Ahmed K Menyha ©

Active Citizens Uganda

Ahmed K Menyha shares his experiences of being a facilitator

I wanted to become an Active Citizens facilitator to improve my communication skills and create more links for my community, organisation and myself. I also wanted to gain more self-confidence and organisational skills.

What did you study at school/university?

I studied primary education, guidance and counselling and then sports science.

What is your day job? How do you earn your money?

I work as a teacher, social worker and football referee. It’s from this work that I earn a living to sustain myself and my family. I also earn a living selling art pieces that I make.

What voluntary or civil society work do you do?

Being a counsellor by profession, I offer career guidance, life skills and entrepreneurship training and business clinic services.

What inspires you?

Helping young people to find a solution to their own challenges. Through Active Citizens I have realised that the solution isn’t ‘out there’ but within me and after the workshop I just couldn’t wait to start with the little I had.

If you could have an unlimited budget for a social-action project, what would you do?

I would make sure that the number of people that benefit from a social-action project expands in and outside of my community.

What work does your community organisation do?

We work with youth and provide them withhuman rights awareness (social, health, cultural and political rights). We advocate for good community governance, good leadership and accountability from the leaders to the people they lead and govern.

How did you hear about Active Citizens?

Through the Uganda Youth Network (UYONET), an organisation that mainly focuses on the development of youth in the different capacities of their lives.

What qualities do you need to be a good facilitator?

  • self-confidence and good organisational skills
  • assertiveness and creativity
  • listening and team work skills – passionate and practical

What is the most rewarding part of being a facilitator?

Seeing people putting into practice the knowledge I have given them and seeing their lives changing positively. The best moments of my work have always been when I’m invited by the youth I trained to see what they are doing.

If you could take anyone through the learning journey, who would it be?

Young people living in conflict and war zone-prone areas and especially in northern parts of Uganda, such as Apac, Nebbi, Gulu, Arua and other areas around the country, as well as globally and also the vulnerable people in my community.

What change do you see in people as you take them through the learning journey?

I see them becoming passionate about finding solutions to community challenges themselves with or without help from the government or any potential funding institutions. I see them participating in community challenges, engaged in community leadership and strengthening trust among different members of the community like children, youth and the elderly. 

What impact has Active Citizens had on the local community?

It has turned around the mindset of the youth. They no longer ask what community leaders are doing for them but rather they have began asking the community leaders what they can do for their community.

Describe a social action project that has had a positive effect on the local community?

The Sanitation as a Business (SaaB) project involves picking up garbage and waste paper to improve the sanitation of the community. The materials collected are then used to make products such as beads, books and chalk. It’s not only keeping the community clean but some of the art pieces are then sold back into the community. 

What advice would you give to anyone who is considering being a facilitator?

I would strongly recommend that every facilitator should focus on translating the river journey into their communities through social action projects. Secondly to read, understand and transform the Learning Journey on their community experience and challenges.

If you could deliver Active Citizens anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would it be to?

Young people living in conflict areas like Gaza, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.