you behaving normally in everyday society. Further, depending on the size of the community where you will be teaching, you need to understand that you will be running into your learners pretty much everywhere you go. Thus, expect somewhat of a lack of anonymity in the community.


3. Keys to Being a Successful Teacher

The most successful teachers share some common characteristics. Here are some of the top keys to being a successful teacher. We closely work with teachers so that every teacher can benefit from focusing on these important qualities. Success in teaching, as in most areas of life, depends almost entirely on your attitude and your approach.

A. Sense of Humor

ESP works with teachers to understand and develop a sense of humor. A sense of humor can help you become a successful teacher. Your sense of humor can relieve tense classroom situations before they become disruptions. A sense of humor will also make class more enjoyable for your learners and possibly make students look forward to attending and paying attention. Most importantly, a sense of humor will allow you to see the joy in life and make you a happier person as you progress through this sometimes stressful career. Humor will give you ability to detect a problem in class before it becomes an emergency.

Humor in the classroom is one of the most effective tools you have in your teaching arsenal. It can diffuse tense situations. It can make you appear more human to your learners. Even if your jokes fall flat, learners will still appreciate your attempt.


B. A Positive Attitude

Through our time proven tools we work to build a positive attitude among teachers. A positive attitude is a great asset in life. You will be thrown many curve balls in life and especially in the teaching profession. A positive attitude will help you cope with these in the best way. For example, you may find out the first day of school that you are teaching Algebra 2 instead of Algebra 1. This would not be an ideal situation, but a teacher with the right attitude would try to focus on getting through the first day without negatively impacting the students.

The first day of school! Students are ready, and despite their own denials, eager to learn. Most of them will approach the New Year with a desire to do better. How do we keep this eagerness alive? Teachers must create a safe, positive classroom environment where an expectation of achievement exists. Use the following tips to help begin your year positively.

The importance of setting a positive tone at the beginning of a new school year cannot be stressed enough. Despite their grumblings, students truly want to learn. How many times have you heard students speak disparagingly about classes where they sit around and do nothing all period long? Make your classroom a place of learning where your upbeat, positive nature is reflex.

C. High Expectations

Supporting teachers to develop high expectations of their work is very essential. An effective teacher must have high expectations. You should strive to raise the bar for your students. If you expect less effort you will receive less effort. You should work on an attitude that says that you know students can achieve to your level of expectations, thereby giving them a sense of confidence too. This is not to say that you should create unrealistic expectations. However, your expectations will be one of the key factors in helping students learn and achieve.


D. Creating an academic environment

It’s unfortunate that low expectations have become the norm for both teachers and students. Many teachers do not want to fight against the expectations that students have because realigning their thinking is both time consuming and difficult. However, it can be done!

Students might come into your classroom with expectations of how you are going to act and what they will be expected to do. However, just because they harbor these beliefs does not mean that you have to conform to the mediocrity that has become much of teaching.

Well, this brings up to the term firm. Discipline in your classroom should never be about raised voices and confrontations. It should be about consistent application of established rules. Further, learning will occur in a safe environment if the teacher establishes from the beginning that they will be fair but firm.

Teachers, we are representatives of our discipline. It is our responsibility to commit ourselves to teaching an academic course of study. It is a sad state that learners are surprised when teachers come in and actually expect their learners to learn – not just to regurgitate the facts that they read in a text. However, if we fail to create an academic environment, we leave learners with the implicit knowledge that school is optional and therefore learning is not that important or it is for the ‘brains’ of the school and not them.


E. Consistency

ESP supports teachers with skills and benefits of consistency. One important teaching strategy is that you be consistent. In order to create a positive learning environment your learners should know what to expect from you each day and they will be more likely to succeed. You need to be consistent. This will create a safe learning environment for the learners and they will be more likely to succeed. It is amazing that learners can adapt to teachers throughout the day that range from strict to easy. However, they will dislike an environment in which the rules are constantly changing.

Consistency means that you come into class on the first day of school and assume that learning begins that day. You let students know right away that they might play in other classrooms but not yours. And then you follow through! You do not come to class unprepared (you wouldn’t expect your students to!) You instead come with a lesson that begins at the beginning of class and ends at the end.

Further, you act the same every day. You might not feel the best or you might be having a bad day because of something going on at home or at work, but you do not change your demeanor or, more importantly, the way you handle discipline problems. If you are not consistent, you will lose all credibility with students and the atmosphere you are trying to create will quickly disintegrate.

F. Fairness

Many people confuse fairness and consistency. A consistent teacher is the same person from day to day. A fair teacher treats students equally in the same situation. For example, learners complain of unfairness when teachers treat one gender or group of learners differently. It would be terribly unfair to go easier on the football players in a class than on the cheerleaders. Learners pick up on this so quickly, so be careful of being labeled unfair.

Fairness goes hand in hand with consistency. Do not treat kids differently. Sure, you will have personal likes and dislikes for different students, however, never let this bleed into your classroom. If you are unfair, you will quickly lose students who will not trust you. And trust is paramount for an effective academic classroom.

What this means is that you need to help the students understand that what you say is what you mean. And you must also help the students see that you believe in their abilities. Tell the students you know that they can learn what you are teaching, show them by your rapt attention, and then reinforce this by praising authentic achievements.

G. Flexibility

One of the tenets of teaching should be that everything is in a constant state of change. Interruptions and disruptions are the norm and very few days are ‘typical’. Therefore, a flexible attitude is important not only for your stress level but also for your learners who expect you to be in charge and take control of any situation.

4. Lessons to Learn From Successful Teachers:

ESP puts in place a set of lessons learned over time from successful teachers to be shared with the current teachers. The teachers we admire most are those who remain intellectually curious and professionally vital both inside and outside the classroom for decades. They avoid stagnation at all costs and maintain an enviable passion for children and the learning process. They remain vivid in the students’ memories forever because of their creativity, sense of fun, and compassion. Here are more qualities ESP feels contribute most to a successful, durable, and happy teaching career:

A. They think creatively:

ESP works with teachers to develop skills of thinking creatively. The best teachers think outside the box, outside the classroom, and outside the norm. They leap outside of the classroom walls and take their students with them! As much as possible, top teachers try to make classroom experiences exciting and memorable for the students. They seek ways to give their students a real world application for knowledge, taking learning to the next action-packed level. Think tactile, unexpected, movement-oriented, and a little bit crazy… then you’ll be on the right track.

B. Top teachers are versatile and sensitive:

The best teachers live outside of their own needs and remain sensitive to the needs of others, including students, parents, colleagues, and the community. It’s challenging because each individual needs something different, but the most successful teachers are a special breed who play a multitude of different roles in a given day with fluidity and grace, while remaining true to themselves.

C. They are curious, confident, and evolving:

We’re all familiar with the stagnant, cynical, low-energy teachers who seem to be biding their time until retirement and watching the clock even more intently than their students. That’s what NOT to do. In contrast, the teachers we most admire renew their energy by learning new ideas from younger teachers, and they aren’t threatened by new ways of doing things on campus. They have strong core principles, but somehow still evolve with changing times. They embrace new technologies and confidently move forward into the future.

D. They are imperfectly human:

The most effective teachers bring their entire selves to the job. They celebrate student successes, show compassion for struggling parents, tell stories from their own lives, laugh at their mistakes, share their unique quirks, and aren’t afraid to be imperfectly human in front of their students. They understand that teachers don’t just deliver curriculum, but rather the best teachers are inspiring leaders that show students how they should behave in all areas of life and in all types of situations. Top teachers admit it when they don’t know the answer. They apologize when necessary and treat students with respect.

E. Successful teachers emphasize the fun in learning and in life:

The teachers we admire most create lighthearted fun out of serious learning. They aren’t afraid to be silly because they can snap the students back into attention at will – with just a stern look or a change in tone of voice. Such fun (sneaked in amongst the more important class norms) shows a silly, human side of the teacher while modeling for the students that we can have fun while we get work done.

5. Common Teaching Mistakes for Teachers to Avoid
People enter the teaching profession because they want to make a positive difference in society. Even teachers with the purest intentions can inadvertently complicate their mission if they’re not careful. However, new teachers (and even veterans sometimes) will have to work hard to conscientiously avoid common pitfalls that can make the job even harder than it inherently is. ESP puts in place handy strategies for teachers to avoid these common teaching traps.

A. Aiming To Be Buddies With Their Students

Inexperienced teachers often fall into the trap of wanting their students to like them above all else. However, if you do this, you are damaging your ability to control the classroom, which in turn compromises the children’s education. Instead, focus on earning your students’ respect, admiration, and appreciation. Once you realize that, your students will like you more when you are principled and fair with them, you’ll be on the right track.

B. Being Too Easy On Discipline

This mistake is a corollary to the last one. For various reasons, teachers often start out the year with a lax discipline plan or, even worse, no plan at all!  Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t let them see you smile until Christmas”? That may be extreme, but the sentiment is correct: start out tough because you can always relax your rules as time progresses if it is appropriate. But it is next to impossible to become tougher once you’ve shown your pliant side.

C. Not Setting Up Proper Organization from the Start

Until you’ve completed a full year of teaching, you are unable to comprehend how much paper accumulates in an elementary school classroom. Even after the first week of school, you’ll look around at the piles with astonishment! And all these papers must be dealt with by YOU! You can avoid some of these paper-induced headaches by setting up a sensible organization system from day one and, most importantly, using it every day! Labeled files, folders, and cubbies are your friend. Be disciplined and toss or sort all papers immediately. Remember, a tidy desk contributes to a focused mind.

D. Minimizing Parental Communication and Involvement

At first, it can feel intimidating to deal with your students’ parents. You might be tempted to “fly under the radar” with them, in order to avoid confrontations and questions. However with this approach, you are squandering a precious resource. The parents associated with your classroom can help make your job easier, by volunteering in your class or supporting behavior programs at home. Communicate clearly with these parents from the start and you’ll have a band of allies to make your entire school year flow more smoothly.

E. Getting involved in school Politics

This pitfall is an equal opportunity offender for both new and veteran teachers. Like all workplaces, the school campus can be rife with squabbles, grudges, backstabbing, and vendettas. It’s a slippery slope if you agree to listen to gossip because, before you know it, you’ll be taking sides and immersing yourself in between warring factions. The political fallout can be brutal. Better to just keep your interactions friendly and neutral, while focusing intently on the work with your students. Avoid politics at all costs and your teaching career will thrive!

F. Remaining Isolated From the School Community

As an addendum to the previous warning, you’ll want to avoid school politics, but not at the expense of being insulated and alone in the world of your classroom. Attend social events, eat lunch in the staff room, say hello in the halls, help colleagues when you can, and reach out to the teachers around you. You never know when you will need the support of your teaching team, and if you’ve been a hermit for months, it’s going to be more challenging for you to get what you need at that point.

G. Working Too Hard and Burning Out

It’s understandable why teaching has the highest turnover rate of any profession. Most people can’t hack it for long. And if you keep burning the candles at both ends, the next teacher to quit might be you! Work smart, be effective, take care of your responsibilities, but go home at a decent hour. Enjoy time with your family and set aside time to relax and rejuvenate.

And here’s the most difficult advice to follow: don’t let classroom problems affect your emotional wellbeing and your ability to enjoy life away from school. Make a real effort to be happy. Your students need a joyful teacher each day!

H. Not Asking For Help

Teachers can be a proud bunch. Our job requires superhuman skills, so we often strive to appear as superheroes who can handle any problem that comes our way.

But that simply can’t be the case. Don’t be afraid to appear vulnerable, admit mistakes, and ask your colleagues or administrators for assistance. Look around your school and you will see centuries of teaching experience represented by your fellow teachers. More often than not, these professionals are generous with their time and advice. Ask for help and you just might discover that you’re not as alone as you thought you were.

I. Being Overly Optimistic and Too Easily Crushed

This pitfall is one that new teachers should be especially careful to avoid. New teachers often join the profession because they are idealistic, optimistic, and ready to change the world! This is great because your students (and veteran teachers) need your fresh energy and innovative ideas.

But don’t venture into Pollyanna land. You’ll only end up frustrated and disappointed. Recognize that there will be tough days where you want to throw in the towel. There will be times when your best efforts aren’t enough. Know that the tough times will pass, and they are a small price to pay for teaching’s joys.

J. Being Too Hard On Yourself

Teaching is hard enough without the additional challenge of mental anguish over slip-ups, mistakes, and imperfections. Nobody’s perfect. Even the most decorated and experienced teachers make poor decisions every so often. Forgive yourself for the day’s blemishes, erase the slate, and gather your mental strength for the next time it’s needed. Don’t be your own worst enemy. Practice the same compassion that you show your students by turning that understanding on yourself.

6. A Day in the Life of a Teacher

It is important to remember that no one is born with the skills, understanding, and experience to be an effective teacher. However, with perseverance, a positive attitude, and the tools found in your environment, you can be successful. Teaching may be challenging, surprising, and even exciting. Days are often filled with unexpected events and are also occasionally blessed by amazing rewards. These, of course, are what make teaching worthwhile. One thing is certain: Rarely is any day in the life of a teacher “typical.”


A. The Basic Schedule

As a teacher, you usually get to school early and leave late. Your day probably begins with some planning time that allows you to make last-minute preparations for the learners. Once the learners arrive in the classroom, you will probably not get another moment of quiet until your next planning period or the end of the day. In fact, some elementary teachers do not get a planning period each day of the week. In such cases, they might only get planning time when their learners leave for their enrichment activities such as sports and physical education.

Each class is a new challenge. You will find some learners who love learning and some who despise it. You will present your lesson and may not have any unexpected disruptions. When the day ends, you will probably have meetings to attend before you can settle down to grading and planning for the next day.

Sometimes new teachers don’t get the same consideration as those who have worked at a school for a while. If you feel that you are not being treated fairly by colleagues or the office staff and administration, find a mentor at your school who can help you work through these issues.

B.Unexpected Events

Part of the challenge of teaching is dealing with the many unexpected events that will arise each day. Here are just some examples of these events:

  • Office announcements: While schools try to limit these during class time, it may still happen a few times each week.
  • Minor student disruptions: Minor disruptions, such as inappropriate talking, happen on a daily basis.
  • Major student disruptions: Everybody hopes to avoid major disruptions, but they still happen to all teachers e.g. A quarrel or fight between students.
  • Unexpected visitors: Students on official or unofficial business, other teachers or administrators, and even parents have been known to unexpectedly interrupt class time.
  • Unannounced assemblies: While most assemblies are announced beforehand, sometimes you will be given only a day’s or even a few hours’ notice.
  • Guidance interruptions: In Secondary schools especially, at certain times of the year, it is common for guidance counselors to call students to meetings and appointments.
  • Other disruptions: Many other disruptions will arise when least expected, including unlikely events like very noisy construction work or power outages around the school.

As this list shows, it is in your best interest to be flex1ible and expect the unexpected. Be ready to change your lesson plans at a moment’s notice. And always remember to keep your sense of humor.


C. A Teacher’s Rewards

Some days will also be filled with rewards. While you should not expect these little treats, you can feel confident that they will happen. A chronically disruptive learner might experience a turnaround, a slower learner might grasp a difficult concept, or a simple discussion might serve as an excellent educational experience. These are the moments that will continue to motivate you through your career.

It is useful to keep a journal with positive observations, clippings, and student comments throughout your teaching career. When you are feeling stressed or burned out, just pull out your journal and get recharged.

One of the most wonderful rewards of teaching is having former students come back to tell you how much you influenced them. Students will sometimes write you letters or notes expressing how important you were or are to them. If you remember back to your school days, you can probably think of a couple of teachers who were truly influential. Strive to be that teacher for your students, and you will be well rewarded.

7. Strategies for Daily Teaching

ESP provides tools and strategies that can help a teacher to come out of that classroom successfully. Some of the strategies offered for daily teaching include;


A. Teaching Feedback from a Veteran Teacher

The following feedback was given by an awesome veteran teacher to a new student teacher on her first day of teaching. This feedback is not only useful but also realistic and applicable to most new (and many veteran) teachers daily classroom skills. Use this page as a reminder to yourself of things you can immediately do to enhance your teaching skills.


Note: This is copied exactly as it was given to the new teacher.

You do not talk loud enough.

Write Larger!!!

You talk too fast.

You do not seek enough student feedback – at the end of the class is too late.

Ask obvious questions

Slow down

Await responses

This is good information well presented but do not assume the class readily knows the same background you do. (Basic Geography and Political Relations)

Get feedback frequently from various class members. Ask the ‘slow ones’; ask the ‘bright ones’. Do they both follow you?

How about a ‘short quiz’ tomorrow on these notes?

B. Assess Students Equitably

Incorporate time-honored precepts of universal human equality into your methodologies before you presume to teach any multiethnic, multiracial, multireligious class of children.

The easiest way to enhance your understanding of human-rights principles is to reread documents such as the constitution, the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776 by the great American statesman (and eventual President) Thomas Jefferson, which declares, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

You can also peruse the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

In other words, outmoded notions of racial superiority, class superiority, gender superiority, or other ideas relegating people to subjugation and injustice have been branded obsolete by legislatures throughout history. Do you know a teacher who still subscribes to such precepts? Does he express these ideas to you through racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks?

Tell your friend that the teaching profession isn’t for him. “Teachers must treat all with respect and do all they can to maximize appropriate opportunities for progression for all,” I believe that pupils have the right not only to contribute to society but also to develop their own individual identities free from the preconceived stereotypes of their role in society. I believe all students are equal in human terms.

If your friend isn’t ready to embrace equal-rights concepts, he can’t function as a teacher in our diverse, multicultural society. Suggest instead that he find a job where his prejudices won’t cause as much damage as they would if he were to be unleashed in a classroom of innocent children.

C. Understanding Teaching

Teaching is a profession which can provide great reward to those who choose to pursue it – that is to say it can provide personal, financial and professional reward.

However, like all rewarding activity, to take benefit, one must invest. In this case, the investment does not refer to the financial sort, but the personal sort. In order to be a successful, accomplished and rewarded teacher, one must demonstrate dedication to the cause.

A good teacher has ambition, not just for oneself but for their class and more specifically, every individual student. A good teacher will make that the classroom is a place for the ambition to thrive – through encouragement, creativity, sensitivity and motivation. These attitudes are fundamental for success. Even in the face of difficulty, a teacher must be prepared to take the initiative, to reinstate energy in the classroom and assure that each student is happily reaching his/her full potential.

For many students, a teacher is a role model – a fact which highlights the need for personal strength and resistance to vice, especially for those teaching impressionable young children. The teacher, as well as providing an academic education, should also be the provider of a good moral example for his/her students to follow, demonstrating the advantages of honest and conscientious living.

An effective teacher should not be afraid to assert their authority. When teaching a numerous class, one of the teacher’s principle responsibilities is to ensure a working environment is maintained. Should a teacher fail to act, should this environment be disrupted, he/she would not be fulfilling their role as the class authoritarian and consequently be failing to assume the responsibility for class achievement.

With respect to education, nothing is more effective for animating the mind than a passion for what is being taught. The passion and energy of a teacher for their subject is diffused amongst the students who will come to realize, although they may be facing challenges, that hard work is beneficial.

Teacher is an immensely enjoyable career, offering a great variety of challenges and opportunities for learning. By employing the skills discussed here whilst teaching, one can ensure that they are doing an exceptional job and for this, will be duly rewarded.

D. What’s the relationship between teaching and learning?

I have to do a group discussion on the relationship between teaching and learning (primary years). Does anyone have any ideas of what I could say? Or what the relationship between teaching and learning is?

For one – you can learn without being taught or without a teacher, but you can’t teach without a learner;
You can learn by trial & error, by observation, by experience, by own intelligence/rational thinking, from mistakes, etc. without needing to be “taught” formally. Teaching is just one of the ways that can be adopted in order to learn.
Teaching, however, CAN speed up learning; make it more focused & relevant.

Then, in order to be able to teach, the teacher has to have learnt him/herself – either formally or informally. Thus learning precedes teaching. A learner may not be a teacher but a teacher has to be a learner.

Moreover, teaching & learning is actually an on-going interaction & communication between the 2 players. There is stimulus, response, feedback, mutual learning & growth.

You could also talk about situations or people who are not ideal, or are misfits in their role of teacher/learner e.g. how bad teaching can dull learning & interest while good teaching can motivate students & optimize learning, association & recall.

Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey.

This quote demonstrates the best view of the relationship between teachers and students. In this we will be learning together and teaching each other. Teaching is meaningful when we find it relevant to our lives right now. When we are actively engaged to learn subject matter we find important our understanding is deeper, and our learning is better.

Learning new complex information can be challenging, and we may make mistakes. Sometimes we may even get frustrated; at times we may feel like giving up. That’s when it becomes most important that we are traveling this journey together. You may teach another way to learn, or teach how to keep trying. We learn to encourage each other, to believe in each other. We listen to learn, and we learn to teach. Making learning meaningful for each of us is our goal in our intentions for this program.

E. What’s Crucial About the Teacher-Student Relationship?

It is essential to zero in on the fact that teaching and learning are really two different functions-two separate and distinct processes. Not the least of the many differences between teaching and learning is that the process of teaching is carried out by one person while the process of learning goes on inside another. Obvious? Of course. But worth thinking about. Because if teaching-learning processes are to work effectively, a unique kind of relationship must exist between these two separate parties-some kind of a connection, link, or bridge between the teacher and the learner.

Much of this chapter therefore deals with the communication skills required by teachers to become effective in making those connections, creating those links, and building those bridges. These essential communication skills actually are not very complex-certainly not hard for any teacher to understand-although they require practice like any other skill, such as football, skiing, singing, or playing a musical instrument. Nor do these critical communication skills place unusual demands on teachers to absorb vast amounts of knowledge about the “philosophy of education,” “instructional methodologies,” or “principles of child development.”

On the contrary, the skills we shall describe and illustrate primarily involve talking-something most of us do very easily. Since talk can be destructive to human relationships as well as enhancing, talk can separate the teacher from students or move them closer together. Again, obvious. But again, worth further thought. For the effect that talk produces depends on the quality of the talk and on the teacher’s selection of the most appropriate kind of talk for different kinds of situations.

F. Successful Teachers

Teachers set the tone in a classroom and can affect children’s lives in profound ways. What teachers do and say encourages or discourages their students. When teachers model acceptance and caring for all children, the students are likely to follow their example. The resulting classroom climate is conducive to children’s growth and development. Children thrive when teachers:

  • Sincerely like them and believe in their worth
  • Are dedicated to helping children learn
  • Are enthusiastic about teaching and inspire their students
  • Are prepared, consistent and firm
  • Provide a nurturing, safe environment
  • Accept themselves as imperfect and freely admit to making mistakes
  • Model fairness, honesty and dependability
  • Listen carefully and give recognition freely
  • Are sensitive and respectful of children’s individual differences
  • Provide an opportunity for children to help formulate classroom rules
  • Help children feel important by allowing them to make choices
  • Have clear, high, reasonable expectations for children’s work
  • Acknowledge children’s efforts and successes no matter how small
  • Stress that it is okay to make mistakes because they are a natural part of learning
  • Avoid threats, sarcasm, favoritism and pity
  • Focus on solutions to problems rather than on punishment
  • Teach children how to solve their problems peacefully by listening to each other and by compromising
  • Provide opportunities for children to encourage and applaud one another
  • Involve parents or guardians as partners in their children’s education
  • Invite them to dream, share goals, and to think of themselves as being successful

G. The Christian Trait of Successful Teachers

So how do we model Christ in our teaching? Is there a Christian way to teach?

Whenever Christian is used as an adjective, misconceptions arise. For instance, Tom Shovel, in his article “What is a Christian Language Teacher?” tells of a cobbler in John Calvin’s congregation who, when identified as a Christian, was sarcastically asked if he made Christian shoes. The cobbler replied that no, he didn’t make Christian shoes, but rather, made shoes well.

Similarly, in order to be a good teacher, you don’t have to be a Christian. But you need to model Christian principles. For Christianity is not just a religion, or some compartmentalized facet of existence. Rather, it testifies to reality itself, the true nature of all that exists. So when we teach according to Christ’s example, we teach more effectively. As such, we shouldn’t be surprised when sincere secular sources echo biblical assertions. For instance, in the book “what the best college teachers do”, Ken Bain concludes after much observation, research, and analysis that humility is crucial to good teaching. He found that unsuccessful teachers trade this trait for arrogance and pride.

They desire to be “the star of the show,” working to impress students with their expertise and knowledge, all the while instilling in students a sense of insecurity at their own informational deficit. Ultimately this constructs a hierarchy of subservience with the teacher on the top and the students on the bottom, a comprehensive contrast to the model of Christ but quite in line with that of Pharisees.

This approach suffers one of the greatest miseries of pride, crippling the faculty for joy. For such pride desires nothing in and of itself, but only the admiration that possessing some coveted thing will bring. Teachers of this sort forfeit the love of learning for the love of being learned. They cannot impart love of the subject matter to the students entrusted to their care, for they themselves have lost it.

A teacher who teaches well approaches students with humility and vulnerability, realizing that man-made merits pale in comparison to the great reality. This description resonates well with the method of seminary professor Howard Hendricks, who states that, “I, as a teacher, am primarily a learner, a student among students.”

A good teacher must always be learning, a process best facilitated by a natural wonder and reverence for the world around us. Christian teachers, in particular, are called to cultivate an awe of creation, as all the universe was made through Christ and, even now, he sustains each aspect of its very existence (Col. 1:16-17). In contrast to prideful teachers, Christ delights in the knowledge of the creation, and he willingly forfeited his superlative status to walk among us in it. Philippians 2:5-7 exhorts us to follow his example:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

In his book teaching to change lives, Hendricks recalls an encounter with one of his own professors who models well the humble service of Christ. The professor’s habit of studying both early in the morning and late into the night piqued Hendricks’s curiosity. When he asked his professor about this practice, the professor replied, “Son, I would rather have my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.” In the same way that Shovel’s account conjures up images of the faithful cobbler searching out the best materials for his shoemaking, this story brings to mind scenes of the committed teacher searching through libraries for the finest information to present to his students.

Therefore, out of reverence for Christ, let us also teach in a Christian way. That is to say, let us teach in a way that corresponds with the true nature of the universe made and sustained by Jesus Christ. Reality mandates that pride destroys and humility strengthens. Anyone who recognizes this law can certainly be a good teacher, but Christians should be the very best teachers. For only Christ can grant us the true humility necessary to count our students more significant than ourselves, preoccupying us with his glory rather than our own.

8. Top Reasons why Non-Teachers Can Never Really Understand this Job:

One strategy that ESP uses to provide counsel to teachers and build their esteem is to share with them the world-view. We make it fun and finally agree on principle.

 Believe it or not, I once had an older family member approach me at a party and say, “Oh, I want my son to talk to you about teaching because he wants a career that’s easy and not stressful.” I don’t even remember my response to this illogical and bizarre comment, but obviously this lady’s cluelessness made a major impression on me. I’m still confounded by this idea even ten years after the incident occurred.

You may have been on the receiving end of similar comments, such as:

You’re so lucky to have so much holiday time, especially Christmas time. Teachers have it so easy!

You only have 20 students in your class. That’s not so bad!

It must be so easy to teach lower primary classes. The children don’t have attitudes when they’re so young.

All of these ignorant and annoying comments just go to show that people who aren’t in education simply can’t understand all of the work that goes into being a classroom teacher. Even many administrators seem to have forgotten about all of the trials and tribulations teachers face on the front lines of education.

A. In Nursery and Primary schools, teachers deal with gross bathroom-related issues. Even a high school teacher could never understand some of the crises related to bodily functions that a typical primary teacher has to deal with on a regular basis. Potty accidents (and more instances too disgusting to reiterate here) are something that we can’t shy away from. I’ve had primary kids who still can’t tell they want to visit a toilet and let me tell you – it’s stinky. Is there any amount of money or holiday time worth cleaning up vomit and human drops from the classroom floor with your own two hands?

B. Teachers are not just teachers. – The word “teacher” just doesn’t cover it. Teachers are also nurses, psychologists, recess monitors, social workers, parental counselors, secretaries, copy machine mechanics, and almost literally parents, in some instances, to their students. If you’re in a corporate setting, you can say, “That’s not in my job description.” When you’re a teacher, you have to be ready for everything and anything to be thrown at you on a given day. And there’s no turning it down.

C. Everything’s always a teacher’s fault. – Parents, directors, and society in general blame teachers for every problem under the sun. Teachers pour their hearts and souls into teaching and Majority of teachers are the most generous, ethical, and competent workers you can find. They have the best of intentions in a messed-up education system. But somehow they still get the blame. But they keep teaching and trying to make a difference.

D. The job is really serious. – When there’s a mistake or a problem, it’s often heart-breaking and important. In the corporate world, a glitch might mean a spreadsheet needs to be redone or a little money was wasted. But in education, the problems go much deeper: a child lost on a field trip, students lamenting parents in jail, a little girl sexually assaulted on the walk home from school, a boy being raised by his great-grandmother because everyone else in his life abandoned him. These are true stories that we’ve had to witness. The pure human pain gets to you after awhile, especially if you’re a teacher out to fix everything. Teachers can’t fix everything and that makes the problems we witness hurt all the more.


So in the interest of bonding together and examining the commonalities that only true teacher can understand, we just need to know that Non-Teachers Just Don’t “Get It.”


9. Designing Your Educational Philosophy

One other important strategy that ESP uses is to support teachers to design an education philosophy. While studying to be teachers, we are often asked to write out our personal educational philosophies. This is not just an empty exercise, a paper only meant to be filed in the back of a drawer.

To the contrary, your educational philosophy statement should be a document that serves to guide and inspire you throughout your teaching career. It captures the positive aspirations of your career and should act as a centerpiece around which all of your decisions rotate. When writing your educational philosophy statement, we consider the following:

  1. Do you see is the grander purpose of education in a society and community?
  2. What, specifically, is the role of the teacher in the classroom?
  3. How do you believe students learn best?
  4. In general, what are your goals for your students?
  5. What qualities do you believe an effective teacher should have?
  6. Do you believe that all students can learn?
  7. What do teachers owe their students?

Your educational philosophy can guide your discussions in job interviews, be placed in a teaching portfolio, and even be communicated to students and their parents. Here is a sample educational philosophy statement:

I believe that a teacher is morally obligated to enter the classroom with only the highest of expectations for each and every one of her students. Thus, the teacher maximizes the positive benefits that naturally come along with any self-fulfilling prophecy; with dedication, perseverance, and hard work, her students will rise to the occasion. I aim to bring an open mind, a positive attitude, and high expectations to the classroom each day. I believe that I owe it to my students, as well as the community, to bring consistency, diligence, and warmth to my job in the hope that I can ultimately inspire and encourage such traits in the children as well.


10. More light on Factors that make teachers successful

Our children will be successful if their teachers are effective and successful teachers. Effective teaching is positively identified by children outcome and improvements that are the results of the correct combinations of methods, materials, student and teacher characteristics, and the context in which teaching and learning occur. Quality teaching is teaching that maximizes learning for all students in the classroom environment or even at home during home schooling. The essence of teaching is human interaction through a balance of interpersonal and technical competence. So when our children teachers meet certain characteristics and become effective successful teachers, our children will most certainly benefit and become successful students.

But what are the attainable factors that make a teacher successful? Parents need to know that teachers set the tone in a classroom and what teachers do and say encourages or discourages their students. Teachers who model acceptance and caring for all students, will see students following their example with great respect and admiration.

A positive attitude is key to maintaining a positive classroom environment. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.

Implementing the classroom agreements of mutual respect, appreciation/no put downs, attentive listening and the right to pass establishes a positive classroom climate where students can feel safe and valued.  Of course establishing a safe, positive climate and maintaining it day in and day out are two different things.   What’s the key to maintaining that safe, positive classroom climate once it is established? Without doubt, it’s a positive attitude.

If you have a positive attitude you’ll believe and act as if all students will be successful in your class.  If you have a positive attitude there are no losers in your classroom despite what you’ve might have heard.    Students will live up to your expectations. Think and act as if students are trouble, believe me they won’t disappoint you.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. I’ve found that often well my colleagues will give me a heads up about the troublemakers they’ve had in their classes. When they find out I’ll be teaching these kids, they tell me how bad the students were.  Just for a nanosecond I think great. Just what I need- trouble making students. But then I quickly remind myself that attitude is not a useful attitude to have about these new students whom I don’t even know. I really try hard not to prejudge them.  I figure even if these kids were troublesome in the past, it doesn’t mean they are now.  Things change.

We truly believe that a teacher’s positive attitude does cause a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. A teacher’s positive attitude is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. Just because we believe this doesn’t mean that we don’t forget this lesson too from time to time because we get distracted by the challenges of our own life, and we regretfully adopt a negative attitude towards a student. We know better, but we also know we are human and not perfect.  When this happens, we apologize to show our respect for them. We want them to see mutual respect in action in our classroom.


11. Advice points on a positive attitude

Positive attitude changes how you interact with people, and that in itself is huge. If people perceive you as a negative person, they tend to get tired of dealing with you after a while. But if you’re a positive person, you come off in a more positive light, and you’re a joy to talk to and work with and be with.”

Read these suggestions for changing the way you think and think about how teachers could change the way they think in order to be happier and not get burned out. Too many times we have seen new teachers give up because of negative thinking. Here are some suggestions with spin on each suggestion.

A. “Squash negative thoughts.” Too many times we have heard teachers say on Sunday night that they hate the thought of Monday arriving or groan when Monday arrived. We have always seen successful teachers try to see Mondays as looking forward to seeing their students and hear how their weekend went. They also try to see the new week as a way to make a fresh start and be a better teacher this week than they were last week by learning from their mistakes or trying new techniques.

B. “Mantras.” My Mentor has been my true hero in all of this. He is now a veteran teacher. For the past 12 years, he would wake up and say “I feel great! It is so great to be alive!” You would never know that he was not feeling well or grumpy. He felt that by saying that, he even felt better and it changed the way he saw the day. As a teacher, as soon as I arrived in my classroom, I would say, “I’m so glad to be here and I’m going to make a difference today!”

C. “See the good in any situation.” Remember that old saying, “When you are given lemons, make lemonade” Try to find something good when things get rough in your classroom. If there is a student who misbehaves, think of it as an opportunity to try a new behavior modification technique or think of a way to redirect the behavior.

D. “Enjoy small pleasures.” Look for the little things that give you pleasure. I remember noticing that a student, who normally doesn’t do well on work, was trying harder today. Or maybe I had a few moments of free time and needed to just sit down and relax without feeling guilty about it.

E. “See the good in yourself.” Sometimes you may think you are not a good enough teacher or not effective. That is the time you should try to focus on what you are good at doing and how it affects your students. This will help you see your weaknesses in a better light so they are manageable instead of overwhelming.

F. “See the good in others.” It is known somewhere that there was something good about every person. We all know that there is that one student that you just can’t stand to teach. You should try to find something you like about that student and when you do that, it will change the way you interact with that student. We are not saying you will have a mutual like for each other, but you will be able to get along better so that you will be effective in teaching this student.

G. “Positive imaging.” You may hate to be observed and evaluated! You may not care how much experience or how good you are, you just feel scared to death. One way you can get through this is to picture a positive image of yourself teaching. You will get yourself teaching with confidence, and you will get to know your material. When you hold that image in your mind, it makes it much easier when you are observed and evaluated.


H. “Anticipate fun.” Have fun teaching! If you enjoy your job, you will do much better. Love teaching and all the unexpected things that will happen come with it. Let every day be different and never boring. If you are having fun, know the students are usually enjoying the lesson too. Try to teach as if you are the student so if you are bored with the lesson, so are the students. Also try to tell the students at the beginning, “This is going to be a fun lesson today!” That usually puts them in a receptive frame of mind and the lesson goes well.

Having a positive attitude is important as a role model for students. Sometimes they are surrounded with people who do not have this kind of attitude so showing and teaching this can really make a difference in a student’s life. With a positive attitude, success is sure to happen!


12. Parent-Teacher Communication

Research shows that children do better in school when teachers talk often with parents and parents become involved in the school. There are number of ways that parents and teachers can communicate with each other, rather than relying on the scheduled parent-teacher meetings. Close communications between parents and teachers can help the student.

Parents who participate in school activities and events will have added opportunities to communicate with teachers. Becoming involved with parent-teacher organizations (PTO, PTA, and Booster Clubs) gives the teacher and parent the possibility to interact outside the classroom. In addition, the parent also will have input into decisions that may affect their child’s education.

Teachers usually welcome meeting their students’ parents early in the school year. Making an effort to do this will help the teacher better understand the parent, the child, and how they will support the education of this child? Teachers appreciate knowing that parents are concerned and interested in their child’s progress. And, this helps open the lines of communication.

Phone calls and visits to the classroom by parents are also good ways to cooperate between teachers and parents and keep parents informed about their child’s progress.

Parent-teacher meetings are often scheduled at the time of the first report card for the school year. For parents and teachers, this is a chance to talk one-on-one about the student. The parent-teacher meeting is a good opportunity to launch a partnership between parent and teacher that will function during the school year.

It is clear that parents who attend Open School days are concerned with their child’s well being and education.  They want to know what is going on in the classroom and how what happens here will ultimately benefit their child. There are two ways you can ensure this participation;

A. Modeling the Classroom Experience: Get approval from your head teacher to arrange have parents come in half an hour before open school day actually begins.  Take that time to model a mini lesson and have parents participate in a small group assignment.  Showing parents an example of an actual classroom lesson and assignment gives them a better understanding of how their child will be developed both academically and socially through the year.

B. Giving an Overview of Your Curriculum: As an additional presentation, use a 5 to 10 minute walk through of a typical day in your classroom. This presentation includes details about our reading program, expectations for students, how you organize your room, and the type of work students do in class. Including photos of real students and graphics that illustrate your classroom set up make it easier for parents to visualize a typical day. In instances where you don’t have enough time for a mini lesson, use just this presentation to give parents a sense of what happens in the classroom.

13. Parent Communication Tips for Teachers

Building a good rapport with parents is vital to students’ success. Beyond the initial meeting, it is found essential to keep an open dialogue with parents. The everyday demands of teaching may make it hard to have a traditional one-on-one dialogue with parents frequently, but it is found that you can maintain good communication by carefully tracking performances that you want to review with parents and using technology wherever you can.

I believe wholeheartedly that a child’s academic success is greatly enhanced when teachers and parents are partners in the process. When you need information pertaining to a child or a child is experiencing a problem, you contact the parents or guardians because they are your number one resource. Throughout the school year you use a variety of communication methods to build and sustain solid relationships with parents.

A. Using a Parent Teacher Contact Log

In this age of ever increasing accountability it is vital to keep a record of all contact you have with home. A great way to do this is to keep a notebook record of all contact you have with parents and guardians. In that notebook keep a record of the following:

  • Who you talked to.
  • Time and Date
  • The reason you or they called.

This simple task transfers the accountability on to the parent and off of you.


B. Parent Involvement-“Come To School with Me”

With today’s busy schedules it is sometimes difficult to get parent’s involved in your program. Teachers are always trying to come up with new and innovative ideas to entice parents into the classroom. Parents are wondering is my child “just playing” all day, are they learning anything, and what is an appropriate curriculum for pre-school children?

It is important to educate your parents on their child’s daily routine. And you know what, sometimes parents “learn by doing” as well as children. So why not let your parents come to school with their child? Of course with a large number of parents working this is not always possible. The next time you do a “parent day”, provide opportunities for your parents to share their child’s day.

Our teachers plan for this day by altering their daily routine by making an eight hour day fit into two hours. After the parents have signed in, their child takes them to their class. Quiet activities are provided until the program is ready to begin. Parents are encouraged to follow the activities with the children.

Teachers go through their daily routine beginning with Circle Time. Everyone gets involved in singing, dancing, etc. Parents are asked to plan for the next activity. They must choose a learning center to go to. With the help of their child they are guided to the learning center of their choice. Parents get involved in a variety of activities such as painting, block building, putting puzzles together, reading books, or discovering how magnets work. As the activities are taking place the teacher is interacting with both parent and child and asking open ended questions. A warning is given when it is time to clean up. Once this is completed the parents and children are asked to share their experiences with the others in the group.

Parents come away very surprised to learn how many different learning experiences have taken place by playing and the thinking process that goes into answering an open ended question. The day comes to a close with parents, children, and the teacher sharing a nutritious snack.

Allowing parents to “come to school” with their child is a very enjoyable and informative parent activity. It has given teachers the opportunity to educate parents on how children learn through play and socialization.

C. The Power of a letter

“Keep parents informed about your classroom. Every Monday send home a letter informing parents of the plan for the week. This will increase parent and child communication at home. This will let parents feel that they are a part of their child’s education. This can be a short informational outline of the week. Sometimes this can get parents to come and share something that will add to your curriculum.”

D. Communication about Homework

“Homework can be a difficult thing to obtain from some children in your class. Get the parents involved by sending a homework assignment sheet to be signed each day. Let the child sign the sheet also. The accountability is now on parents and child. At the end of each week, send a certificate of congratulations to parents and child for all homework completed for the week.” You can also avail parents and students with your phone numbers so that they can consult you during homework time. This can work for some parents.

E. Use of Questionnaires

“Send a questionnaire home to parents or guardians asking what they can do to contribute to your classroom. Is someone artistic? Does someone have time to give to help in the classroom for an hour? Who wants to accompany the class on a field trip? Someone might have time to sit and cut out letters for the classroom. Someone may make balls using local materials for students. Parents may come as guest speakers on topics you will address. You can find talent among the parents and they feel needed and part of their child’s class.”

F. Stimulate community concern about education

In that particular village where you reside, there are some experienced parents who can generate constructive ideas that can help all the other parents in the community to support education. So you can help organize educational meetings for the entire village. Recruit a few friends of learning and set days for meetings. Get helped by community leaders to mobilize parents. Be creative and involve activities that bring children on board during these meetings, they may have something to share with their parents. You may not earn any physical payment from this action, but pride will follow, and improved performance of your students is more rewarding.”

G. Use Registration Time to Build a Foundation.
Begin the school year by meeting some of your parents during registration, before school begins. This is the first time you can meet your students and their parents/guardians. Since first impressions are lasting impressions, make sure your classroom is warm and welcoming.
In addition to the paperwork and fees related to registering, parents receive their child’s schedule and visit their classes. This is your chance to meet the parents and get their addresses and phone numbers. To the students, issue the agenda books for upper primary and secondary school.

H. Create Detailed Student Information Sheets.
On the first day of class, send home student information sheets that ask for basic information: name of students and parents, address, telephone numbers, email addresses if applicable. Include in details about the child’s health conditions. A copy of the student’s schedule is on the front of this form also, so if you ever need to locate that student during the school day, you can immediately see where he or she is and whom you need to contact. You will also learn how to handle different students based on their health conditions.

On the back of the information sheet is a contact log where you keep a running list of dates on which you’ve contacted parents or vice versa. You should always document contact with parents by writing date, time, and short summary of what was discussed. This documentation is very important to have, because when you have over 90 students it is easy to forget what was discussed with one parent versus another. It may sound time consuming to document each contact, but the information will prove to be extremely helpful at a parent meeting.   Have all of your student information sheets alphabetized in a three ring binder separated by periods, and it is located in the file cabinet.

I. Send Out Parent Surveys
Two to three weeks after school starts, send a parent survey home. The survey asks questions such as:
-What was your child like as a baby?
-What are your child’s strengths and weaknesses?
-What does your child do in his spare time?

This information helps you get to know each student as a person and learner. It’s also useful when planning lessons. Even though parents are just as busy as teachers, they eagerly take the time to write as much information about their child as they can. One parent wrote a note on her child’s survey saying, “This is wonderful that you want to learn more about my child.” Seeking the advice of parents shows respect and helps gain and sustain their support. The students also get a kick out of reading what their parents wrote about them.

J. Contact them with Good News Regularly.
Make commendation calls regularly — and every year set a goal to do them more often. So much time is devoted to students who are not doing what they are supposed to than students who perform well do not receive adequate praise. Parents are so pleased and sometimes shocked when you call and say, “It is such a pleasure to have Brian in my classroom.” Attempt to make these calls weekly during a planning period or after school; three to five per week. You will find that scheduling the calls in your planner, means you are more likely to do them — and more likely to make a difference in parent’s and student’s day.

K. Establish an Open Door Policy.
Many parents are sometimes hesitant to volunteer in their child’s classrooms. In order to stay in touch with parents, look for other ways to get them to stop by. For example, welcome them to come in and observe you teaching. Another technique you can use the Top performers’ Party. Every term you can chose to award your top readers with a tea party or cup-cake party and extend an invitation to parents, acknowledging that they have helped with their child’s reading success.

L. Parent Read Aloud

Invite parents in to read or to tell a story to the class. The children love hearing parents read to them, and if story time is right after lunch, parents can come in to eat with their child and read a story on the same day.

M. Weekly Folders

Communicate with parents each week in writing by sending home graded work and comments on class work, behavior, and any other concerns in a folder with a form that reserves space for parents to write back. Folders are signed and returned on Mondays. Keep the comment sheets as documentation of parent/teacher communication.

N. Parent Conferences:

For any serious issues concerning a student in the student’s performance, behavior, discipline or health, call a parent for a conference. The following tips are important for a great parent conference;

  • Be prepared. Pull the child’s file and any relevant documents ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the information.
  • Sit next to the parent at a table instead of sitting behind your desk.
  • Begin the conference by saying something positive about the student.
  • Avoid any educational jargon that might intimidate the parent.
  • Ask the parent for his/her opinion, suggestions, and concerns and listen carefully.
  • Send a thank you note home with the student the following week.

If you are meeting with a parent who might become difficult, ask an administrator, guidance counselor, or colleague to sit in at the conference.


14. Characteristics of failing schools

We intended to include this section of characteristics of failing schools so that head teachers, directors and teachers can together work around these issues and make their schools better institutions where the goals of students, teachers and school governors can be achieved. This part gives comparable sides of activities centered behavior and results oriented behavior so that readers can think of the ideal situations and build working parameters themselves.

It is meant for effective leadership of our schools’ success. Effective leaders pursue clear-cut goals they want to achieve. In the absence of specific goals for people to work toward, confusion arises. Here is an outline of such activity centered characteristics as opposed to results oriented performance;

A.  Unclear purpose/goals:

Head teachers, teachers and management teams tend to be more concerned with what they are doing and how well they may be doing it, than with why they are doing it and the outcomes expected from their actions. On contrary, in any successful school, people have a clear idea of what they want results they are attempting to accomplish through their actions. E.g. academically improved standards.

B. Reaction to problems:

There is no pro-acting. People tend to spend much of their time and energy reacting to problems, to crisis after crisis. There seems to be no planning a head, and people tend to wait until problems come to them for their attention and action. On contrary, in any successful school, there is planning ahead and all actions are purposely directed toward achieving the desired results. This is called pro-acting.

C. Poor coordination:

There is a distinct absence of coordination among the various Individuals and Units in the school. Units and Individuals seem to work at cross purposes pursuing conflicting goals. The two fail to work in harmony towards agreed end results. On contrary, in any successful school, individuals and school units work in harmony toward agreed end results. And both individual goals and unit goals are consistent with and supportive of the school goals. There is maximum coordination.

D. Misplaced attention:

As the saying goes, “the squeaky wheels get the grease.” The choice of what to do when is based on who screams the loudest. Problems and demand for their solutions is the greatest and not the basis of what problems are the most critical. As a result, the problems which are the most critical to the achievement of the goals desired are not considered the most important, and these receive the least priority for attention and action. On contrary, in any successful school, there is proper prioritization. Those problems which are the most critical to the achievement of the desired goals are considered the most important problems, and these receive the highest priority for attention and action.

E. Inconsistent decisions:   

Decision making is not rational. There is little consistency in the decisions made by different members of the school leadership. Decisions are not made with regard to clearly understood and agreed-upon goals. On contrary, in any successful school, decisions are made with regard to clearly understood and agreed upon goals. Hence there is consistency in decisions made by different members through out the school.

F. Rigid administrative structures:

Much more attention is directed at defining and maintaining the administrative hierarchy and individual areas of authority and responsibility. Under such a system people often do not enjoy the sense of personal satisfaction from what they contribute, and they try to make themselves feel important by emphasizing their standing in the administrative hierarchy. Teachers, head teachers and other members of administration jealously guard their respective areas of authority and responsibility, walling themselves off from each other.

The relative stature of roles receives more attention than contributions made. And people usually act only on those matters which are within their defined areas of authority. There are no predetermined goals and people are working solely with in prescribed administrative role parameters. Goal attainment remains the less important focus. On contrary, in any successful school, while people respect the school administrative structure of roles and responsibilities, they are more interested in reaching the agreed upon or pre-determined goals. Goal attainment remains the more important focus.

G. Little accomplishment:

People are busy solving problems, making decisions and implementing orders. There is great deal of action. Energy and effort are expended with exuberance. However, there is very little accomplishment. On contrary, in any successful school, there is goal accomplishment. Results are achieved. There is a consistent pattern of goal accomplishment and all people together celebrate the achievements.

On the other hand, results oriented school leadership would involve a different approach to work by placing emphasis on the expected outcome. By contrast, in activities centered behavior people do not fully understand what they are expected to accomplish.

Results, oriented leadership involves predetermining the end results. Then leaders specify all actions necessary to bring about the results.

School activities oriented leadership prevents teachers from directing their attention to the objectives and although kept busy, they actually accomplish very little.

Effective leadership makes things happen. Good results without good planning come from good lick. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.

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Christian Ministry Volunteers Program


Christian Ministry Volunteers Program

Christian Ministry Volunteers Program


Amazing Ministry Program for men and women of God who want to make a difference:

We are the people of Apostles Network Development Mission (AND- Mission). AND-Mission is a Ministry program of Uganda Vision Resource Centre. Uganda Vision Resource Centre is a Christian-based non-denominational Organization, founded by a team of Christian Social Entrepreneurs in 2012 in Kamwenge District Uganda. AND-Mission is aimed at strengthening capacities of Christian leadership and Christian-led Interventions in the fight against injustices, Poverty and Disaster, and so, saving people’s lives.

Uganda Vision Resource Centre (UVRC) in Kamwenge Uganda is a registered non-profit Organization located in the Rwenzori Region of Uganda.

At AND-Mission we provide Christian Ministry volunteers an opportunity to preach the word of God, participate in building capacity of the local ministry teams and help those less fortunate than themselves, without disturbing significantly their work and family responsibilities. Ministry guests serve as volunteers in the community humanitarian projects of their choice. Volunteering is probably the most rewarding experience available and our programs make it available to a wider audience of Ministry workers, pastors, Evangelists and Missionaries.

For those of you who are involved in Christian Ministry work and want to make a difference in the world, to leave a mark wherever you go, to change lives of hearting people, this is the right place to start. Lending your time and skills to the church and to the hearting people in rural communities is hugely rewarding. Our programs combine community voluntary service work with relaxing breaks so you can have time of mission that is rewarding, invigorating and fun. Isn’t that just what you want from your Ministry adventure?


Our programs:

Each of our Ministry and community development programs will offer you the choice on the number of days to volunteer on the program with desired number of day’s relaxation. The Ministry volunteer work is at carefully selected sites in Kamwenge district Uganda. It is a great opportunity to make new friends and have fun while doing something meaningful and highly rewarding as you work to glorify the Name of the Lord. Here are some great programs that our Ministry volunteers participate in;


Prayer enlists a God who is bigger than any problem, and God has promised to be at our side as we engage the world Jesus sent us into. In Matthew 28:20, He says, “Surely, I am with you always…” So, our ministry volunteers spend an amazing time in prayers with our local communities.

2. ACT

While we depend on prayer, there is much that we can do with our hands as well. For Ministry volunteers, the most obvious place to “act” is locally. Children need teachers and mentors, prisoners need visitors, Youths need counselors, the married need family counseling and hurting people need shoulders to lean on.

Many Ministry workers and small churches also want to act overseas. Partnering with a program like AND-Mission can allow you to take smart action in response to needs around the world. We have deep roots in the communities in which we work, and we are eager to partner with Ministry workers and churches who can share their knowledge and offer their support.


Even the smallest gift can make a difference. It may not be practical for you or your church to tackle the issue in Uganda, start a microfinance bank, or begin drilling clean water boreholes, but everyone or any church has access to the financial resources desperately needed to help accomplish more and saving lives. There are Christians and ministry workers there who live in the wealthiest nations of Christians in the history of Christianity. At the same time, just $50 can help buy clean water for one person for a lifetime. No matter the size of your income or your church, a modest financial or material gift can be life-saving to someone in need.


Advocating on behalf of those affected by poverty and injustice is a powerful way for Ministry workers and churches to reflect the love and compassion of Christ.

Using your influence as a Ministry worker or as a church can maximize your impact. Being a voice for the voiceless helps you to change things in the world by influencing the people, policies, and systems that could have a more dramatic impact on the poor than the local people could ever have.

A Ministry worker or church can stand in the gap for the defenseless and save more lives than any missions program could possibly afford. This kind of influence can be powerful on a local level, where poverty, homelessness, and economic injustice require the church to address the structures that may prevent the poor from improving their lives.

No matter the size of your bank account or your church, God calls you to do something. As the saying goes, what counts is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Thankfully, we can all pray, act, give, and influence for the sake of the gospel.

Explore some of the ways by which you or your church can partner with AND-Mission Program and do more to be the hands and feet of Christ in areas of the world where the need and suffering are great.

Follow your Interest:

As ministry volunteers, apart from preaching, praying and training, here are some examples of the wide range of causes and needs that the non-profit making programs atV40RC support where you can take part: HIV/AIDS, Arts, Children, Cultural projects, Music, Dance and Drama, Disabled people, Disease Advocacy/Research, Elderly, Environment, Health Care, Homeless, Hospitals, Immigrants, Libraries, Mental Health, Health clinics, Prisons, Social Work/Special Projects, Sports, Teenagers, Women’s Groups, Young Adults, Refugee settlement etc.

Ministry volunteers program is open to all who have a desire to implement their ministry calling by God. Don’t worry if you feel you haven’t got the right experience, our team is here to help you as you come along and while you are in Uganda to give you the support and training you need.



Volunteer on Ministry program and serve communities?

In these changing times, many people have a strong desire to help those less fortunate than themselves. But sometimes we cannot afford thousands of dollars, Euros and pounds asked by most volunteer programs in developing countries.

So at AND-Mission we have organized programs with trustworthy Christ-centered grassroots projects where Ministry volunteers can make a difference with the local church and support the local people who are in need. You can rest assured that your input has provided essential support in parts of the world that need help.

What AND-Mission will do!

We are able to ensure that our Ministry Volunteers are fully deployed from the day after their arrival. They are allocated into local ministry programs with their local ministry guides.

We provide suitable accommodation. This can be at the guest house, church or host family. It may be dormitory-type but must have separate male and female quarters. We are flexible on facilities provided – which will be inspected before the start of a program.

We provide three meals daily while on Ministry service. This can be provided in the same locations as provided for our fulltime ministry teams. Western food may need not be provided, but local food shall be traditional and not exotic.

Volunteer on HIV/AIDS Program, Community Development, Youth Empowerment Program, Orphan Care Support, Counseling & Guidance, Women Empowerment, Food Security & Agriculture Practices, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Advocate for HIV/AIDS Patients, Education Support, Teaching, support children in the refugee settlement, join mega-horn cow grazing, hand craft, youths sports and games, traditional music dance and drama.

Program Dates: This program runs all throughout the year, program orientation will take place on your arrival.

Program Duration: Tourist volunteers can choose to volunteer for a period of 1 day to one year.

Program fees: - Placement booking fee: USD$ 100 paid any time upon acceptance into the program. After the Volunteer Coordinator has accepted you into the project, then you will have to pay this non-refundable booking fee. Since we started, the numbers of Ministry volunteers applying has increased by each year. Unfortunately only a third of those who promise that they will come, have in fact arrived. The wastage in Volunteer Coordinator’s time and the fact that volunteers who could have come were refused due to holding the space for someone else who didn’t turn up, has forced us to implement this non-refundable booking fee.

 We hope that by implementing the fee only serious volunteers will thus secure the chance to volunteer in our projects. The booking fee will go towards paying for communication expenses incurred by the Coordinators to keep in touch with you and the projects.

Other contributions to cater for your stay can be discussed during the process of booking when you contact us, and be paid upon arrival for proper preparations of your placement.

Placement Organization: Uganda Vision Resource Centre

Placement Program: Apostles Network Development Mission (AND-Mission)

Placement Location: Kamwenge District {Semi- Urban/ Rural}.

Accommodation: Host Family or Guest house

Program Description: The focus of this service-learning Ministry volunteer experience is for Ministry workers, Pastors, Evangelists, interns and all interested in Ministry work to expand their own knowledge and happiness while at the same time helping to support local Ministry teams to serve the people of the world. Ministry Volunteers will have the opportunity to become fully immersed in Ugandan culture as they live, work, learn, and pray among local churches Ugandan families, projects, staff in both rural and semi-urban settings.

This program is 238.75 kilometers (km) from Kampala City in Kamwenge District. In this program with the assistance of our locally trained ministry volunteers you help in the training of other local volunteers to effectively address and educate others on the ministry needs of our communities.

As a Ministry volunteer in this program, you will experience traditional Ugandan life and participate in daily activities such as prayer fellowship, visiting elderly villagers, collecting water from a well, teaching children in & outside classrooms, teaching in a school, painting in class rooms, participate in various Christian ministry work, feeding children as well as health outreach programs, outreach in Rwamwanja refugee settlement. These programs serve the most vulnerable community members in Kamwenge District.  

What makes this Christian Ministry Volunteer Program unique?

Uganda Vision Resource Centre is a Christian development focused organization with deep roots in ministry work, working tightly with several community development projects. The organization was founded by Ugandan Christian Social workers who understand very well where your experience and skills are needed. Ministry Volunteers will be allocated roles in the projects of their choice.

With our Ministry volunteer program we allow you to discover the wonders of East Africa, while doing meaningful and rewarding ministry work. This is a great opportunity to explore life in rural Africa, live and work amongst the locals and realize one person can make a difference.

It is important for potential volunteers to understand that the culture in Uganda is quite different from what you are accustomed to. Volunteers should bring with them an easy-going, open-minded and relaxed attitude. Locals are curious, very friendly and social people. Relax and enjoy the slow pace. Remember that life in Africa is not as organized and predictable as life in developed countries.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

No specific qualifications are required to join this Ministry volunteer program in Kamwenge District. Anyone with energy and interest in ministry work can make a meaningful contribution, and all are crucial and important.

 Extra activities you will not miss: Culture Village visits and Kibale Forest National Park which is rich and unique habitat for more than 250 species and over 300 bird species. Visits to other National Parks and Safaris. Queen Elizabeth is just bordering Kamwenge district at one side. Water bodies include Lake George and many small crater lakes like Rwetera and Nyinaburita. Western lift valley with its escarpments and river water falls at River Mpanga.

Since we are located near Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semuliki National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, living in the Rwenzori Region, we provide our guests with an opportunity to have days of relaxation at these recreation centers while looking at amazing God’s creation and nature.  

Apply now and book a placement at this program:

How to apply!

If you’re interested in volunteering with Uganda Vision Resource Centre write to:

Email: v2040rc@gmail.com, Tel: +256-772-888149


Our Vision: “A Christ-centered Ministry, equipped for transforming mission among people”

 Our Goal: A Ministry that is an effective facilitator of spiritual and socio- economic development processes for God’s People

Our core values

1. Integrity and Accountability-(Mathew 25:23): AND-Mission upholds truthfulness and fosters the principle of transparency, honesty, dialogue and responsibility in all her operations and relationships.

2.Teamwork and Creativity-(1Corinthians 12:12-20) AND-Mission will operate as a family believing in open communication and dialogue, committed to supporting and encouraging one another and creating new ways of enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in our ministry work

3. Faithfulness to Holy Scriptures-(2 Timothy 3:16-17): We believe in the authority of the written word of God as the basis for all that we do and seek to live and witness godliness.

4. Love and Respect for Humanity- (1 John 4:19-21): AND-Mission believes that everyone is made in the image of God and therefore upholds the respect for all humanity;

5.Partnership (-Eccl 4: 9-12): We believe in strong partnership building with like-minded public and private institutions through effective collaboration and information sharing and maintaining harmonious relations with all our key stakeholders. Be honest when you ask God for advice.

Apostles Network Development Mission (AND-Mission) is a Christian focused mission whose work is rooted in the Christian principles of Godliness, Faithfulness to holy scriptures, Integrity, Selfless service, Unconditional love, Unity in Christ, and Upholding Biblical Church Values.  At Vision Resource Centre we uphold society values for all the people of God which include; Peace, Mercy, Caring, Respect, Justice and Responsible Stewardship of God’s creation.

What we believe:

Ministry Volunteer program is now the highest priority in all mission work in fulfillment of the second part of the great commission of Matthew 28:19… Go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’

This is what God had in mind when he created us.  He created us in his image so that we could think, make choices, use our creativity, build relationships, faithfully work at the tasks in our hand and be persons of influence in the lives of others. 

When we live in relationship with him we begin to reflect his godly character and we produce the fruit of the Spirit named in Galatians 5:22-23 as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The beauty of this fruit in our lives makes each of us a person of impact and influence.

At AND-Mission, we believe that God made every one of us persons of worth.  He decided when he planned our lives what abilities he would give to each one of us.  We all have varying amounts of ability to organize, lead, create or influence but we have the choice as to what we want to do with that which God has entrusted to us.  We believe that God also gives us opportunities where we can use these abilities.  The fruitfulness depends on how we care for, cultivate and use each of these abilities which in turn results in the fruitfulness of influencing the lives of the people God has placed in our world whether they be children, spouses, employees, friends or neighbours.  We are special to God and he wants to use us to speak “words of life” into the lives of those around you.

God speaks “words of life” into our hearts every day.   He says, “I created you in my image, I gave you abilities to rule, organize, manage your area of life, I gave you a creativity that if followed will bring you joy, I made you to be a person of influence, you are precious to me, I loved you so much that I gave my son to die for you and now I want you to be my representative to share this love with others on earth.”

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