Uganda: Vocational Training and Tailoring Shop Program

RMF and JICA Partnership Update January 2015 Report

April 20, 2015

(see full PDF report for additional photos)

The information in this report details the progress of the programme Basic Skills Vocational Training Outreach Programme”. This is an Outreach Program designed by the Directorate of Vocational Training with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for Basic Skills Training of South Sudanese Refugees at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute and implemented by Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) under the supervision of JICA and the Directorate of Vocational Training (DVT).

This programme became operational on the 29th of December 2014 at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute and this report documents the progress so as to keep the stakeholders informed of activities at the institution.

Enrollment of trainees
The institution currently has a total of 121 trainees of which 101 are South Sudanese and 20 Ugandans of these, 46 are male and 75 are females. Table 1 below shows the summary of enrollment by nationality and gender.

Election of the Trainee Guild Executives
The election of the guild representatives took place on Friday, 9th January 2015, and the trainees decided on the positions that they considered were vital in the institutions. The names were proposed and then seconded and those proposed were given an opportunity to campaign and show interest. The ones who emerged with the majority votes are the representatives listed below.

PVTI Guild Executives’ Consultative Meeting
On 16th January 2015 the Guild Executives held a meeting to which the Representative from South Sudan and PVTI Administration were invited and below are the main issues discussed:

  1. The Executives requested the Government of South Sudan to support them with lunch.
  2. Request to be given footwear like gumboots for practical training.
  3. Request to be supported with startup kits as they leave the institution.
  4. Expansion of the classes because they cannot accommodate the trainees for both practical and theory.
  5. Trainees and their families are faced with limited domestic supplies because the food ratios of 11.5 kg can hardly sustain them.
  6. Request for the continuation of the program so as to accommodate a big number of possible trainees who are still in need of the skills.

The following were the responses to the issues raised by the Guild Executives:
The representative from the Directorate of Vocational Training thanked the trainees for sharing all their concerns which he felt passionate about and he pointed out that some of the challenges may take some time to address and needed consulting with other stakeholders. However concerning feeding, the refugees were getting food already by WFP and it would be difficult to give the institution food because most of the trainees are refugees, their ratios were already calculated in their families.  For the other issues that were raised, he considered them very important but needed to be forwarded and discussed with other partners to solicit support. He encouraged the trainees to strive acquiring the skills to create opportunities for themselves via self employment.
PVTI Guests
Officials from Nakawa Vocational Training institute
Three officials from Nakawa Vocational Training Institute are at Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute on a 2-week supervisory arrangement. These have been supported through an agreement between JICA and the Directorate of Vocational Training (DVT) at the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development (MoLPSHRD) South Sudan.

The officials are Okwir Thomas, the Head of the Carpentry and Joinery Department, Ekoolit Gilbert, Head of the Department of Tailoring and Design, and Keeya Francis, Head of the Department of Building and Concrete Practice at NVTI.

Their core aim at PVTI is to supervise the activities of the instructors that were trained by them at NVTI, an arrangement that was made between JICA and MoLPSHRD South Sudan. This follow up at implementation by RMF at PVTI has enabled the instructors to streamline the curriculum that was designed by MoLPSHRD to guide the three months basic skills program outreach programme for the 121 enrolled trainees at PVTI.

Below are some of the observations made by this supervisory team:

  • Safety for trainees; they observed that strict safety measures were needed for the safety of the instructors and the trainees, for instance,
    • There is need to organize the methods in which the tools are stored during and at the end of the day’s practices. Currently, the store is shared between the tailoring class and the tools are left at the back of the class with open access.
    • Need to provide closed shoes for the carpenters.
    • Need to provide gumboots for BCP class.
    • General environment to be free of halls and sanitation containers to be placed at strategic places.
  • The lessons after lunch time at times are delayed because the trainees return late after their lunch. This is because the trainees have to walk long distances for lunch and thus cannot make it back on time for the afternoon lessons that start at 2:30pm.
  • Limited Workshop space (not enough for carrying out practical)
  • Most of the staff lacks ICT skills which should be adopted for lesson preparation and presentation.
  • There is need to improve the system of getting and storing water for the BCP section by providing a cistern can.
  • Need to use materials that can be recycled, for instance lime and sand.
  • Communication problem: some of the trainees know neither the English nor the Arabic Language, neither can they write nor read. Yet they are enthusiastic to learn.
  • Hygiene should be improved around the workshops by providing dustbins even though it the dust stemmed from materials like cut jerry cans.

An Official from the Directorate of Vocational Training (DVT) at the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development (MoLPSHRD) South Sudan
Mr. Reuben Daniel held meetings with PVTI Administration and Instructors during his five day visit, with the South Sudanese Instructors and Nakawa Vocational Institute Instructors.

Through observations made during theory and practical lessons, he compiled and shared the listed below as general findings from the respective departments.
Positive findings

  1. The instructors and the administration are committed to carry out their duties; they are at the institution on time, in classes and during the practical.
  2. Strong team spirit among the staff and administration, each consulting each other and implementing the decisions.
  3. Good classroom management techniques paying response to all trainees and making sure all understand.
  4. Professionalism is beyond expectation.
  5. Good working environment in which all instructors are supportive to each other during practical.


  1. Limited Working space in all departments including office space for lesson preparation (the current staff room space is very limited and cannot accommodate all staff members for lesson preparation).
  2. Limited Storage space for all tools while the tailoring room doubles as a class and a store, there was urgent need to partition the room so that tools are managed well.
  3. Recording and management system of tools needs to be improved.
  4. Training materials like text books are lacking.
  5. First aid kit; he observed that though there was a nearby clinic run by RMF, there was need to have a basic first aid kit within the institution to handle simple accidents.
  6. Lack of uniforms as security measures; some of the trainees come in sandals and yet they are working with sharp tools which can easily expose a trainee to a potential accident. There was need for trainees to have for instance closed strong shoes as a contribution by themselves. He appreciated RMF for the provision of overalls and overcoats and aprons which help not only identify the trainees but also as part of a security measure.
  7. No lunch for trainees and the staff; he noticed that many of the trainees walk long distances and it is difficult for them to go back for lunch then make it back on time for the afternoon lessons, he encouraged RMF to look around for options to feed the trainees.
  8. Tool management during practical; he observed the need to ensure the tools well managed during practical.
  9. General hygiene especially in the toilet area is lacking and there is need to have toilet paper for trainees and staff, hand washing facility, and soap.

Delivery of trainee materials
A consortium of materials was delivered by Windle Trust, one of the stakeholders of Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. These covered all the various departments of Hair Dressing and Beauty Therapy, Carpentry and Joinery, Building and Concrete Practice and Tailoring and Garment Cutting.

Departmental Progress

Hair dressing and Beauty therapy (HDBT)

The current total number of enrolled trainees in this department is 28 with 2 males and 26 females.The practical classes have started thanks to Windle Trust that supported with training tools like dryers, steamers, sinks, etc and materials from RMF such as braids, chemicals, e.g. relaxers, setting lotions, styling gels, etc. Every trainee can now access materials and equipments such as dummies, weaves and braids, setting cosmetics, hair dryers, rollers to support their practical as shown in the pictures below.

Bricklaying and Concrete Practice (BCP)
All the 20 trainees in this department are male. The theory and practical classes are held under the structure that was constructed by the trainees themselves. However this structure is narrow and cannot comfortably accommodate the various building modules as required; we envisage a need to expand the shade to support the various building module types.

Carpentry and Joinery (CJ)
100% of the trainees in this department are male. Thanks to RMF who purchased 20 departmental overcoats and thus accounted for the trainees’ easy identification and smartness. Five working benches/tables have been joined by the students on which their practical are carried out however we expected another five to be added to these such that each table accommodates two students for practical. The trainees have also joined two tool boxes to which their work tools are stored. This has greatly improved the security and the method to which the daily tools are being accessed and stored.

Tailoring and Garment Cutting (TGC)
This is the largest department with currently 52 trainees of whom 4 are male and 48 females. Theory and practical classes are concurrently held and taken in turns by the four instructors. On 10th January 2015, the department was equipped with new sewing machines by Windle Trust. RMF is working out how to safely store some of the equipment.

General observation
Many of the observations have been highlighted above. These have been shared by the trainees, Guild Executives, the supervisors from Nakawa Vocational Training Institute and the Representative from the Directorate of Vocational Training South Sudan.
These have been comprehensive observations however it is important to highlight that the staff team is highly committed to ensure the programme is implemented as designed and through this commitment, extra time is put in to attend to the demands of the trainees to gain skills with the available resources.

Attendance of trainees is excellent with an average of about five new interests per day to be considered for the vocational training. The only challenge faced is during the afternoons, concentration is low; class turn up could be rated at 80% with the absentees constrained by food.

All the four departments don’t have sufficient working space. The staffs don’t have a staffroom that would enable them to prepare lessons and keep their training materials, the lecture and practical space is limited for all departments, the training materials [tools] don’t have a store to which they can safely be kept.

Library; the institution doesn’t have a library and neither does it have any text books. Reference materials are very important to guide lesson preparation and enhance understanding among the staff and the trainees.  Training materials like text books need to be availed for purposes of harmonizing teaching lessons.  

There is need to have an institutional Basic First Aid kit to handle simple accidents.


In April 2011, RMF initiated the Panyadoli Vocational Training Institute (PVTI) at the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement after being presented by the refugee community with issues surrounding the lack of skills and vocational training for students graduating from the settlement high school.
After researching which skills would provide the quickest earning opportunities and the most efficient economic investment requirements for RMF, we narrowed the programs down to:

  • Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy
  • Bricklaying and Concrete Practice
  • Carpentry and Joinery
  • Tailoring and Garment Cutting


  • To train the refugees with relevant vocational training skills
  • To prepare the refugees for the work world with entrepreneurial skills for both employment and self-employment
  • To prepare refugees with basic skills that they shall use for nation building when returning to their home country
  • To foster a cycle of improved economic stability and opportunity in the region