The end of journey – time to go back home

Time flies REALLY fast. REALLY. I have completed my 12-week internship in Uganda, and now I am writing this blog in China, on the way to go back to Japan. By the way, this trip is (again) super long, 24 hours in total. I would be super happy if I could successfully find my suite cases in Tokyo…Fingers crossed!

Since the last blog, I have been quite busy. I visited Karamoja again for a week with a communication officer of my host organization. The purpose of this trip is documentation of the organization’s program in Karamoja, which is going to be used for donor reports and the organization’s website. So, we went there with a professional photographer as well as a videographer. It was an interesting opportunity for me to observe how professional people develop the organization’s communication tools including blogs, photos, and video clips. I also individually conducted interviews with teachers and headteachers (principals are called “headteachers” in Uganda), and observed the teachers’ lessons. Based on these interviews and observations, I created some blog articles about the program with focusing on teachers’ perspectives. I proposed to focus on teachers because I think that it often happens that teachers’ perspectives are not paid much attention in any kind of communication tools as well as reports.

Also, I completed analyzing the results of the survey focusing on teachers’ motivations in Karamoja. There are some very interesting findings that the current policy framework do not mention much. For instance, the result shows that inappropriate supervisions can  be a demotivating factor for teachers. Some teachers mention that they feel threatened and/or pressured by the management when they get their supervisions. Teachers also mention that when they feel that they are ignored and/or disrespected from the school administration, they get demotivated. This result suggests that management and supervision of teachers should be conducted with respect for them and there should be a trustful relationship among teachers and the administration. I wrote up a report on the results with some policy recommendations and submit it to my colleagues.

My colleagues had a farewell party for me at the office

This internship was not very easy for me. Although I worked for three years before I entered IEDP, this was my first time to work professionally at a very international workplace. For the first several weeks, it was a challenge for me to communicate with other officers and get tasks. My TOR was very flexible, which means that I had to actively propose what I can do and what I wanted to do during this internship and get tasks from other officers.

Also, living in an unfamiliar setting was sometimes stressful. Living in Kampala was basically very comfortable, but I had to get used to random blackouts in my house. I became even more thankful to electricity, hot shower, and signals after three field-trips with barely having them.

Now, I am very happy that I have completed my internship with coping with all these challenges (including others that I do not mention here!) and achieved my goals for this internship:

  1. To better understand how my host organization works/how its education officers work to improve education
  2. To experience practical work and make outputs which are useful for other staff
  3. To do field (including refugee-hosting districts) visits to see the needs in the fields and how the organization’s programs are implemented
  4. To get some hints to know how I want to work to improve education in the global south after graduating IEDP

I want to express my gratitude to my colleagues who have helped me to achieve them and friends, families, and mentors who have supported me all the time.

The internship has ended, but this is the beginning of another journey. I want to (I believe I can!) utilize what I learned in Uganda for my future work.

2 thoughts on “The end of journey – time to go back home

  1. Hi Risa, just stumbled on your blog and experience in Uganda.
    Yay! You made it through the power blackouts, traffic and winding procedures :-).
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Having visited Japan, I can only imagine your frustrations in Kampala and Kotido, but you have been a good spot :-).
    Wish you all the best with the next chapter.

    Will you be returning to Philly at some point? I lived in Philly for 2 years as my husband studied for his masters program at UPenn, so yeah, we have a little bit in common.

    I hope your research and articles will serve to create good education programs for Uganda. Cheers!


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