Lewis Goode recently returned from his placement in Uganda with International Citizen Service (ICS). Here he talks about the development impact his cycle had…

They say all good things come to an end and unfortunately my 3-month placement in Uganda, volunteering on the ICS programme, has well and truly come to an end. I have been back in the UK now for a week, which has allowed me time to reflect on the experience that I guess I could call…’ The experience of a lifetime’- cliché but true.

Signing up to a programme which requires you to work and live with complete strangers, be sent half way across the world, face MASSIVE and eye-opening cultural differences, and all of this for a solid 3 months without seeing your family and friends. It’s daunting, yes. But achievable. If I had the opportunity, I would do it all again, a million times over. The ICS programme is a must or at a minimum get involved with making a change, international or local, no matter how small or great, make a change. 

During my 3-month placement in Uganda, I’ve learnt a lot about myself, which is expected… you know, ‘spiritual journey’, ‘finding your true self’, blah blah …but the largest outcome of the program is what you will learn about other people.

Meetings, session planning, delivering sessions, pitching to stakeholders, all of these day-to-day activities involve speaking and working together with different people, a different story, a different ideology, a different culture. No matter how different we find ourselves to people that’s what makes us great, individuality. But when working in Uganda, I found that we all tend to have the same goal, development, whether this be personal, structural, international. Development is key. Surely nobody wants to not have improved from the past day/ week/ month, looking back and feeling as if you’ve achieved nothing in your community or personally.

So, let me share with you some of the development stats, my cycle of volunteers had to the young and developing districts  of Iganga and Kayunga:

Restless Development ICS Cycle 6:

We  reached over 6000 young people and community members with life-changing Sexual Rights and Health education.

We taught important life skills, such as communication, self esteem, and gender equality to 2813 people.

We delivered an inspiring civic participation programme to 1288 young people, encouraging them to engage in local and government level decisions to shape their own futures.

Over 1000 young people were taught how to build sack gardens and about the importance of using organic pesticides and fungicides for sustainable agriculture.

Overall, we taught 438 individual sessions, and this doesn’t even include the 60 events held across 2 districts!

We may not see the results of our work here immediately, but I know we have planted the seed, and as they say teach a man how to fish…

I am incredibly proud of our teams for their amazing work. This is the 6th cycle of work here.

We are making a difference: as a Ugandan would say – ‘slowly, slowly’.

 

What do you think?

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