Francis Bizoza Bigirimana

How are you involved in Education in Emergencies work?

I grew up in Uganda and now work in South Sudan, a nation that has faced decades of civil war. Through an initiative of the African Leadership Academy, I work as a Master Teacher Program Fellow. I provide support and professional development to the teachers of Green Belt Academy, a Senior Secondary School run by Education Bridge whose mission is to educate a generation of peacemakers and transformational leaders. Most of the students at the school are beyond the recommended age of the classrooms they are attending as their education has been interrupted by the political instability in South Sudan.

How did your experience as a Teach For Uganda fellow inspire or prepare you for what you’re doing now?

I spent my two-year fellowship in a rural public school in Uganda. It gave me a deep appreciation for the extreme challenges that some teachers and students face on a daily basis. I saw students who never had a midday meal or the scholastic materials they needed, and teachers that were paid low salaries and hadn’t received the right professional development support. Together these contributed to poor learning outcomes for many students, and yet I was inspired by the motivation that these individuals showed in the face of these challenges.

What have you learned from working in Education in Emergencies?

To work in emergency contexts one needs to be resilient, compassionate, empathetic, and above all understanding. You meet individuals with different attitudes towards life, and often need to help them believe and hope that life can change and become better.

What advice do you have for other network alumni interested in humanitarian roles?

Humanitarian work is the best way to learn life-changing lessons. It is a basis for those who desire to be changemakers and entrepreneurs. Through this experience you will find better solutions to challenges that exist in society.

How has your work in Education in Emergencies influenced your future career plans?

My experience at Green Belt Academy has shown me that there is much more peace building and conflict resolution work that needs to be done in South Sudan. The country is recovering from civil war, and many in the population are traumatized by its impacts. Before I came to Green Belt Academy, I had been admitted to the University of Peace in Costa Rica for a Master’s Degree in Peace Education. I deferred my offer in order to take up this opportunity and serve in a community that has been affected by civil war. I now have a greater understanding of how instability affects communities, and this experience has given me a foundation for the career I want to pursue in peace education.

Partner
Teach For Uganda

Cohort
2018

Current EiE work
African Leadership Academy
Bor-South Sudan

Previous EiE work
ADCreatrix, Northern Uganda

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