Hello, I’m Sophie and I am currently part of the ICS Entrepreneur programme in Kampala, Uganda! I feel very proud to be part of this programme. I have been gaining invaluable experience both personally and professionally, and at the same time I really feel I could be making a big difference. I definitely consider myself very privileged to have this opportunity 🙂
I have now been here for over four weeks although it definitely feels longer. We have packed an incredible amount into the time we have been here and seen so much of Kampala (although there is definitely still so much to see).
I am living in the Kyanja area of Kampala with a married couple and their 10 month old baby. It’s a very lovely apartment with some pretty amazing views, although a very long walk off the main road (about 20 minutes).
At first the walk was my most dreaded part of living here (made more difficult by the constant stream of boda bodas offering me a ride – must resist!), however its now one of my most favourite things! I love strolling through the community, past homes and gardens, shops and farmland with cows and goats wandering around. There are always loads of children playing and laughing (and shouting ‘bye mzungu’ whenever I walk past), and I see lots of mothers working outside with babies tied to their backs. There’s even a corner shop I walk past with the cutest little kitten which sits outside (the owners are trying to give it to me). It puts me in a great mood for the day and then again at the end of the day when I am tired and need a lift! In many ways its exactly how I expected Africa to be (green and rural with dirt roads), but then I have to move aside as a modern 4×4 cruises past me, or I walk past a posh block of apartments (much like the one I am staying in). It’s like two different worlds have been mixed together and forced to coincide!
My counterpart is called Maureen and she hails from Mbarara in Western Uganda but lives in Kampala. She has a Computer Science degree from Makere University in Kampala and is a model by trade. She is very tall, slim, beautiful and glamorous which is not really how I expected my counterpart to be, but it’s very exciting all the same!
All the pairs have been given a local SME to work with on a consultancy basis. Mine and Maureen’s business is called De Waste which (yes, you guessed it) specialises in waste management. They have three main areas of business – medical waste (collection of used bandages and needles etc), domestic waste, and cleaning services. Maureen and I have been tasked to help them expand beyond medical waste into other areas of hazardous waste. We have so many ideas and have been doing lots of research so far. Here is me doing some research with existing customers (clinics and hospitals) to see how they are finding the service.
I have much more to say but I will save it for my next blog, watch this space!