Uganda: Mackay students are preparing to start their new business

Students at our partner school Mackay Memorial College in Nateete, Kampala have been working with their teachers to prepare for the launch of their egg & poultry business. On Saturday 8th February , the students who had volunteered to lead the and eggs & poultry business met with their teachers, Mr Godfrey Mihingo (Business Manager) , Miss Catherine Nakabugo and Mr Ssonko Ssenjemba, and Jenny, the Teach A Man To Fish Field Officer.

Mr Mihingo began by introducing the students to the project, including the different tasks they were going to be undertaking, and how this would help them develop skills they could use once they have finished their studies, or during the break between school and higher education (called “the long vac” in Uganda!). Mr Mihingo also explained to the students that they will not only gain skills, but that they will also benefit from some of the profits generated from the business, which they will be able to use towards school fees. The students were very pleased to hear this, as many of their families struggle to pay the full fees (approx. $120 for an A level boarding student per term).

The students then heard from Jenny, our Field Officer, who explained to the students that they were going to form groups and create a rota, to help the students share the workload and balance it with their studies. The students also discussed that the groups should be made of students that have experience with poultry and those who are new, and with students from different classes, in case they have an exam or school trip. Jenny then explained to the students that they were going to make a committee for the project that will meet after class on a weekly basis. This will enable the students to have ownership over the project, and also communicate easily with the Business Manager. The students decided that they are going to have the following positions; Head of Project, Secretary, Head of Marketing and Sales, Head of Purchasing & Store  and Head of Production. As not all students were present at the meeting, they decided to have elections next week during school hours.

The students then heard some inspiring and motivational words from Miss Catherine Nakabugo and Mr Ssonko Ssenjemba, who are both teachers and wardens in the boarding section. They encouraged the students to take this project seriously, to be dedicated and to see it as an opportunity to improve their circumstances and become self-reliant.

After all the talking, the students and teachers walked down to tour the new chicken house, which is in its final stages of construction. Mr Ssonko Ssenjemba explained the different sections of the chicken house, one for layers (chickens for eggs) and one for broilers (chickens for meat). The students who have experience of poultry at home, gave some great advice to the teachers on how to improve the chicken house, including ensuring that the chickens have swings to play on! 

Jenny then led the students and teachers in some fun team building activities on the school field, which re-emphasized some of the points discussed earlier; that it is important for students and teachers to communicate with each other effectively and to support each other, whatever the difficulties. The students have now been set the task of recruiting younger members of the school to work in the business, as well as arranging committee elections and creating a rota for the business.  All that is left to do now is for the chicken house to be completed, the start-up equipment and supplied to be purchased, and the chickens to arrive!

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