Last week, 22nd to 26th February 2021, I had the privilege to visit with seven disadvantaged young adults, unemployed university graduates in Lira and Kalaki Districts in Northern Uganda, beneficiaries of CPAR Uganda’s “Mentoring young adults into innovators against poverty” project, for which we are doing online fundraising in partnership with GlobalGiving.
As the lead mentor, I visited our mentees so as to acquaint myself, and through me CPAR Uganda, with the realities in which our mentees live and work. At the same time, I was on a mission to convince the greatest in his field in Uganda to join our mentoring team.
Ms. Norah Owaraga at a roving market at Amugu Trading Centre on Wednesday, 24th February 2021, visiting with Innovator Okello, who trades in shoes. Well, it would appear that wielding knives made in Uganda (BUBU) may be a good way to ensure social distancing ha ha ha. Photo taken by Emmanuel Owaraga.
As part of our new research project: “Challenging categories: educated unemployed youth as institutional innovators in rural Uganda”, led by Dr. Ben Jones of the University of East Anglia, our theory of change is that through our mentees we will amplify the voices of disadvantaged communities; and ultimately we will contribute to improving standards of living in those communities.
In order, therefore, to achieve our objective of skilling our mentees and building their confidence to effectively speak out for and on behalf of their communities, we need the best to join our mentoring team. For our team, there is none better than Mr. Philip Luswata and for that reason I have been courting him for over six months now.
Mr. Philip Luswata at a roving market at Amugu Trading Centre on Wednesday, 24th February 2021, visiting with CPAR Uganda Young Innovator Okello, who trades in shoes. Towards the end a positively aggressive trader approached us and convinced us to spend on a misdirected priority – knives made in Uganda (BUBU). Photo taken by Emmanuel Owaraga.
We have not yet formally signed off, but following his initial reaction to our research proposal and field visits to our mentees, there is reason to believe Mr. Luswata will agree to join our mentoring team. In essence, we intend that he will creatively enhance the knowledge and skills of our mentees, similarly to how he is known to do for young people that he works with, such as those who participated in his production, “30 years of bananas” , for example.
“They took on roles of two different generations, those that saw and those that had only heard about the atrocities of the past regimes. The production takes its audience through the Ugandan journey that includes getting an independence they were not ready for. (And using) football as collage to represent running a country – football the game seemed to be the country and Ugandans were the players.”Kaggwa Andrew Mayiga in “Philip Luswata brings “30 years of bananas” back to life” in The Theatre Times, 4th September 2019
Mr. Luswata is a highly rated and a respected performer in Uganda and beyond; while at the same time he is a celebrated playwright, film-maker, television script writer and producer. In addition, he is an educator in the Uganda formal schooling system – he is a lecturer at the Department of Theatre and Film of Makerere University Kampala, where a lot of his students and others elsewhere are fortunate to benefit from his impressive pedigree.
Mr. Luswata holds a Diploma in Music, Dance and Drama and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama, both from Makerere University Kampala; and he holds a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Leeds University, UK. He is an alumnus of the Royal Court Theatre Residence in London, the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Utah (as an observer), and the Sundance Institute East Africa lab, among others.
CPAR Uganda Innovator Okello Jimmy Ezra at a roving market at Amugu Trading Centre on Wednesday, 24th February 2021, where he was trading in shoes.
Using the realities of their own life journeys and empirical data that our research shall generate, we anticipate Mr. Luswata will consciously awaken our mentees to appreciate their roles in their communities; and through our mentees he will contribute to effective dissemination of our research findings; and in creative, user-friendly and memorable formats; thus greatly contributing to the research body of work on education.
By Ms. Norah Owaraga, Managing Director