At some point, I’m sure that you have taken part in a spelling competition of some capacity. The spelling bee competition is a concept that originated in the United States, usually done in schools, with those taking part being asked to individually spell a broad set of words. Enjuba Spelling Bee introduced the concept of the spelling bee competition across Uganda adopting it to local Ugandan culture and intertwining it with teacher training and literacy initiatives.
This week, Marina and I met with Enjuba as one of our selected organisations for the GlobalGiving Evaluation Programme. Enjuba recognised that in Uganda, 52% of the country are children and that 70% of children starting primary 1 do not finish school. Enjuba chose to focus their work on the education system and motivating teachers to invest in the children who are the future of Uganda.
Our visit began with Aaron, the Chief Executive, giving us a background into Enjuba Spelling Bee. Enjuba run a year-long programme which embodies the whole cycle of education. Beginning with teacher training courses, they train teachers to become change agents and grow as individuals and become effective leaders that will inspire a generation with the right values. Teachers are then given ownership to set up a spelling bee competition in their school. The winners of each school spelling bee then compete in the district, regional and finally the national spelling bee competition in the second half of the year.
The Spelling Bee competitions differ to the traditional kind as each school spell as a team not individuals, this teaches children that teamwork is important. The national spelling bee competitions take place annually and are a big event that everyone is keen to get involved in!
During our visit, we learnt a lot about Enjuba’s programme and how it has evolved, where it is going and what steps are next. We had some very open and constructive conversations with the CEO, Aaron. In the week we also ran a training for some of the volunteers on fundraising and the GlobalGiving systems. This was good as we got to meet some of the volunteers and hear what their motivations were and how long they had been supporting Enjuba. The word Enjuba means the sun in Lugandan. Enjuba signifies hope that a new day brings with the rising of the sun. They really are investing in the future of tomorrow and bringing hope not just to children but teachers too. We are looking forward to following Enjuba’s progress and seeing their programme grow and develop over time.