MTN Uganda-sponsored Smart Girls Foundation on Thursday passed out 20 girls with vocational skills in the inaugural graduation ceremony held at the MTN Girls with Tools Skilling Centre, Kitetika Gayaza road, in Wakiso District.
This comes seven months since MTN Foundation launched a training facility at the Smart Girls Foundation in July last year with a training capacity of more than 400 women per year in vocational and business skills in servicing and washing bays, computer application, electricity installation, welding, carpentry, tailoring and house painting.
The facility worth UGX 300 million is fully equipped with a computer laboratory with internet connectivity, a vehicle servicing station and a washing bay. MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Sylvia Mulinge, congratulated the graduands for the successful completion of their training.
“We are very glad that our efforts are now bearing fruits. We believe that the training received has provided you with the much-needed hands-on training experience to enable you to appreciate the workings of building businesses and creating employment opportunities,” she said.
She said the skills acquired will help the participants to compete equally with their male counterparts in securing job opportunities that were mainly preserved for men. Eng. Irene Kaggwa, the Executive Director at the Uganda Communications
Commission, who also doubled as the chief guest, implored the graduands to continuously seek more knowledge and skills.
“What you have learnt here is only the start of your journey. The world we are living in is constantly changing. You will need to continue learning to keep pace with the changes in technologies,” she said. “I am so glad that the curriculum here at the Smart Girls Foundation is making you an all- rounded person.”
She urged the graduands to be role models in their communities to encourage more into the profession as well create jobs and help employ young women and men. Smart Girls Foundation Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jamilla Mayanja, they are
proud to hold their first graduation since the launch of MTN Girls with Tools.
“We want to make these girls global. This has made us think of their future beyond graduation. We are trying to develop a tools garage so that these graduates can continue to come and borrow them,” she said. “We are also planning to develop anonline market space. We want to make sure that there is 360 degrees empowerment of for our graduates.“
She revealed that the training has since received more than 500 applications for the next intake but it can only accommodate 150. The partnership between MTN Foundation and Smart Girls Foundation is one of many interventions undertaken by the former to empower women and girls across Uganda.
Back in June 2019, during the 21 days of YelloCare, the annual staff volunteerism initiative, MTN supported the Smart girls Foundation with a donation worth UGX30 million to enhance the girls’ learning experience. For that, the organisation increased the number of girls trained at the facility from 30 to 64 in a wide range of programs including mechanical, electrical installations and welding.
In the same year, MTN announced a UGX50 million sponsorship towards the Kyabazinga Girl Child program aimed at supporting and improving the lives of women and youth in the Busoga region. MTN Foundation in 2016 partnered with the Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) to provide full cover University Education scholarships for
ten (10) Ugandan girls across the country.
Similarly, MTN Foundation has also rolled out the training of at least 410 youths in the MTN Ace programme as well as the digitalization of 6 vocational institutions in partnership with Enabel Uganda.