Joseph Oonyu

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I joined INT Class 17 in May 2015 on the recommendation of a colleague after he noticed my deep passion for transformational leadership. I have held many leadership positions at my work place and elsewhere, but my turning point on leadership was when UWEZO released its 2013 report on the state of education in Uganda, which in summary stated that Ugandan children could not read and write compared to their counterparts in East Africa. Of course I was aware of this and had read other similar reports on education in Uganda. In fact, I carried out an assessment of Uganda’s attainment of Education for All (EFA) goals in 2012. However, I do not know why the UWEZO report hit me on the face so hard that I resolved to stop complaining and look for solutions to the challenges. Imagine a Primary 6 pupil could not read a text meant for a Primary 2 child! My colleague further energized me when he informed me that the likes of Mrs. Jennifer Musisi and Madam Allen Kagina, who are doing wonderful things in their areas of responsibility were alumni of INT. This got me really thinking. I asked myself, whether or not these two ladies had the grace of being ‘born leaders’ before joining INT or not, and if not, what is it that they got from INT? I prayed about it and in particular, for the light to shine through me (Matthew 5:14-16). The next thing I found myself doing was attending the first INT session.

The experience as I went through the modules was one in which I was angered by the inability of our African leaders to liberate us from shackles of poverty and disease, to a feeling of hope as exemplified by the success story of Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore; a country that was poorer than Ghana at independence. If Singapore can do it, why not Uganda? What is inherently wrong with us Africans, I kept asking myself? At INT, I was taught the importance of facing brutal facts, thinking strategically, and focusing on doing best what I am good at. In addition, just as God set up systems we need to do the same and to identify the right people for the job. Harriet continued to gently remind us in each session, whether or not we have a passion and are willing to die for what we believed in. I can still hear her voice! I am steadily working on becoming a highly professional no excuse leader of integrity.  I strongly believe that INT has equipped me better to contribute towards my leadership journey at community and national levels, especially in the area of education. As you may well agree, no country can be better than the quality of its training and education system, and no training and education system can be better that the quality of its teachers, parents and leaders. Yes, I strongly believe that good education based on biblical principles is central to the transformation of other spheres. A lot of good things have occurred in this country including widening access to education. However, the challenge now is how to leapfrog from access to provision of quality value based education that is responsive to the demands of tomorrow’s global citizenry. Imagine we are already beginning to experience virtual libraries and lectures being conducted in the comfort of our sitting rooms. The leadership of the education sphere is currently designing models that it believes will deliver quality value based for Ugandans. I believe Uganda is endowed and blessed with all that it needs to transform itself to a first world country as long as we remember our motto: “For God and My Country”.