'Education That Pays For Itself' international conference comes to our partner school in Uganda!

From 30th October - 1st November Teach A Man To Fish held the eighth annual 'Education That Pays For Itself' conference at Mackay Memorial College, our partner school in Uganda. This year's theme was 'Empowering Young People With The Skills For Success: From Job Seekers to Job Creators'. The conference was a huge success and brought together educators, NGO's and government bodies from all over the world to discuss sustainable education. Two hundred participants came from over twenty countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, India, Paraguay, Afghanistan and many others!



Speeches, roundtable discussions and workshops were delivered on a huge number of topics, ranging from a plenary on 'Finding Funding'; a workshop on 'How To Run Your School Business' and a roundtable discussion on 'Adapting School Enterprises by Country and Culture'. During the opening ceremony, five students from Uganda, Kenya and Paraguay shared their first-hand experiences of working on school businesses and their future plans to be entrepreneurs.

There was also a fantastic range of speakers and facilitators from organisations including Fundacion Paraguaya, the Saville Foundation, Akilah, STIR Education, PEDN, Educate! PEAS, the British Council and Kampala Capital City Authority. These organisations shared their expertise and experiences in sustainable education and encouraged the audience to think positively and proactively about school-based businesses. For example, Maggie Sheehan from Educate! highlighted that “high achievement always takes place in an environment of high expectations - have faith in the skills of the students”.


Winners of our School Enterprise Challenge and Pan African Awards also came to the conference to share their experiences of school enterprises. Bijal Damani from SN Kansagra school in India won the School Enterprise Challenge's 'Inspirational Teacher' award and told the audience how their school business helped underprivileged students receive an education. The 1st prize winner of the Pan African Awards, Zip Zap Circus, also inspired the audience by sharing their innovative and creative approach to socio-economic problems in South Africa by supporting 'youth at risk' to develop skills through the medium of circus.


Mackay Memorial College was chosen to host the international conference because of Teach A Man To Fish's existing partnership with the school and for their role in promoting sustainable and entrepreneurial education within the country. This made them the first secondary school in Uganda to host an international conference, which is both a prestigious opportunity and quite a daunting challenge! The school took the challenge head on and the whole school came together to help Teach A Man To Fish staff organise the conference before and during the event. This included many committees that the school set up to manage different areas of the conference. Instead of hiring outside caterers, the school decided that they wanted to cater for the conference themselves. Five teachers and ten students studying Home Economics cooked all of the delicious lunches and tea breaks throughout the conference which was a huge achievement. The students also made beautiful gifts for the participants, including an 'Education That Pays' bracelet for each delegate.


'I learnt many things from different people. 'Dream big, start small, act quick' – that's what Nikki Raw [from the Saville Foundation] taught me'

Nalubega Bonitah, helper at conference and member of Business Club

Students from Teach A Man To Fish's newly created Business Club also used the skills learnt from lessons on Sales and Customer Service to sell products made by the school. These products included a newly produced DVD of Mackay Troupe, jewellery, purses and bags. They also exhibited different projects at the school, including organic fertiliser, briquettes and their newly opened museum. The Mackay Troupe, one of the school businesses supported by Teach A Man To Fish, entertained the delegates by performing during the opening and closing ceremony. They received a lot of interest from the local and international attendees and also generated 300,000 UGX income selling the DVDs!


'I learnt that you need to get ideas and share with other people so you get the best one. The conference improved my confidence to talk to foreigners as before I was shy but now I can talk to them. I even learnt more about the internet by setting up a new email account to keep in touch with them!'

Tumusiime Livingstone, helper at conference and member of Business Club

The school was transformed for the three days of the conference and even after the event, the impact of the conference is still being felt. Members of the Teach A Man To Fish's Business Club have been motivated to continue to develop their business skills and six students are now going to become responsible for the record-keeping of the poultry, piggery and entertainment businesses. The poultry project are also planning to get 300 of their own eggs hatched so that they can rear 1-day old chicks and sell them after two months. This is expected to be far more profitable than buying chicks from another supplier. A specialist in kuroiler chickens is also coming to the school to give a one-day training session to the students on how to look after very young chicks, including how to vaccinate them, what to feed them and what the environment should be like.  

The conference has also generated a lot of interest in sustainable education amongst schools in the area and we are now being approached by different teachers who want to set up school businesses! We hope that the spirit of Education That Pays For Itself will live on within Uganda, as well as outside the country, and that different schools will be motivated to start their own school-based businesses as a result. 

To find out more about Teach A Man To Fish's work in Uganda please contact our in-country Field Officer Kaliisa Rogers by emailing rogers@teachamantofish.org.uk.





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