My main objective in coming to Uganda was to determine the sustainability of the Hub at MMU. If it wasn’t going to be sustainable we would close down and re engage with another partner in Uganda. To be sustainable the Hub required three things:
1. Douglas the Vice Chancellor of MMU to be a supporter. Douglas had inherited this project so I was not clear yet on his views. I spent a lot of time with him and found him to be a pragmatic individual with good common sense and an open attitude. He was a strong supporter as long as the project didn’t take up too much resources from the University. Box ticked
2. The ICT staff of MMU to be supporters. Everyone I had met had been very excited about the project and wanted to be more involved. I found the team to be enthusiastic, capable and eager to start. Box ticked
3. The success of the Hub was going to be largely dependent in identifying the right individual to run the project. I had no clue as to who that might be but to quote Lawrence Block
“Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you though you were looking for”.
Remember Trisha the women who gave me a lift into Kampala when I landed in Uganda? I ran into Trisha again down in Fort Portal and found out she was just in the process of stepping down from her current NGO position and was looking for a new challenge. Her strengths were in project management and grant writing. She clearly had good people skills and was enthusiastic about what Camara was doing. Would she be interested in taking on such a big job as Camara? After several meeting with myself and Douglas, Trisha was offered, and accepted, the job as CEO of Camara Uganda. She started work immediately. Box ticked
That evening had a wonderful dinner with Douglas and his wife Patricia. After dinner Douglas took me to the Fort Portal Golf Club (the second oldest in Uganda) to meet the Chancellor of the University Professor Rugumayo The professor’s story is too long to tell but the fact he served in government with and fought against past Ugandan leaders Idi Amin and Milton Obote suggests an interesting history. A diplomat, and until recently a government minister, his mobile phone contained access to all the key people in Ugandan society. In between sipping beer and listening to his stories he introduced us to the Chief Justice of the area and the police commissioner who were also partaking of the local beverages. I was tempted to suggest a game of ‘Circle of Death’ but didn’t have a pack of cards handy.