Good Momorning Students!
It is vacation time, but today is a busy day at St. Noa Mawaggali Secondary School at Mbiko. Some students have detention, but some are gathering together in the school yard. The school yard is a beautiful garden with many trees and the students come voluntarily. They do not wear school uniforms and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. The nine students meeting there with two teachers and Robinah Ritah, the coordinator from FABIO, are part of the Motivation Mobility (Momo) project. Under the frame of this project a student exchange with German students is organised. Main focus is put on STG 11 – creating sustainable cities with a focus on transport. The nine students went to Hamburg, Germany in April where they stayed in a partner family, attended the partner student’s school and discussed many cultural and environmental topics. As part of the program they visited several museums and sights of interest and learned different ways of saving the environment. You can find more information about the project here.
Today, the students came together in order to discuss the learnings and experiences they have made during their stay abroad and the impact they have left on their families and classmates at home. One of the students, Maria, reported that her host family was very welcoming and never made her feel bored. In the beginning she thought that her partner student might fear her, but in the end, she felt quite comfortable within the family.
After they came back to Uganda, some of the students stood in front of their classes and reported about their experiences. Many of them have learnt what sustainable transport means and all of them were very careful about pollution by plastics and other types of waste. Their classmates did not always appreciate their efforts for cleaner schools and classrooms, so some of the Momo students had to face negative statements from their classmates, when they told them not to dump their waste everywhere. This was a bit annoying for them, but all students reported that through this project they gained a lot of self-confidence to stand up and speak for their issues – if it is neccesary also against many other people. Apart from some negative comments, their ideas attracted many other students. The recently founded Momo-Club already counts more than 30 members. The club members usually sit together and develop concepts for a more livable school with students – the leaders of tomorrow – who are aware of the urgent problems of their city, their country and their planet. Among these ideas is to construct flower beds out of dumped plastic bottles and a so-called “Momo Square”. The students are looking for a space on the school yard where they plant some flowers and put some furniture, a place to which stressed students can come to relax. Many of their ideas are about to grow and Momo students are willing to bring a change to their school.
The meeting proceeded with a discussion about the second important phase of the project which is indeed no one-way ticket. In April 2023, the German students will come to visit their Ugandan partners here in Jinja and surrounding. Therefor, students, teachers and coordinators already prepare their stay and program in Uganda. They discussed a proposed program and added own ideas. The German students will do typical things in Uganda such as visiting the market, taking a ride on a boda, visit their Ugandan partner families and even take a traditional dancing class. The whole program is – as the previous program – targeted towards cultural exchange together with a sensitisation to environmental problems. In the end, after the students had a soda and a little snack, they already showed, what they had learned. Every piece of plastics was properly collected and the place has been left clean… something that is, unfortunately, not yet so common as it should be. Hopefully, this project will continue developing and spread these ideas to communities among Uganda and Germany.