ICCO Burundi joins Enterprise Uganda for a unique training workshop – Interview

Staff from Youth Business International (YBI) member ICCO Burundi were recently invited to participate in a five-day training run by another member, Enterprise Uganda (EUg). We spoke to Alexis Hatungimana (Training Support Officer) and Dieudonné Kameca (Technical Assistant, Value Chain Development) to find out about the event.

Firstly, please tell us a little about your organisation.

ICCO Burundi is part of a global Dutch not-for-profit organisation. We work towards a world in which people can live in dignity and well-being, a world without poverty and injustice. We joined YBI in 2018, with a focus on enhancing our flagship programme, MAVC (Microfinance, Agri-finance and Value Chains). We work with YBI to enhance the training offered to smallholder farmers and for the first time, have introduced specialised entrepreneurship training.

Why did you decide to partner with Enterprise Uganda on this training event?

At the recommendation of YBI, ICCO Burundi was invited by EUg to attend a training on the Business & Enterprise Start-Up Tool (BEST), held in western Uganda, in order to learn and share experiences. As EUg has been successfully developing their programmes with the help of YBI for many years, we wanted to learn from their expertise.

What were your expectations and were they met?

We had several expectations going into the training and were pleased to have these fulfilled:

  • To know how to mitigate barriers and promote mind-set change in young people. Both the modules and the messages delivered by the facilitators helped us to understand that “What people think goes into their heart and becomes their vision.” The training helped us to open our eyes and discover how to encourage people to start their business immediately.
  • To get new tools and techniques from Enterprise Uganda’s expertise. The training was full of different teaching methodologies. We learned key messages to share with participants and how to keep personal information for further monitoring and evaluation. The EUg team has the skills to keep participants focused on the training and we think we should use these techniques in Burundi.
  • To acquire new skills for building capacities of young people for successful partnerships, businesses and job creation. It was amazing that EUg gathered such a large group – over 1,800 entrepreneurs attended – and achieved results. BEST is an easy tool that can be used immediately, so participants were told that if they follow the training rules, they should start their business now, using the resources available.
  • To meet other YBI partners to share experiences and build connections. At the end of each day, we were able to talk to facilitators and ask questions about the training process and organisational set-up. Charles Ocici, EUg Executive Director and the main trainer, shared with us techniques to prepare and anticipate challenges which may arise. 

What was involved in the training?

The training gathered people from all over Uganda, of different backgrounds and ages. A large tent served as an auditorium and was well-equipped to allow everyone to follow the training. The objectives were to enable participants to:

  • Appreciate that entrepreneurship is inevitable for people in Uganda, especially young people;
  • Recognise and adopt principles associated with world-class entrepreneurs;
  • Understand the mechanics for business opportunity identification and its translation into business;
  • Know the different sources of business capital and how to stop its erosion;
  • Know how to manage business partnerships and produce a simple business plan. 

We were satisfied with the knowledge and strategies we got through BEST’s philosophy, commitment and core messages, including the rules and keys to success. 

Were there areas that you will replicate within your own organisation?

Yes, there were many positive aspects we would like to implement in Burundi. Some of these include:

  • Inviting representatives of the administration, parents and religious leaders to help facilitate youth business and mobilise the community;
  • Replicating the techniques used during the training to maintain everyone’s full participation;
  • Utilising the key messages from the training, which are simple to use and understand;
  • Purchasing materials to increase visibility, e.g. branded T-shirts;
  • Keeping records to facilitate evaluation, e.g. participants using the same ID number each day;
  • Purchasing materials, e.g. tent and generator, to use in rural areas or in the case of no power;
  • Using an evaluation quiz before and after the training.

What’s next for ICCO Burundi?

We will capitalise on the experiences and expertise of EUg. They have grown in terms of logistics and experience and have an outstanding approach to support a large group of beneficiaries. Using the limited resources we have for now, we will begin with a small number of participants, but we intend to increase this number as soon as possible. We are very thankful to EUg, especially Charles, for the warm welcome and the shared information. They have been keen to answer our questions and provided us with useful guidelines, helping us to refine our interventions in Burundi.

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