MTN Foundation Youth Skilling Program tips on turning skill to money

There is a high number of youth skilling programs today but very little or no information is known about the impact they have actually created.

Among the most recently launched is the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program. The program funded by MTN Foundation, the charity arm of MTN Uganda and implemented by Ubunifu Systems was created with the aim of empowering youth to become job creators. The program also sought to boost innovation with the aim of solving challenges in society.

Following the recently concluded inaugural graduation ceremony where 60 youth were empowered with technical and digital business skills, MTN and Ubunifu systems organized a webinar deciphering ways in which organizations can track the impact of youth skilling programs. The webinar also spoke to how youth can implement the learnings from the programs.

Speaking during the webinar, the guest speaker, Edmund Walusimbi , founder of The Secret Initiative, a youth motivational program and campus ambassador of Startup Africa, advised youth to only learn what they intend to use.

Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)

He urged the youth to utilize the PDCA management formula which involves planning, doing, checking and acting.

“You plan a process and execute the process. As you do that, you notice areas that need improvement, garnering feedback, interact with customers and that ushers you into the checking stage to analyze what works and what does not. The final stage is acting upon the information you have received. This now needs to become a vicious circle because it will help improve your personal and business brand,” he said.

Irene Nandyose, a co-founder of Candid crafts, a business that provides market for artisans and alumni of the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program also has an individual business knitting and crocheting. The young lady says she has gained a lot from the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program to the benefit of her crocheting venture.

“Personally I have seen changes in the projects I am involved in. In the beginning, I had a low stock turnover due to high pricing. After the training, I picked lessons from entrepreneurship, marketing and product development training to research, engage and interact with my customers which has since boosted my sales,” she narrates.

Organisations

Speaking to organisations, Walusimbi said it is important to ensure that they have key performance indicators for the trainees undertaking the program.

“It is important to identify key performance indicators. They are a form of performance measurement used for tracking impact of organisations. These can be tailored around the roles or vision of the organization for example a digital skills training center can be assessed through the ability for people to create websites and online advertising campaigns,” he explained adding that it is important to ensure the indicator is reliable and relevant.

Evaluation of the trainees is also important. Walusimbi explained that organisations can utilize online forms to assess the qualitative and quantitative data about the impact of the program.

“Some of the tips on creating smart evaluation forms include: mostly using specific objective questions during the assessment. Make the form short and concise to fill, highlight anonymity as people love secrecy when it comes to giving honest feedback,” he notes.

It is also very important to explain to the trainees the vitality of honest feedback for improvement of the training programs.

There are also simple software programs that can be used to make the smart evaluation forms for instance Google forms, Microsoft forms and Air table.

Walusimbi also advised to create a community of the trainees (alumni) with the goal of building sustainability of the empowerment.

An alumni, he said will create an accommodating environment for the youth to bond and freely share ideas for growth.

“Recognize the fact that everyone grows at different paces to give room for the members to grow at ease. It is also important to document the achievements of the members to create proof of the impact,” he tipped organisations.

Nelson Munyanda, a manager at MTN Foundation in charge of youth empowerment said the Foundation is glad to have witnessed positive results from the trainees such as Nandyose noting that MTN is keen to see results and commits to create a sustainable and successful skilling program to reduce unemployment among the youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTN youth skilling program supports S.6 vacist to realize music producer dream

The uncertainty of the future of the education sector has left many children camped at home, but for twenty-year-old Brian Mawerere, music is his go to.

The MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program is his stepping stone.

Mawerere alias Welleh Beats is one of the participants in the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program, a partnership between MTN Foundation and Ubunifu systems created with the aim of empowering youth into becoming job creators.

With the ultimate dream of becoming an entrepreneur in music production, Welleh jumped at the opportunity to attain business skills from the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling program in December 2020.

He knew that to attain the dream of becoming one of the most successful music producers in the region, he needed to have the right business skillset to run and manage a company.

“Through the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling Program, I learnt how to manage business and now have some knowledge especially on digital skills. I can now keep tabs on my company records through Microsoft excel, make beautiful presentations using MS Power point and the overall knowledge of using computers will help me navigate the software in my music production journey,” he says.

Welleh’s music production journey is budding with about a year’s experience in his pocket.

He embarked on the tunes and hymns expedition after schools were closed as a result of the pandemic in March 2020.

Welleh is a senior six vacist from Bright Secondary School Entebbe having accomplished his Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) in 2019, right before the pandemic hit.

Slotted for university in 2020, unaware of the pandemic that the future held, Welleh was vested in cultivating a passion he had for music. He was inspired by the late Danz Kumapeesa.

“After finishing my S6, I got a job from which I was earning some money. I bought a small laptop and installed basic software for music production,” he narrates.

For months, Welleh trained on his laptop and a nearby studio in Seguku where he was working with his father. In November 2020, Welleh hit a milestone when he got an opportunity to work as producer at his uncle’s friend’s studio.

“With help from my uncle, I got a link to his friend who needed a producer.  Following a successful audition, I was hired at that studio in Kajjansi where I had to relocate,” he says.

However, the job didn’t last very long because the proprietor of the studio pulled out of the business, forcing Welleh to relocate back to his family home in Bulenga.

Determined to become a music producer, Welleh discovered Pinnacle records in Bulenga, a studio where he now undertakes continuous and relentless training.

“I officially joined the music industry while at Pinnacle records. There, I continued training myself both in the studio and researching via the internet on how to better my music production skills,” Welleh recounts.

 

Achievements

Already, in his budding music production journey, Welleh has worked with some artists, mostly a cocktail of the upcoming.

“I have worked with some that might be known and others that aren’t so famous. I have worked with Zil Zil but one of my greatest achievements is making people happy through the work I do,” he explains.

Challenges

Welleh’s journey of music production has been an adventure not without its challenges.

As he reveals, the high costs involved in investing in studio time and time required for research limit his ability to fully harness his potential in music production.

“I would like to go to a real school for example in sound engineering such that I can fully become like one of those renowned and advanced music producers but that is expensive,” he notes.

Youth Skilling Program boosts networking for Welleh

Already, MTN Foundation Youth Skilling Program has set some milestones for the youngster through network connections to one of the prominent music producers.

During his training, Welleh had the opportunity to meet Benon Mugumbya, popularly known as Benon, a musician and renowned music producer from Swangz Avenue.

Well-grounded on digital and business skills attained through the Program, Welleh believes that he will be well prepared to seek for an opportunity at Swangz Avenue sooner than later.

At Swangz, he hopes to build onto his music experience before he can venture into his own production.

He wishes to work with various talented artists such as Sheebah Karungi, Spice Diana and Naava Grey among others in future.

Speaking further to his future, Welleh hopes to become an accomplished entrepreneur in the music industry flanked by an honors of the best music producer across East Africa.

Damba’s hearing impairment kindled his search for entrepreneurial skills from MTN youth skilling program

Harunah Damba lived an ordinary life until the fateful year of 2015.  Falling ill for about three years, the young man slowly started to lose his hearing ability. Ear by ear, the sound disappeared. The silence was so loud. At only 22 years, Damba became deaf.

“In 2015, I suffered an illness and developed difficulty in hearing. The problem started with my left ear and later shifted to my right ear, and soon silence etched in both my ears,” he narrates.

After several failed attempts by medical doctors to treat his illness, an old lady convinced Damba’s parents to take him home. She advised that they use herbal medicine which they also later learnt was useless.

Faced with the new reality that he would be deaf, Damba did not take it so well. It was no easy feat.

“I didn’t know any bit of sign language and neither did my parents nor relatives. I used to live in seclusion because it was difficult, almost impossible for me to engage in any conversation. While in such a situation, I could see that most of my friends with similar impairment had a lot on their mind, asking questions like; would we ever get a decent living and or good employment?” he recounts.

Corridor talk from the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) fraternity illuminated him to the discrimination that would befall him in the employment market.

“I knew the future was going to be hard without any form of self-employment,” he says. It was at that moment that Damba made the decision to become an entrepreneur.

Damba is an entrepreneur

With the help of his dad, Damba has made strides in his ambitions.

At only 27 years, in a country reeling with youth unemployment, Damba owns a garden, sugarcane plantation and a poultry house of both local and exotic birds. The young lad also leased land for a brickmaking project.

He earns enough from his businesses to meet his needs.

Damba is also a beacon amongst the PWD fraternity in Bweyogerere where he is the chairperson-elect of PWDs at the parish and founder of United Persons with Disabilities (UPWDs), a disabled peoples’ organization in Bweyogerere parish.

“The organization has transformed into a social impact body tackling youth unemployment and increasing empowerment. We are still in the budding stage and using our own resources to set an example of what we really committed to. Currently, we are running two projects for the benefit of PWDs; bead making and poultry, and we are devising means of investing in mushroom growing,” he reveals.

Damba qualifies as a jack of all traits having volunteered at Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) as a junior scientist before the covid-19 outbreak.

“I am thrilling at the epitome of my efforts. At the moment, I am looking at ways to expand my businesses and also integrate modern technologies,” he revels in his success.

MTN Youth skilling program

It was in his efforts to expand his business and hone skills in digital technology and youth social entrepreneurship that Damba landed on the MTN youth skilling program which he has since learnt extensively from.

“I am greatly enthralled to discover how ICT and entrepreneurship is bridging the rampant unemployment gap, and making PWDs resourceful and valuable. I commend the approach being used to train the next generation of young leaders which involves a paid training to acquire an internationally recognized International Certificate of digital literacy (ICDL) with cutting-edge modules tailored to our problems, business training, networking and mentorship,” he says.

Bearing Haruna’s hearing impairment in mind, the youth skilling program which was conducted online, ensured he was included through utilizing zoom online services which carried captions for interpretation.

“The zoom app has inclusive features like automatic captioning and a chat window. So I utilized them to always ask whenever I had not understood the concept and they were indeed mindful of the fact that the program includes people like me. We also heard google classroom and this is where most of the content was posted from class materials to reference content,” he explains.

He goes on to add; “I see this opportunity as an optimal catalyst for me to launch a career in ICT and youth social entrepreneurship to the level where I can create economic and employment opportunities for not only myself but also a wider range of individuals.”

Challenges

In spite of this success, it has not been a rosy journey for the young gentleman from Namanve. His hearing impairment has cost him friends and shone upon him a judgmental light in society.

“Most of my friends do not know sign language and many could not spare time to write while communicating to me. Many of them felt offended when I retorted because of my disability that I couldn’t hear them and that they please write down what they are saying. Also, many still have the false perception against us, the disabled. They see our disability more than our abilities. They are quick to judge what I can and can’t do because of my disability, yet I am more than what they perceive me to be,” he notes.

Shaking off the grim, Damba believes the future is bright.

He is certain that he is now an asset to drive his association; UPWDs, from a grass root level to an internationally recognized institution, having attained knowledge and skills in resource mobilization, business setup and management along with soft skills: networking, collaboration, presentation among others.

In five years, Damba envisions himself as a successful entrepreneur.