Last week, we held our first ever training camp held in Entebbe, Uganda. 102 participants attended the camp, most of whom came from 14 universities across Uganda, as well as a group of students from the University of Oxford. The programme was packed with talks and activities, which engendered positivity and excitement about being one of the leaders of the UniTED community.
During the presentations we communicated to students that they were part of something larger than themselves. We attempted to encourage students to identify with and to think about their responsibilities towards some of the global issues facing citizens today, and in our post camp survey, not only did 89% of students say that they were more aware of global issues following the camp; 97% told us that they cared more about these issues.
Alongside theoretical presentations, students were encouraged to concentrate on the practicalities of action. Specifically, training was based on the way in which UniTED groups on campus are run and involved, for example, the production of a campus newsletter and how to conduct action learning groups and brainstorming sessions. We were extremely happy, therefore, to find out that 94% of students said, at the end of the camp, that they felt either ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ to act as Uniters.
At the same time, students had ample time to engage in various activities ranging from morning aerobics and meditation to afternoon sports, primarily designed to encourage students to interact and build relationships with other global change makers. Every evening a campfire discussion was also run which encouraged debate on various topical issues such as ‘Uganda’s development’. This was imperative in getting students to think about solutions to, and the link between local and global problems.
Due to the success of the camp we are all ready planning next years, and hope to be able to attract students from all over East Africa.