Transformational Leadership

78% of Uganda’s population is below 30 years, Uganda has the third youngest population globally. Busia is a border district in Uganda that still has not reaped the benefits of its location. It is 85% rural and agriculture based, contrary to popular impression that its major source of income is trade and commerce. Low yielding rain fed agriculture keeps poverty levels high in Busia standing at less than Ugx 100,000 a month. Many households are therefore unable to afford basic needs. School dropout is subsequently high with young people seeking alternative means of survival. Under these circumstances alluvial gold mining, boda boda riding, some amount of prostitution, betting and gambling, early marriages, and petit trading are great allures for young people. A poverty mindset leads to an urgent desire for quick returns.

Busia could be considered a wealthy district. Unlike other districts it boasts good amounts of gold deposits. Its strategic location exposes it to the Kenyan market since produce from districts in the North and Eastern parts of the country come to Busia as the central collection point and a gateway. Traders from Kenya come to Busia as their entry point into Uganda to buy goods for sale in Kenya. Many of Uganda’s prominent and intelligent leaders also hail from Busia.

Unlocking potential of youth involves provision of leadership, means of livelihood education and training and releasing their creativity and innovativeness through design and implementation of right policies.

With this in mind, in 2012, the Institute for Social Transformation established a Community Learning Centre in Namaubi, Busia that adopts a rights based approach to leadership, development and social participation of women, and a Skills Plus program for youth. The Institute, being primarily a capacity building institution has powerful tools that can be used to change mindsets and help citizens forge a way for their futures and that of their communities.

Since its inception, the center has registered over 300 students who have graduated with one or more of the above skills. The CLC will be the leading vocational training school in the region in the next ten years


  • Trained over 200 men and women
  • Some students have already started businesses and are now self reliant and living better lives.


  • Most young girls who come are caught up in a web of problems and are complacent with the lifestyle they are living and show less motivation to change.
  • Lack of appropriate institutions in Busia and resources to have the trainees undergo valuable apprenticeship to master the skills, gaining more expertise and exposure.
  • There is need for more class room blocks, a dinning and kitchen place to expand the learning environment of the students.
  • Funding constraint to hire and retain good personnel.


Courses are conducted at the Community Learning Centre (CLC) in Namaubi, Dabani sub-county of Busia District. The CLC is located away from the Centre of Busia town, in a quiet and safe environment that is conducive to comprehension and practice. Well-trained and experienced staff give guidance and mentorship in the two large halls while lunch is provided for students. Boarding can be privately arranged since the Institute can make accommodation available for 18 students at additional costs.


The courses are offered on an instructional, first-hand modular to enable participants to learn and continue their regular livelihood activities. This means that the subject will be broken down and taught in separate smaller parts for duration of three months. Students are assessed under modular assessment by the Directorate of Industrial Training, which is accredited by the Ministry of Education and given a transcript.COURSES OFFERED AT THE COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTRE


  •  The importance of agriculture in the economy of the household
  • Horticulture for consumption and for income generation
  • Modern agriculture practices


  • The motor cycle engine
  • Replacement and repair of parts, clutch, shock absorber
  • Importance of tires Riding a motorcycle
  •  Traffic rules


  • Appreciation of African hair, its structure, beauty and uniqueness
  • Cleanliness and hygiene
  • Retouch
  • Braiding types and techniques
  • Hair Weaving


  • Importance of crafts
  • Types of materials (both local and modern)
  • Different types of crafts


  • Good business practices which includes record keeping, marketing, client relations, business ethics, quality control;
  • Life Skills which includes goal setting and planning, self-awareness, gender relations, reproductive health;
  • Leadership and Responsible Citizenship which includes confidence building, voice and power, ethical and transformative leadership, activism, and transforming communities.


Short course are also offered during the weekends on:

  • Soap making
  • Candle making
  • Motor vehicle maintenance
  • Decorations
  • Landscaping plus use and repair of grass cutting machine

We offer short courses that run for only three months after which the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT)- the recognized national examining body- assesses students. DIT issues certificates indicating the performance of students. The equipped students can hence start and entrepreneurial venture or find a job to provide income. The plus program is intended to build self-confidence, leadership, and capacity to manage a small business and be a good citizen.


All participants are expected to conduct themselves with the utmost politeness and courtesy while at the Centre. Cleanliness and neatness of person should be upheld.

There is still need to focus on promoting self employment among the youth and the areas of focus include issues of livelihood such as entrepreneurship development, agribusiness and sustainable environment, as well as various talent taping and development exhibitions, sports and recreation that showcase young people’s potential.


Sponsor/Mentor a student at the IST Learning Centre.

For more information please contact:

The Executive Director

Institute for Social Transformation

Plot 390, kaduyu close – Kiwatule 24620 Kampala-Uganda


Tel: +256 (0) 414 665 496, +256 (0) 703165553


Facebook: Institute for Social Transformation

Twitter: @IST_Uganda

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