Recently, at Gulu Disabled Persons Union itself, we sat down with Ojok Patrick (Gulu Disabled Persons Union co-ordinator and ETC at GDPU Project Leader) and Musema Faruk (ETC at GDPU Project Officer) to discuss the end of the Pilot Phase. From a snowy UK and temperatures well into the minus to 37 degrees in dusty Gulu, Northern Uganda, but it was wonderful to be back with the team.
The basic aim of the ETC project is twofold:
- To ensure the sustainability of those businesses set up by disabled students under the earlier Youth Development Programme. Experience on that programme had taught us that hard inputs (cash, materials, machines etc) were unproductive, students needed skills training, psycho social support, monitoring and guidance far more.
- To help GDPU become a business hub for people with disability in the area, through gaining new knowledge, skills and materials from the external experts/consultants contracted to support ETC, and through making a workable development plan.
When we sat down to look back at the pilot project and last six months or more, we wanted to think about the two outcomes of the project and certain issues in particular:
Outcome 1: Working with ex- YDP students
- Did the initial assumptions about planning the project work, ie that beneficiaries would know best what sort of training and support they needed.
- Had the subsequent skills training and support been successful?
- What does success look like and had the four groups we had chosen for the pilot achieved it?
- And most importantly: what next?
Outcome 2: GDPU Business Hub
- Had GDPU managed to start writing a business plan for themselves
- Had people at GDPU developed their own skills so that they could train others? If so in which areas and which still need development?
- And of course; what next here as well?
This first meeting was just to get everything going, the next step was to go out to the field. To meet the four pilot groups again, to see how they were doing in Gulu Town and Acet. Then we would get together again to discuss what we had seen and to work on the Pilot Evaluation report that had been prepared by a local consultant. All that in the next blog.