Creating a Ugandan identity

As a follow up to my previous article I felt it was imperative that I share some of my thoughts and ideas of how we can continue to effect positive change in Uganda and the continent as a whole.
I sit on the board of an International school in Kampala where I chair the education committee. We are in the process of drawing up two major aspects of the education policy of the school. These are; the school`s philosophy and the student outcomes. A basic definition of the school philosophy would be its core values, ideals and the reasons why the school exists. The student outcomes could be defined as the standards we want our students to achieve at school and the positive effect we hope they have later on in their lives. This is a painstaking process that has already taken several long meetings and is likely to take many more. One of the reasons why the board is doing this is we want to leave a legacy for Uganda that will see its transformation into a country that the world will look up to.

My experience with academic institutions and private companies that have gone through this process and have actually gone onto implement the policies is that they have become hugely successful. In the United Kingdom there is no shortage of opportunities for those who went to Eton College or did their degrees at Oxford or Cambridge. Locally, I have been able to identify a lady or gentleman who was educated at Gayaza or Budo schools simply by the way the way they speak English and their mannerisms. I am sure this is because they have carried their school`s philosophies and student outcomes into their lives even after school. In the business sector if you walk into any Javas coffee shop in Kampala and you will appreciate that they are a cut above the rest of the competition. Again this is because the company`s ethos has been instilled into their workforce.

Several other institutions boldly display their vision, mission and values statements. In my discussions with several people who are at different levels within these organisations, I have discovered that most of them have very little idea what these statements are or mean. Unashamedly they have very little care to find out what they are, let alone implement them. Obviously there is a very bad disconnect between leaders and those who they lead. It is disheartening to think our people in formal employment who spend several hours at work or school only look forward to a wage or an academic certificate. My cry is for true leaders to arise. True leaders who will inspire those they lead to make their vision, mission and values become a part and parcel of their institutions culture. True leaders who want to build organisations that are not only enriching people`s lives but are helping to transform our nation.

My dream for Uganda is that all learning institutions, private and public companies and NGOs actually implement the vision and mission statements they write. In this dream the people who work for these organisations will know what these statements are and will proudly say they are part of organisations that are making a difference in Uganda. I dream the same pride will be translated into national pride. Ugandans will be proud of their hospitals, roads, schools, etc. Ugandans will be proud of their high achieving sports teams as they conquer the world. Ugandan art will be known and appreciated for its beauty and uniqueness. When Ugandans travel they will be recognized not because of their accents but because of their warmth and the richness of their culture.