My name is Gloria Muzaaya Nalule, currently a masters’ student in Management of Development at Van hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. I am passionate about education and to be honest, without education what I know now I definitely would never know if I never learned how. See, as a girl that has been born and raised in undeveloped small village in rural Uganda, I have had to beat several odds through education to be where I am today. In my very young years, I thought the world was all the same. I never knew people had what I did not have and yes, I did not know I was poor; in fact I did not know what poverty was and later alone what development is. For me the world was perfect the way it was until the day my parents bought a television set. See, nobody in my circles of influence ever told me about the other side of the world, but then the television did. Then I came to realize how much of the things the world has to offer I did not have. Then it all made sense how my parents always told my siblings and i on how we should take education seriously if we had to have a better life in the future.
On my pursuit of education, I came to find out about scholarships and study free opportunities abroad for people from developing countries. Knowing my family could not afford to pay my study abroad expenses, I gave it my all to have me experience a totally different style of learning and meet people from different walks of life in ‘global classrooms’. When I did find my first study abroad opportunity, I made sure I learn from it as much since I was not sure about finding another one considering how complicated the situation is. So yes I learned a lot and was exciting to return home to use my education experience to create impact for my community, and use my home and foreign education experiences to broaden horizons and provide a liberal lens through which to view and offer solutions to local challenges. What I imagined it to be was not actually what it turned out to be.
Upon return home, I noticed nobody actually cared about how much I had learned from my study abroad. This got me really desperate, I mean I had spent two years studying so much to come back home and share only to return to a society that did not actually care. It broke my heart! As a country that has had its share of problems that desperately needs solutions and with all its unproductive intellectual capital, I had to find a way to do something about it. I talked to several others that had studied abroad and returned home but lacked platforms to create impact to influence development using their acquired skills. I knew right away, we needed to do something about it and hence I started an NGO that gives platform to Ugandans that have had an opportunity to study abroad and want to use their education to create impact, come together and share practices learned from different countries in their different areas of professionalism to contribute to the socio economic development of their communities and later on the nation. A few among the alumni that share the vision came to share their experiences which brought about more alumni to join the movement. This platform creates way for youth in Uganda to participate in development, pave way for innovation, motivate the nation/world through telling their stories, building networks, brain storming solutions based on their areas of professionalism, and then create impact all the way to the people at the grassroots in their various communities using their learned skills and knowledge acquired through education.
How are people supposed to know about sustainable livelihoods without information on how to? How will our environment remain beautiful for our children’s children when some people in the world are ignorant about how their ways of life impact the air, water, and land they live on? Can we build a more sustainable world, equal, and inclusive without Education? We cannot! For me education is crucial and with each one reaching one, we can trickle down the knowledge and skills learned to the people that lack information on how to go about different challenges faced in their daily lifestyle! Coming back to school to learn more about development has enabled me to know more and be able to give back more. I hope to influence sustainable development through advocacy for education at all levels through programs like this one, my NGO, and social media platforms.
By continuing to build platforms for and with young educationalists especially those that have traveled, worked, and been educated in various countries around the world where they have learned, networked, and picked various skills that can be tailor made to solve local and national challenges, I aspire to be part of the global movement towards achieving sustainable development goals. How about we share practices that we think might work? How about we continue to develop through learning? I am always looking forward to meeting and later alone working with people that share the vision of influencing the world positively and I believe it is through programs like these that we forge these strategic alliances to find ways forward.