Category: Education

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Rwabwogo Preaches Unity, Hard Work & Value Addition for Sustainable Growth as over 10, 000 Graduate in Ankole Region

In a moving address, Odrek Rwabwogo, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), challenged over 10,000 graduands from Ankole Region to embrace hard work, persistence, and a focus on value addition and above all, unity, as the cornerstones for sustainable economic growth and industrial development.

Addressing the gathering at the Booma Grounds, Mbarara City on Sunday, May 19, 2024, Rwabwogo commended the graduates for their achievements and encouraged them to see this milestone as the beginning of their journey towards contributing to the nation’s growth.

PACEID in partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) facilitated and certified over 10,000 individuals from all the districts of the Ankole Region with a modular category certificate. All these excelled in competence-based industrial assessment after six months.

The graduates were certified in the fields of tailoring, baking, coffee/pig/goat/cattle/bee farming, plumbing, motor vehicle/cycle mechanics, photography, soap and detergent making, dairy processing, mushroom farming, graphic design, computer application, carpentry, embroidery, music, leather design, and banana farming.

Rwabwogo, who arrived for the ceremony in the company of his wife, Patience Rwabwogo, stressed the importance of this training which is to enable more job creators rather than job seekers. “The country has many younger people coming into the employment level but some are not employable. Just graduating doesn’t mean that you are employable, they need a special touch on skilling and attitude. The importance of this training and certification is that you go start your own business and hopefully deal in the 13 products we are involved in for export and hopefully we can catch you on standards, hopefully we can find you a buyer, hopefully we can finance the orders. You have to build each level in order to lead into another.”

He reiterated that it is not enough to merely produce urging the audience to add value to the products and services which enhances their competitiveness in both domestic and global markets.

Rwabwogo also called for unity stating that individualism cannot create industry. “We must work in unity because everybody wants to work on their own in our country. There is no success unless you really bring particular products to create industries. For example, the president launched here(Mbarara) a Tin factory not far from here a month ago. For you to succeed with tin, you must be assembling radios, laptops, and other things. But if you get tin and combine it with copper which we have, then you can make brass. Brass is what we use on bullets and vehicles etc. Industries have to be strong in order for investment to come in. You cannot have one company create an industry, it takes a lot of time. The point of unity is to help us create industries on value addition and processing of those things.”

He added, “By collaborating, sharing knowledge, and supporting one another, we can amplify our impact and drive Uganda’s industrial revolution forward.”

His words resonated with the graduates, who listened intently, inspired by his vision for a future where Uganda’s industries thrive on the foundations of skilled, dedicated, and innovative individuals.

DIT Director Dr. Patrick Byakatonda congratulated the graduates and encouraged them not to stop at this certificate but to aim higher by furthering their learning to fulfill Uganda’s huge industrial capacity. “As we think about the future, we must think about Uganda, our Nation has a huge industrial capacity with one of the most innovative workforces globally. I thank the stewardship of Odrek (Rwabwogo) for unleashing industrial potential for global excellence.”

PACEID Head of Secretariat, Matthew Bagonza expressed gratitude to all stakeholders involved in organizing the graduation. “I am grateful to all the stakeholders involved in organizing this remarkable event. This is a testament to the fruitful partnership between PACEID and DIT, which has empowered skilled individuals and certified them after thorough assessments upon completion of their training programs in their respective fields.” he said before taking the opportunity to communicate PACEID’s mandate of boosting Uganda’s exports and increasing foreign earnings by an extra USD 6Bn in the next five years and USD 100Bn by 2062.

Kole District Member of Parliament Hon. Opio Samuel Acuti applauded PACEID for the vital role it is playing in realizing the vision for a more industrialized and export-oriented Uganda. “We are proud to support this initiative and witness the fruit of this partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training. This is a momentous occasion for the Ankole region. These graduates represent the future leaders and innovators who will drive Uganda’s industrial and economic growth.”

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PACEID and Purple Skills Klinic Partnership Graduates over 100 in Various Fields    

On the Wednesday, 1st of May 2024, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) and the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT), in collaboration with the Purple Skills Klinic Foundation led by Douglas Lwanga, held a graduation ceremony at Eden Grounds in Kamwokya. The event marked the successful completion of a skilling training program by over 100 individuals, encompassing diverse fields; cosmetology, soap making, deejaying, baking, photography/videography, modeling, public speaking, graphic designing, and various other vocational skills among others.

The key speakers at the event were Dr. Patrick Byakatonda, the Director of DIT, and Matthew Bagonza, the Head of the Secretariat for PACEID. During their speeches, they congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to put the skills they had acquired to good use by contributing to the growth of the economy.

Matthew Bagonza, Head of PACEID Secretariat encouraged the graduates to use their acquired skills to better the economy

During his speech, Matthew Bagonza conveyed his heartfelt congratulations to the graduands and thanked Douglas Lwanga for the initiative that is aimed at bettering the lives and livelihoods of the people in the ghettos of Kamwokya before committing continued support for the Purple Skills Klinic going forward.

“The partnership between PACEID and DIT has been instrumental in equipping these young people with the necessary skills to thrive in various industries. We are confident that they will utilize their newfound knowledge and expertise to contribute to the success of Uganda’s exports and industrial development.” Bagonza said adding that the graduates now can use newfound expertise to add value to their respective products and contribute to Uganda’s target of USD 6Bn in the next five years.  

Matthew Bagonza and DIT Director, Dr. Patrick Byakatonda inspecting some of the products made by the graduates

Dr. Patrick Byakatonda took the opportunity to commission the graduates of the Purple Skills Klinic where the graduates were awarded modular occupational competence-based certificates in their respective fields. “The skills they have learned will be invaluable and I believe they will play a crucial role in the nation’s economic growth.”

DIT Director, Dr. Patrick Byakatonda

One of the guest speakers at the ceremony, Duncan Abigaba, a graduate student of international business at the Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia, expressed his delight at being part of the occasion. He extended his gratitude to PACEID for its contribution to empowering the youth in the ghetto with practical and employable skills.

Abigaba emphasized the significance of skilled labor in economic development and advocated for the promotion of locally produced goods in the international market. “Economies are built by skilled people not educated people. I encourage you to use your skills to produce quality goods and services that align with the national, regional, and international standards.”

Duncan Abigaba

Amidst the celebratory atmosphere, the graduates were treated to captivating performances by renowned entertainers including Pastor Wilson Bugembe, Nina Roz, Fefe Bussi, and Karole Kasita. These artistes imparted words of encouragement to the graduates, urging them to persevere and continue creating employment opportunities within their respective fields of expertise.

Douglas Lwanga, the Founder of Purple Skills Klinic applauded the joint efforts of PACEID and DIT for their support towards the success of the ceremony. “Thank you Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, I know you are not here with us today but we appreciate the good work you and your team are doing not only for us but for the entire country.”

Purple Skills Klinic Foundation founder Douglas Lwanga with Kampala Woman MP, Hon. Shamim Malende

This served as a testament to the positive impact of collaborative initiatives aimed at nurturing vocational skills and enabling economic empowerment within communities. As the graduates embark on their professional journeys, they carry with them not only a certificate of accomplishment but also a sense of purpose and determination to contribute meaningfully to Uganda’s socio-economic landscape.

Douglas Lwanga is congratulated by Eastern Region Youth MP, Hon. Odoi Onen

The graduation ceremony was attended by government officials, industry leaders, and community members, all of whom celebrated the achievements of the graduates and their potential to contribute to the country’s economic prosperity. Prominent among these were Hon. Shamim Malende, Kampala Woman Member of Parliament, and Hon. Odoi Onen, Youth member of Parliament for the Eastern region.

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Hon. Tagesse Chaffo Dullo, Speaker of the House of Peoples Representatives

MENTORSHIP 2024: Hon. Tagesse Chaffo Dullo’s full keynote speech

Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni;

Excellencies;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Gyebale Ko

Greetings,

First of all, allow me, Your Excellency, to extend my sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the people and government of Uganda for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to me and My delegation since our arrival to Uganda, the pearl of Africa. I would particularly seize this opportunity to appreciate Honorable Anita Annet Among, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, for welcoming me from the moment I disembarked from the plane.

Let me begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to my brother, His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, and his government for establishing a national platform to recognize public servants who served their country with integrity and courage that future generations of this great country will undoubtedly look up to as modeling a character. We must acknowledge African role models and create avenues for them to shine, inspiring African youth and beyond.

We must empower and pave the way for African youth to assume their rightful positions through the right mentorship and guidance. As we strive for Economic growth, innovation, peace, and stability, we must not just include young African leaders but also actively engage and empower them. Their unique perspectives and talents can significantly contribute to these vital goals of our well-being. We must also acknowledge their outstanding achievements publicly on such a decorated platform.

I know that the Right Honorable Dr. Jacob Oulanyah is a brilliant and ambitious young African who has dedicated himself to improving his nation and Africa. I would also like to congratulate the family of the late awardee for leading by example. Regrettably, he could not accept this honor in person and spend more time with his loved ones while serving his beloved country.

But his loved ones, those who survive him, are honored by his services, and I believe they will carry on his legacy. Seeing Hon. Andrew Oulanyah, his son, following his father’s example filled me with immense pleasure. This is a testament to his father’s leadership and values passed on to the next generation, who deserve recognition.

Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni;

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Such recognition platforms spearheaded by His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, also the storehouse of Wisdom of Africa, empower African youth to learn from relatable role models to demonstrate the distinctiveness of African heritage, values, and societal fabric. Africa’s vast and diverse heritage, shaped by thousands of years of history, traditions, and practices, has significantly influenced agricultural, medical, and architectural industries worldwide.

This legacy displays the innovative thinking and inventiveness of its citizens. The great achievers have had. The current African generation needs to get the great lessons from our ancestors and bring Africa to its rightful position in the world. With the current global situation, young African leaders must adopt a unique and practical approach to lead their communities to a brighter future.

In order to achieve success, we must strive for excellence by setting a grand vision and putting in the necessary effort with impeccable time management Skills. Let us aim high and work diligently to reach our vision. I can assure you with the right eye, provision comes. My message today for African Youths is to celebrate and honor our distinctive African values, no matter what challenges come our way. Let us follow in the footsteps of Ugandans who are making every effort to preserve these values with utmost dedication. Let us not forget that our values define our very being and form the foundation of our cultural heritage.

They are the essence of our identity, and we must honor them by passing them on to the next generation. With pride and reverence, let us hold our values close, for they are the key to our future. It is high time to trust in our abilities to solve African Issues. We know what goes wrong with us better than anyone else, so why should we invite foreign interference? Let us embrace African solutions for African problems and take control of our destiny. By implementing this concept in Ethiopia, we overcame challenges and reap the benefits. Similarly, having 60 percent of the population without access to electricity is a problem.

To address this problem, we envision building a magnificent Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dame, and to make it a reality, we invested 4.7 Billion USD from our coffers. It wasn’t an easy feat- we encountered numerous challenges, including accessing international organizations’ finances. However, we persevered and overcame the issue of finance coordinating our population. Now, we are proud to say that we are exporting electric power to our neighboring countries as a testament to the success of our efforts. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the only Peace Prize winner among African leaders, is a young leader like you. He got the prize for his capacity to bring African solutions to African Problems. Problems are meant to be solved, and instead of being discouraged by difficulties, we should embrace them as opportunities. We have several tangible African testimonies that can inspire the present youths. As our world-class long-time athletic legend Haile Genresilassie said, “It’s possible. I repeat it: it is possible.

Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni;

Excellencies;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a known fact that we Africans are a continent that is a cradle of civilization, from Ethiopia’s monolithic churches of Lalibela to Uganda’s Kasubi tombs, from Kushite Egypt’s and Sudanese pyramids to Great Zimbabwe ruins, from Ashanti to Timbuktu, every one of which speaks to our magnificent past. This demonstrates Africa’s significant contributions to world civilization in critical areas such as science, technology, and education, all of which our young should learn from.

To unify Africa, the founding fathers had first to break free of colonialism. They had to pay the price for winning a long and difficult battle against exploitation. The battle of Adwa dealt a crushing blow to colonialism and became an emblem of hope for black people in Africa and around the world. In gold letters, history chronicles the names of our ancestors who fought to transition the continent from colonialism to independence and union. Their anti-colonial souls sang to the tune of Pan-Africanism. The founding forefather envisioned a united continent adorned with solidarity, where generations lived their passions to the fullest and worked for the betterment of their children while bound by sovereignty and cooperated.

The Adwa of our time, a battle we must win, is to overcome the bleak legacy of colonialism and neocolonial practices by steering a new version of Pan-Africanism to free Africa from the shackles of underdevelopment. Governments should circumvent the neocolonial system and adequately address the continent’s ongoing challenges of economic reliance, corruption, and stagnant development. We must work together to capitalize on Africa’s immense natural and human resources to benefit her children.

It is our collective responsibility to leave a better Africa for the next generation through the execution of the following fundamental measures:

Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni;

Excellencies;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First comes achieving tangible prosperity by establishing a solid national and continental identity, promoting the rule of law, committing to a peaceful transition of power, establishing competent administration, and prioritizing growth.

They are cultivating industrious and inward-looking youth with indigenous ideals such as Medmer/synergy so that they are conscious of their communities, countries, and continents, as well as the strength and resources they have to succeed in a changing world. Today’s Leaders are expected to demonstrate Pan-Africanism and educate our youth that we flourish in unity and collaboration.

Targeting Universal Education is one technique for creating a knowledgeable generation. Restoring religious institutions, schools, and media is crucial for the holistic development of our youth. Our students should benefit from technology literacy; thus, broadening their experience in this area is vital.

Second, it is vital to develop open economies and domestic asset bases while encouraging trade and commerce. We must continue to deepen regional integration, such as expediting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and increasing infrastructural connectivity among our countries to connect communities, enhance trade, and enable economic integration. Building roads and expanding rail networks, communication networks, and pipes to fulfill the rising need for clean water and energy is a critical step toward realizing the benefits of regional and continental integration. Import substitution, industrialization, and strengthening regional trade ties are also essential.

Third, we strive to realize the Africa we want by meeting Agenda 2063 milestones and other continental and global strategic frameworks. While we appreciate and acknowledge our accomplishments thus far, we must guarantee that we remain on track for the future. In this way, our struggle against neocolonial systems will be on the right track.

Fourth, sustaining peace and stability is critical to economic and social progress. We must use more innovative and indigenous approaches to dispute resolution that align with our maxim “African solutions to African challenges.” In today’s post-fact circumstances, young people need to be able to recognize legitimate and advantageous information. This empowers our young people to promote peace and stability by addressing problems and grievances through appropriate channels.

The National Leadership/Mentorship Award is an excellent reminder to leaders and public servants of their responsibilities. Today’s awardee has been dubbed a “man of three principles” because he made decisions by asking the three questions: “Is it okay with God? Is it okay with the law; will I sleep well if I do that?” He wanted his children to be proud of “using his name and was focused on doing good, winning fairly, and eating only his share.” The Ethiopian proverb “ስም ከመቃብር በላይ ይውላል” translates to “reputations outlive graves.” This award demonstrates that the late Right Honorable Dr. Jacob traveled the path of integrity until the end, which is the kind of character to model for youth.

Public servants should exemplify such integrity by addressing injustice and unfairness, refraining from power abuse, and prioritizing the next generation. We consider ourselves a steward of a magnificent country and content, passing them down to future generations. Our civil service systems and government structures should allow for significant youth representation and co-creation of solutions, hence contributing to sustainability.

Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni;

Excellencies;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Being a public servant is an honor as it is a service to the nation and its people. Let us keep this in mind while we serve our nations and continent with dedication.

Congratulations again to the late Right Honorable Dr. Jacob’s loved ones on this outstanding award.

Thank you! Weebale

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Odrek Rwabwogo’s full speech at the 2024 National Mentorship Awards Luncheon

Mr. President

The visiting speaker of the House of People’s Representatives of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, the Honorable Tagesse Chaffo Dullo.

The elders who will be awarded today,

Cabinet Ministers

Members of Parliament,

Young people, who joined us at this year’s mentorship luncheon

I thank you very much Mr. President for allowing to host this luncheon and to award the crop of old people we chose for 2024. Last year, you were kind enough to send us the retired PM Hon. Amama Mbabazi (who is here) to preside over the mentorship dinner at Sheraton.

I thank the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hon. Ahmed Abiy whom Your Excellency sent us to, for in turn sending us Speaker Tagesse to be our keynote speaker today.

Some of the yardstick we use to arrive at cohorts to award annually include the following traits:

  1. The years of service a person has put into work for Uganda,
  2. The quality of decisions they made when they had authority,
  3. The depth, intensity, and character of the person,
  4. The kind of changes or reforms they instituted
  5. The impact they have even in retirement

As you might notice, the categories we choose cut across science and technology, art and culture, enterprise and manufacturing, politics and religion, and many other areas of life. Uganda has many good people who have laid foundations for our country but few are known and even fewer are celebrated. I got to know this when we began with nominations last year that ran into 60 + people yet we wanted few. We were not sure who to pick and who to leave out.

That gave me hope to know there are many people out there who build in silence but in the end, our country keeps united, stable, and growing.

To mentor is to guide; to illuminate a path for a young person by an elder, a sort of apprenticeship in life by the older to the young. Often it can be reversed given where one has knowledge and the young can mentor the old too. Mentorship is a good classroom for young people in leadership but sadly we haven’t been deliberate at it. We have not been intentional in creating seedbeds of leaders to guide institutions and the country in a world so competitive and set against Africa.  I woke up to this reality years back when I would be teaching and young people ask questions that show they are unhinged from the reality of what it takes to build a home, a business, an institution, or a country. Many come into leadership without preparation and they often confuse leadership with positions and titles.

There are about four mental architectures I get from young people especially because of the changes wrought by the internet and social media.

The first category is Avoidance. Young people severely reduce quality relationships for fear of opening up to causes that are bigger than them. They do not want to be hurt; they pretend all is well using clean-cut social media images of themselves; they appear strong on the outside but pretty weak inside; they do not want to be vulnerable by consulting elders on what they don’t know. They assume they know it all. In the end, they do not fulfill their purpose, and their potential remains underutilized. This category I meet regularly and they are full of criticism and less knowledgeable on what to do.

The second category is those who suffer from what psychologists call Deprivation. These were raised by self-centered caregivers who showed them that their needs do not matter. They develop an inner critic that tells them, ‘You don’t matter to the world, you are on your own’. These youth often have unworthy feelings and they struggle to fit in. This category is easily abused by peers and led into alcohol or drugs because deep in their hearts they have a yearning to fit in.

The third category is the ones we call overreactive youth. Often, they were abused when they were young and threatened by circumstances. Those thoughts stayed with them through life. They see no neutrality in anything. Everything that doesn’t take their view is menacing and should be fought!

The world to them is a dangerous place and there should be no compromises. They overreact and lash out at small inconveniences. They don’t want to wait. They are impatient and confuse time with seasons. (Cronos versus Kairos). These miss the calling on their lives and rush into instant gratification and kill their tomorrow.

The fourth category I meet is passive aggressors. This group has repressed anger over the years, probably against parents or their caregivers and peers. They sidestep open communication to avoid conflict and confrontation even when this confrontation might heal them of this anger. They have trouble dealing with negative emotions; they turn this passive aggression into a subtle power play. They manipulate others so that they can make them feel guilty and in return get their affection.

All the above categories need mentoring because these are the young people who will come into leadership with these emotional, social, and political deficits. These mental frames are the raw material a country has to produce leaders of tomorrow. It is the reason we use these mentorship sessions annually to create a bridge between the young and the old. A bridge is a good metaphorical example in life. It helps you cross to the other side so you can understand it better. If you keep this side of your river, you will never know that life has to be lived on both sides for a sense of maturity and leadership to emerge. These old people have crossed that bridge of life and returned and they are good examples to study from. Mentorship isn’t just verbal. It is also watching the actions and reading the thoughts of those ahead of you and discerning what to do for your time.

Take Mzee Kintu Musoke as an example. At age 14, he watched his uncle Simeoni Kintu, arrested in 1949 simply for asking to be allowed to go in his cotton farm. He saw a force of Turkana men imported by the British to quell the Katwe riots, descend on fellow Africans, and beat them badly. Kintu Musoke would join Ignatius Musaazi as a young boy to campaign for independence. When he got to India for his studies, he mobilized two other young men – Kirunda Kivejinja and Bidandi Ssali and; together they forged a bond that helped them deal with the politics of Uganda over the years, as a team. They remained committed to Uganda and each other’s ideas. Why don’t you as young people ask them the questions of life, parenting, ideology, and how to keep a country united even if there are political pressures from all corners, internal and external to not work together?

These values of commitment to something higher are partly why we remember Jacob Oulanyah too today. I thank his family for allowing us to use him as a point of connection to illuminate the path for young people and to celebrate the life of these old people when they can still hear and see us. Every time we celebrate the life of old people when they are alive, I feel a burden lifted off my shoulders, a sense of relief. This is because speeches at funerals aren’t helpful to the ones you would have told when they were alive so that they can know you value(d) their life.

Jacob Oulanyah and his first wife Jennifer, were my friends and I know they cared much about the quality of institutions for the country. They also had a deep sense of fairness and justice. Jacob in particular knew how to suspend judgment and hold two opposing opinions and still walk gingerly through life. He had a sense of commitment to what he chose to do. Commitment to something higher than self is what brings true meaning and significance to life. When you commit to something, you are not just making promises. You are re-ordering your life to fulfill this commitment. Jacob understood that choices mean depth and not superficiality and that each choice we make has costs.

For example, when he left one side of the political spectrum, he was not liked where he left. Some members of the group he joined were suspicious of him preferring to keep a distance. It is standing at half-way house and not knowing who to trust. He moved on nevertheless. He was also a peacemaker and without him in the Juba peace talks, perhaps, we would have missed the very compelling voice of some diaspora groups that didn’t understand the war in northern Uganda yet kept pushing for its continuation out of selfishness. He spoke plainly and convincingly when he took a stand on an issue. This is why we use his example this year as a connecting bridge between the young and the old.

Perhaps Jacob picked his reconciliation and forgiveness pathway through his suffering as a student and beyond – both mentally and physically. I know very much that those who suffer forgive most. The playwright Thornton Wilder in his short poem from the play, ‘The Angel That Troubled The Waters’, says “Without your wounds, where would your power be? It is your very remorse that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can serve”.

I am glad we celebrate you, old people and remember Jacob on a day just before Good Friday. May the example of unity of generations we see today, mend our broken areas and keep us strong as a country.

Now to you, young people who came to witness this occasion, keep doing the right thing even if you are under pressure to digress, to join the crowd of wrongdoers in your offices, farms, or the private sector. Last night I was listening to a country singer called Johnny Cash, who died in 2003. Its words say, “No, I won’t back down, there is no easy way out, I will stand my ground, I won’t be turned around, because, I know what is right. I got just one life and, in a world, pushing me around, I will still stand my ground. You can stand me at the gates of hell but I won’t backdown”

I ask that you look at those who have done well by serving our county and learn from them. Don’t back down from doing the right thing.

And to our elders, it is in the sunset of our lives that we get tired and make mistakes. We ask you to remain a shining example to our young people to the end in your word and deed. It is in your good example that together with young people, we can create a RAFT to help us cross to a brighter future for all of us as a country and a continent.

Once again, I thank H.E. the President for allowing us to do this here and for gracing this event with his presence

Speaker Tagesse for being with us

Speaker Anita Among who came to the airport to receive our gest with us

The state house team that helped us with this work

PACEID team of young people

Thank you and the Lord God bless you all.

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Mentoring plays a vital role in nurturing individuals to achieve excellence- President Museveni 

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has emphasized the importance of understanding the story of nature, society, and the human race to provide accurate and effective mentorship.

Museveni revealed this on Thursday evening March 28, 2024, during a National Mentorship luncheon that he was hosting at State House-Entebbe to recognize the invaluable contributions of elderly and retired men and women who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of Uganda. These 16 esteemed individuals, recognized for their incredible achievements and long-standing service, were awarded for their immense role in shaping the country’s progress. The luncheon was also an opportunity to pay tribute to Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of Parliament for his dedication and commitment to public service.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni addressing guests at the luncheon

The 2024 Mentorship luncheon ran under the theme, ‘Modeling the right behavior for the youth of Africa in the 21st Century” and was attended by high-ranking government officials, diplomats, and esteemed guests from various sectors.
“Having a deep understanding of the human race, its history, and evolution helps mentors comprehend the unique strengths, weaknesses, and potential of each mentee. This knowledge forms the foundation for providing personalized and impactful mentorship.” President Museveni noted during his speech.

He also urged guests to embrace science and technology in mitigating societal challenges. “To receive accurate guidance in mentorship, individuals must understand the role of humans as agents of societal change and the significance of science and technology in addressing societal challenges. I salute Odrek Rwabwogo and his team (Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development- PACEID) for recognizing senior citizens. If you don’t reward those who do well, then you are letting down society. I am happy Odrek Rwabwogo and his group have taken up this responsibility. Congratulations to all the awardees for their contributions and recognition of the late Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah.”

President Museveni with Mzee Christopher Gala, one of the awardees

The sixteen recipients of this year’s National Mentorship/Leadership Award were; Justice George W. Kanyeihamba, Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire, Hon. Kintu Musoke, Prof. Ezra Suruma, Amos Nzeyi, Hon. Victoria Sekitoleko, James Rwehabura Tumusiime, Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Mzee Christopher Gala, John Wycliffe Karazaarwe, Prof. Frederick Kayanja, Moses Matovu, Pastor Gary Skinner, Dr. Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare, and Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.

John Wycliffe Karazaarwe with family receiving his award from President Museveni

Museveni welcomed and thanked Rt. Hon. Tagesse Chaffo Dullo, the Speaker of Ethiopia’s House of Peoples Representatives for gracing the occasion and accepting to deliver a keynote address at the National Mentorship Awards ceremony.

Hon. Victoria Sekitoleko receives her award, accompanied by Dr. Rev Florence Muranga and Dr. Eve-Kasirye Alemu

In his keynote speech, Hon. Tagesse extended his sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the people and government of Uganda for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to me and his delegation upon arrival. He took the opportunity to appreciate R. Hon. Anita Annet Among, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, for welcoming him from the moment he disembarked from the plane.

“We must empower and pave the way for African youth to assume their rightful positions through the right mentorship and guidance. As we strive for Economic growth, innovation, peace, and stability, we must not just include young African leaders but also actively engage and empower them. Their unique perspectives and talents can significantly contribute to these vital goals of our well-being. We must also acknowledge their outstanding achievements publicly on such a decorated platform.”

Hon. Tagesse Chaffo Dullo, delivering his keynote speech at the National Mentorship luncheon at State House-Entebbe

“I would also like to congratulate the family of the late awardee (Jacob Oulanyah) for leading by example. Regrettably, he could not accept this honor in person and spend more time with his loved ones while serving his beloved country. But his loved ones, those who survive him, are honored by his services, and I believe they will carry on his legacy. Seeing Hon. Andrew Oulanyah, his son, following his father’s example fills me with immense pleasure. This is a testament to his father’s leadership and values passed on to the next generation, who deserve recognition.” Stated Hon. Tagesse.

Oderk Rwabwogo, the Senior Presidential Advisor Special Duties who doubles as the PACEID Chairman highlighted that mentorship extends beyond just words.

Odrek Rwabwogo with Vice President H.E Maj. Gen Jessica Alupo at the awards ceremony

“Mentorship involves observing and understanding individuals’ actions and thoughts to provide effective and meaningful guidance. This observation allows mentors to assess mentees’ strengths, weaknesses, and challenges, enabling them to tailor their guidance toward specific needs. Rather than simply imparting knowledge or advice verbally, mentors should actively engage with mentees’ experiences, encouraging growth and development through hands-on guidance.” he remarked.

Prof. Ezra Suruma, accompanied by his wife Specioza Suruma, receives his award from Vice President Jessica Alupo

“The National Mentorship Awards ceremony is to remind the young generation of the value of dignified and exemplary service by the older retired public servants, who exit Uganda’s public service to pave the way for the young ones,” Rwabwogo added while urging youths to strive to achieve a national collective ethic.

Archbishop John Baptist Odama prayed for the smooth running of the ceremony. He was one of the awardees. Besides him is Matthew Bagonza, Head of Secretariat-PACEID

Hon. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, son of the late speaker, revealed that Jacob Oulanyah always wanted to do the right things, the right way and at the right time implying that he was committed to ethical behavior and always acted in the best interest of the people he served. “Our father was no doubt a mentor to many which aligns with today’s theme of ‘Modeling the eight behavior for the youth of Africa in the 21st Century’. Thank you, Your Excellency, for opening your doors to not only hosting this ceremony but also making sure so many young people are involved”.

Atim Karen Oulanyah (C), Hon. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah (L) and Harold Oulanyah (R) gave moving speeches about their late father, Jacob Oulanyah

Karen Atim Oulanyah, daughter of Jacob Oulanyah said, “Our father was a man who always strived for unity. We, as young aspiring leaders, have to strive for the same. Thank you all, it doesn’t go unappreciated. I hope we all immerse ourselves in my father’s values. Thank you, Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo for this initiative”.

Yubu Onyong (C) mobbed by Gen. Katumba Wamala (L) and Hon. Mmary Grace Mugasa

Yubu Onyong, one of the young people mentored by Jacob Oulanyah paid tribute by encouraging young people out there to emulate the late Speaker of Parliament. “A plan without action is just a gamble. The future of this country is dependent on the youth. And the youth need to be mentored. Let’s stick to the mentorship values that Jacob instilled in us. I would like the youth to encourage themselves that everything is possible.”

Brenda Ker, Jacob Oulanyah’s Press Secretary for many years remembered the late as a forgiving man and never vindictive. “What I learned from my boss (as we always called him) is to forgive, nothing you can ever do on this earth is worth it if you don’t forgive one another”.

H.E Etsegenet Bezabih Yimenu, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Uganda

Some of the guests included; Hon. Norbert Mao who revealed that Jacob Oulanyah mentored so many people and always surrounded himself with young people, H.E. Maj. Gen. Jessica Alupo, H.E Etsegent Bezabih Yimenu, Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Hon. Mary Grace Mugasa, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, Lt. Col. Bright Rwamirama, Rt. Hon. Kasule Lumumba, Hon. Richard Todwong, Hon. Rose Namayanja, Hon. John Nasasira, a considerable number of legislators, family members, religious leaders, friends and well-wishers from all walks of life.

Belinda Amanya, speaker of the EACYC got the opportunity to address the audience.

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Museveni to host luncheon honoring legacy of late Jacob Oulanyah

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is set to host a luncheon to pay tribute to Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of Parliament, for his dedication and commitment to public service. The event will double as a Mentorship awards ceremony for twenty (20) men and women who have diligently served and contributed to the development of Uganda in their respective fields.

This was revealed on Wednesday, March 20th, 2024 at a press briefing at the Kampala Serena Hotel organized by Odrek Rwabwogo, the Senior Presidential Advisor- Special Duties.  

Friends and relatives of former Speaker Jacob Oulanyah in a group photo after the press briefing

At the event themed, ‘Modeling the right behaviour for the youth of Africa in the 21st century’, Rwabwogo, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), announced that the recipients of the Mentorship/Leadership Awards for 2024 will be unveiled at the luncheon scheduled for Thursday, March 28th, 2024 at State House-Entebbe.

These prestigious awards aim to recognize individuals who have shown exceptional service and leadership in their respective fields, making a significant positive impact on Uganda’s development.

Rwabwogo waxed lyrical about Oulanyah noting that the late has become a role model for many young people in Uganda, serving as an inspiration through his integrity and principled leadership. “His influence extends beyond Uganda’s borders, as Oulanyah’s leadership style has become a template for leaders across the African continent. As Uganda moves forward, it is inspiring to see individuals like Jacob Oulanyah and the award recipients leading the way. Their integrity and principled approach to leadership serve as guiding lights for future generations, driving them to strive for excellence and make a difference in their respective fields.” Rwabwogo stated.

The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon Norbert Mao drew bouts of laughter from the audience as he satirically reminisced about the good times he spent with Oulanyah going as far back as university at Makerere University when they were laying foundations for their political careers. “Jacob was confident and that is why he went for the positions he occupied. It goes to show that God does not choose the qualified, He qualifies the chosen. On March 28, 2024, President Museveni will host the Mentorship Luncheon at State House, Entebbe. H.E. continues the journey of sowing the mustard seed. You don’t have to be NRM to be a believer in the values that Museveni stands for. I am one of those who have caused him a great headache. His mission is to gather true believers from everywhere because they serve Uganda. We want to thank the President for agreeing to host this event and honor Jacob (Oulanyah) and the other twenty men and women who have served the country exceptionally.”

Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Norbert Mao

Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director at Uganda Media Centre urged all aspiring young leaders to emulate Oulanyah in whatever career they choose. “He was a man of integrity, was fierce and courageous but most importantly he was principled.”

Hon. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah the Omoro Country Member of Parliament and the Late’s son revealed how Oulanyah was a wonderful father who will forever be missed and that his legacy shall live on.

Uganda Media Centre Executive Director Ofwono Opondo with Hon. Andrew Ojok, son to the late Jacob Oulanyah

The announcement fell on the day that marks two years since the former Speaker of Parliament passed on, March 20, 2022.

Atim Karen Oulanyah, the daughter of the late thanked Rwabwogo for the initiative that is shining a spotlight on her father’s legacy. “Please, let us celebrate the man that he was and aspire to be like him”.

Atim Karen Oulanyah, daughter to Jacob Oulanyah speaks at the briefing

Matthew Bagonza revealed how blessed he is to have shared some wonderful moments with Jacob, “Jacob Oulanyah spoke peace. He trusted people. That is the kind of man he was. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for sparing time to attend this event that is honoring the legacy of the late Speaker, and also recognizing other men and women who have contributed immensely to the growth of Uganda.”

Matthew Bagonza, Head of Secretariat- Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development

In his concluding remarks, Rwabwogo explained the purpose of this year’s theme which is to build better role models for the youth, not only in Uganda but Africa at large. “The purpose of this theme is to encourage and build better role models in Africa for the youth who often draw examples from the rest of the world, especially with the pervasive internet and its social media, without a robust cultural and ideological interest that seeks to build Africa. The topic will cover economic change, and political and social tools required to prepare the continent for competition in the 21st century.”

Brenda Ker, Press Secretary to the late Jacob Oulanyah

Others present at the press briefing were Oulanyah’s relatives and colleagues including; Brenda Ker, the late’s Press Secretary, and John Paul Kiffasi from Irene Gleeson Foundation representing many youths who were mentored by the former Speaker of Parliament among many others.

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Success requires a positive attitude and the right mindset- Rwabwogo to Bunyoro Sub-Region graduates

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) Odrek Rwabwogo has encouraged the graduates of an industrial skilling program not to be afraid of failure, to cultivate a positive attitude, and to develop the right mindset to succeed in their chosen fields. This was on Friday 23rd February 2024 at Duhaga Secondary School playground in Hoima City where 6112 individuals from Bunyoro Sub-Region graduated in various fields after completing a six-month Skilling Program.

The 6112 individuals were awarded certificates in various fields including; piggery, fish farming, fruit farming, bricklaying, baking/cooking, photography, radio and television presenting, computer application, tailoring, motor vehicle mechanics, goat farming, music and soap farming among many others.

The skilling program is an initiative of the collaboration between PACEID and the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) under the Ministry of Sports and Education.

Rwabwogo, who was the Chief Guest, shared personal experiences to inspire the graduates and emphasized the importance of learning from failures and bouncing back stronger, rather than being disheartened by setbacks. “Achieving success requires a positive attitude and a mindset that refuses to quit. PACEID recognizes the potential of the Bunyoro Sub-region in contributing to Uganda’s export sector, and has designed this program to provide the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in various industrial sectors and contribute to the growth of export-driven economies.”

He urged the graduates to view failure as an opportunity for self-reflection and improvement, rather than a reason to give up on their dreams. “Failure is not the end of the road but a stepping stone towards success,” Rwabwogo said passionately. “Do not be afraid to take risks and face failure head-on. It is through failure that we learn valuable lessons and can grow as individuals.”

Dr. Patrick Byakatonda, the Director-DIT thanked PACEID for their efforts in enhancing participants’ employability and enabling them to seamlessly transition into the workplace. “This approach aligns with the principal goal of the initiative, which is to foster economic growth by nurturing a skilled and competent workforce in the Bunyoro Sub-region. By leveraging each other’s strengths, DIT and PACEID aim to create a robust and complex training curriculum that addresses the specific requirements of different industrial sectors within the Bunyoro Sub-region and the entire country.”

DIT Director Dr. Patrick Byakatonda

Dr. Byakatonda further encouraged the graduates to upgrade their skills to higher vocational-level competencies to compete better in the global market.

Hon. Mary Grace Mugasa, the State Minister for Public Service applauded PACEID and DIT for the skilling initiative that saw thousands of individuals get certified and pledged to support the cause whenever she is called upon. “This skilling program will create a lasting impact on the industrial landscape of Bunyoro Sub-region. We are grateful that our people are going to be certified and be recognized at an international level.”

Hon. Mary Grace Mugasa, State Minister for Public Service addresses graduates

Matthew Bagonza, the Head of the Secretariat at PACEID cautioned the graduates about keeping discipline and urged them to aim for higher rewards. He expressed gratitude to all who contributed to the successful completion of the training and assessment in Bunyoro. “Today’s graduation ceremony serves as a testament to the hard work and dedication of the program participants, as well as the successful collaboration between PACEID and DIT. Thank you Dr. Byakatonda and your team.”

Head of PACEID Secretariat Matthew Bagonza salutes the graduates

As the chairman of PACEID, Rwabwogo continues to inspire and empower individuals in Uganda to strive for success and contribute to the country’s overall economic growth.

By equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the global marketplace, the initiative aims to unlock the region’s economic potential and pave the way for a prosperous future.

The graduation ceremony was attended by a considerable number of prominent leaders in the Bunyoro Sub-region including; Rev. Fr. Dominic Ndugwa Ateenyi, Rev. Francis Mugisa Amooti, Hon. George Tinka Amooti, Hon. Muhanuli Bosco Amooti, Sheik Musa Atwooki, Hon. Lawrence Bategeka Ateenyi, Bakutaga Andrew Ateenyi, Magara Fitz Gerald John Ateenyi and many others at different levels.

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PACEID and DIT empower Mukono with 4675 skilled graduates 

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) in partnership with the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) have graduated 4675 students in various fields in Mukono. The graduates successfully completed a six-month competency certificate training program. 

Held under the theme ‘Skilling for Industrial Development: Promoting Employable Skills’, the graduation ceremony took place on Thursday 25/01/2024 at Mukono Boarding Primary School in Mukono Municipality with PACEID Chairman Odrek Rwabwogo officiating as the Chief Guest.

The program aims to equip individuals with the necessary skills to promote industrial development and increase exports.

Students were certified in various fields including; electrical engineering, piggery, brick laying, coffee farming, poultry farming, tailoring, rabbit husbandry, photography, soap making, art and crafts designing, carpentry, motorcycle maintenance and styling among others. During the six-month program based on a modular competency framework, PACEID and DIT devised a comprehensive curriculum that covers both theory and practical aspects.

Rwabwogo congratulated the students for successfully completing the skilling program noting that it marks a special milestone in their journey towards self-reliance and professional growth. “The skills and knowledge you have acquired in various fields will undoubtedly open doors of opportunity for you in the job market and contribute to the overall development of our nation. As graduates of this program, you are now equipped with the necessary skills to excel in your chosen field. Remember that learning doesn’t stop here, it is a lifelong process.” Rwabwogo told the graduates. 

He revealed that the collaboration between PACEID and DIT underscores the government’s commitment to fostering a skilled workforce capable of driving industrial growth. 

“Today is an important day to bring to fruition the collaboration the collaboration between PACEID and DIT, you can hear the word ‘Industry’ in both. We cannot attract investments, factories into the country if we don’t have qualified labour. But we also cannot train all the skills we need in such a short time because it is expensive. When DIT looks at the work of exports and ties it to industry and trains and certifies people in a short time on basic skills; how to rare chickens for exports, how to run a farm. These are basics but they are a very good start. When you certify these kinds of skills, they can carry these to factories and find work but also make it easier for people to find a little bit trained labour than rushing to universities which are often theoretical.” Rwabwogo noted while also emphasizing the national collective ethic.  

Rwabwogo further expressed appreciation to DIT headed by Dr. Patrick Byakatonda for the collaboration and support through the program stating that it is through these partnerships that we can create meaningful change and transform lives of many. 

Dr. Patrick Byakatonda- Director of the Directorate of Industrial Training thanked the trainers and instructors who worked tirelessly to impart knowledge and expertise in the graduates. 

He congratulated the students while cautioning them of the challenges ahead. “As we celebrate this milestone, let us not forget the challenges thar lie ahead. The industrial landscape is constantly evolving, and it is imperative that we continue to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. Therefore, I encourage you (graduates) to never stop learning and to continuously upgrade your skills.” Dr. Byakatonda told the graduates during his speech. 

The chief mobilizer for the training program in greater Mukono, Pastor Samuel Lwandasa highlighted the importance of this initiative and its positive impact on the beneficiaries and the community at large. He further applauded Rwabwogo and PACEID team for the efforts in reducing poverty through skills development. 

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700 graduate with skills for industry and exports

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) in conjunction with the Department of Industrial Training (DIT) at the Ministry of Education and Sports, on Saturday, graduated 700 people in the fields of fruit processing, vanilla growing and packing, plumbing and electrification, carpentry and joinery, liquid and bar soap making and mushroom growing. Other services included hair dressing, effluent extraction and treatment, baking technology and application, media and photography. The function which was attended by Patrick Byakatonda, Director General of DIT, Sheikhs Serunjogi and Mohammed Kyazze of Kayunga and Kawempe respectively, Bishop Lwandasa of Mt. Lebanon church in Mukono, took place at Kawempe Muslim Primary School in Kampala.

Odrek Rwabwogo presided over the graduation at Kawempe Muslim Primary School

Presiding over the graduation ceremony which brought together students from Tororo, Amuru, Mbarara, Masaka, Jinja, Kamuli and Kampala districts, Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman of PACEID, thanked minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni for allowing DIT to skill people who would otherwise be left out of the system yet are very good employees in the export and industry services or being own job makers. “I thank her for recognizing these skills of talented youth who ordinarily feel left out by Ivy League universities and technical colleges that their parents cannot afford”, he said.  He added, “it will take Africa some high-level investment in 25 training institutions of the size of Makerere University annually to be set up and funded for the next 50 years, in order for Africa catch up with the level of industrial and tertiary skills penetration India alone has gained in the last 30 years! How shall we then make it and compete in the world for the 200 million jobs that China is shedding off by 2040 to lower-level manufacturing, if we do not see these soft skills and certify them so they can be recognized globally?” Rwabwogo asked.

Rwabwogo went on, “it is even feels more special to us as PACEID to be graduating these young people to support our effort on aggregation and low-level processing of products for exports like vanilla, avocado, and pineapples from here in Kawempe. This area (Kawempe and Bwaise) along with Kasokoso (Kireka-Banda) along with Mulago and Kamwokya, seem to attract more rural to urban migration than many parts of the city. How will our country make use of this agricultural labour flocking into cities in search of better living conditions yet end up in slums and some in crime? We must be intentional in re-skilling them to do a better job than where they come from?”

Odrek Rwabwogo, Chairman PACEID

He said Africa will be the most urbanizing continent in the world with 500 million Africans living in cities by 2040, according to the latest Mckinsey and company, a global consulting firm, report and Uganda remains one of the highest population growing countries in the world with over 70 percent below 30.

Byakatonda said, “The DIT certificates you receive today are really the ground level qualification to start with. You must put the skills gained here and use this certificate for both finding work or looking to start your own businesses. You however, need to keep training so that you get a higher-level certification”. Referring to Mr. Ahmed Kiggundu of the Glad 18 group based in Bwaise, who graduated in specialized cesspool emptying for crowded parts of the city, Byakatonda added, “we certify services such as National water and sewerage service workers. There is no reason why you as Glad 18, shouldn’t now find work across the country in emerging urban areas”.

Ahmed Kiggundu told the audience, “I had been a stone thrower and a collector of old tyres for burning in the streets during riots and giving hard time to security services until I discovered I could do something, even if it was dirty as emptying toilets, but it gives me legitimate income. Now I am very happy that I have a certificate along with 150 other members of my group.”

PACEID and DIT promised to go across the country and train more youths to support aggregating products for exports and getting better labour services for factories and the service sector in urban areas. President Yoweri Museveni under the state house skilling programme has been giving equipment and machinery for organized groups to improve their skills and trade on the domestic market better.

Sheikh Kyazze, the son of Sheikh Swaibu Semakula the first Mufti of Uganda, who began the school in 1920, asked the Government to prioritize rehabilitation of the school and the mosque as some of the national historical centers for the country’s tourism and education. “I call upon our beloved President Yoweri Museveni whose friend, the late Zubairi Bakari was one of the religious children of Sheikh Swaibu Semakula, to help us complete the portion of the mosque that requires UGX150m” said Sheikh Kyaaze.

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