"Making a Difference. What is stopping you?"
I recently returned from a research trip in Uganda. I have spent time in Third World countries before and have witnessed poverty and suffering first hand and in its most dire forms. Uganda, however, was my first opportunity to participate on a personal level within a world far beyond where a typical traveller would venture. I wasn't just driving past poor villages, or seeing children begging for food or water from the comfort of my transport vehicle. I wasn't just seeing charity adverts on TV with photos of sick and starving people surrounded by flies in the hopes of raising awareness and inspiring donations.
Learn how Jennifer made a significant difference to a village in Uganda
"Flexibility is important, as your knowledge grows of the situation. You may learn knew things which mean you need to modify your plan, sometimes your project aims.
The experience of visiting Uganda has changed some of my fundamental views on life, and increased my understanding of Management Consultancy. Practicing consultancy in an unusual environment (to me), and with subject matter quite different from my day job, has brought many of the skills sharply into focus."
Read Ashley's personal blog of the MBA module and the trip to Ugandan
"I believe this particular project is like no other. We as a team can use our insight and knowledge learnt in class to make a genuine difference in the world. The project not only gives us a much more hands on approach allowing us as a team to be one with the people of Uganda, it will give us valuable insight into how an ecosystem is maintained in such under-developed parts of the world." Read the full story here
A novel education program on the importance of sanitation. "Research showed that previous educational projects in Uganda had failed due to lack of sanitation awareness by the community and Westminster Business School MBA students had to come up with a unique, innovative idea to make a difference. After a careful situation analysis, an interview with the mayor of Jinja followed by meetings with larger NGO's such as UNICEF and Water for People, Westminster Business School MBAs came up with an educational program around sanitation and latrine usage" Read the full story here.
"It is such a cliché and I am sure others said it before, but it's such a once in a lifetime experience. But doing it in a way that you are working there and being involved in the community, meeting the school directors, the mayor who welcomed us at their homes is something that gave us a very unique experience. If you sign up for this project, there is so much to take in and to immerse yourself in the local culture and the experiences you can have. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I would recommend it to anyone else in a heartbeat!" Read the full story here
What interested you about the Social Entrepreneurship Module and why did you ultimately choose to go?
"There are very few MBA programmes that offer an experience quite like the Social Entrepreneurship module at WBS. I was immediately intrigued upon finding out about it and after talking to past cohorts and reading about their experiences I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Getting to use our past work experience combined with everything learnt through the MBA towards a such a good cause will be so rewarding." Read the full story here
"Happiness does not have anything related with being rich, happiness comes from your inside, from really appreciate what you have and care about it and understand the value from it. I learned from the kids how to smile, and how to enjoy your life with the available thing you have, I learned from the women how to be strong and work to improve your situation even if they are suffering from diseases such as HIV." Read the full story here
"All you need to pack is a big smile, a camera and a thousand waves. Sometimes, it felt as though I had travelled back in time, and the only proof that we were still in the 21st century was my iPhone, which transformed into a gadget from outer space overnight. However, there are no words to describe how it feels to hear loads of barefooted children – that are made to look hopelessly miserable in the media – literally explode with laughter just by greeting them in their language or showing them pictures and videos of themselves.
Ideally, every ambitious MBA student or volunteer travels with dreams and hopes of changing the world or at least finding sustainable cost-effective solutions to better whole communities. Although I am a dreamer and an optimist, I've come to realize that time and resources will always limit project outcomes; but to be able to make even the smallest difference to a community deprived of the most basic need – and right – is priceless." Read the full story here
"Nothing in a classroom could have adequately prepared us to deal with the complexity and uncertainty that we faced. We had to be flexible to adapt quickly in order to make the best of a challenging situation and to leave a lasting positive impact in the community.
As a young woman, I left Uganda feeling empowered from my interaction with the Jajjas (Grandmothers) who in spite of their living conditions were always smiling. In my opinion they are very
Strong, Resilient and Resourceful
women!!!" Read the full story here
"I have a diploma in electronics, which is 40 years old and things have moved on somewhat since then. I have only designed and sold large IT systems to major corporations. I am not a doctor or a teacher. My DIY skills are atrocious. What could I possibly do for the people in a rural community in Africa?
I visited Uganda on the MBA Social Entrepreneur module with a group of fellow students. We did make a difference and I was surprised to find that I could apply my skills and experience to help. Visiting such an environment certainly changes your perspective and makes you think – maybe I can help?
For the past 10 years of my career, I have worked on developing alliances and partnerships between large IT suppliers – bringing the best of both organisations to create something new and more powerful than the sum of the parts. I realised that I have a skill for bringing diverse people and organisations together to create something new or do something that couldn’t have been done before. If it works for large corporations – maybe it would work for charities, universities and individuals. It does work! So I have traded my corporate life for a life of applying my skills to help others – bringing organisations and individuals together to make a difference. It sounds corny but the experienced changed my life !! – for the better. Give it a try" Peter Clarke WE2
"Having spent several days working with Arpan, the only registered organisation focusing on child sexual abuse in Mumbai, it made me think about what kind of contribution i have given back to society.
John F Kennedy said, "Don't ask what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country'. Thus, let's reflect about what we can do for the society..." Read the full story here
A few photos from previous projects
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