MUKONO: During the month of September, the U.S Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie E. Brown, visited the 4-day Nile Explorer Bus stop in the underserved school of Mbogo Progressive School, Namataba-Mukono.
During the visit, she shared her experiences, encouraged the pursuit of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics learning, and even offered career guidance to the students.
“The Nile Explorer Bus is an amazing opportunity for people, in part because the U.S Mission is based in Kampala, and the country is much larger than that, and so this gives us an opportunity to go and reach out to all the youth all over the country while focusing on key areas of interest to Ugandan Youth that will help build their skills to improve economically but also to stay safe and live both prosperous and healthy lives,” said Ambassador Brown.
The Ambassador was accompanied by the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S Embassy Kampala, Ellen Masi, who said that because Ugandan youth have so much hope, intelligence, innovation, and creativity, youth development simply entails providing opportunity for them to strive,
“STEM provides so many opportunities for young people to be innovative and creative and to potentially open up businesses or be involved in companies that are finding solutions to problems that young people and others have throughout the country, and even throughout the world perhaps,” she said.
Owing to this, the package prepared for the students on the Nile Explorer Bus included sessions on; Basic Computing, Physics of Electromagnetism, 3D Printing and so much more in STEM sessions; malaria prevention, HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention, and school-related gender-based violence in the health sessions; and career guidance and public speaking in the life skills sessions.
Mariam Nanfuma, a senior two student, expressed her sentiments about the bus and all she’d learnt, including wishing the bus had stayed longer, so that she could have more chances to utilize its resources.
“I’m really passionate about computers and the internet, and that part was my favorite. Although sometimes it may not be possible for me to access at home because my parents bear the opinion that the internet is all horrible,” said Mariam.
“When I go back to school, if I get the chance to come into a big group of my peers, I’ll teach them the uses of a computer and the internet, and how best we can use it in our homes, or even individually to reach my career,” she hoped.
Shamps Ssebukulu, a student of senior one, whilst giving a brief of all sessions, picked out what stood out to him the most in the three components of the bus’ curriculum.
“In STEM, I learnt the science of launching a rocket, computer, and construction of towers. In health, I learnt how to fight HIV, and abstinence of sex. In life skills I learnt the art of confidence, and talking in public spaces,” he narrated, adding that, “My favorite session was the STEM session where we were given ample time to practice computers,” he expressed, “If someone were to ask me how to use a computer, I could show them so that they are able to do it themselves.”