“I feel honoured to have realised my stewardess and leadership coaching roles during the process of implementation because lessons documented have transformed and enriched my organization to produce long term benefits.” Carolina Lwanga from Uganda (48), married to James and mother of four children, graduated her MBA at Business School Netherlands in 2014. “The programme has changed me as a person – both in skills and behaviour.”
Over the past 15 years, Caroline has served in different capacities in Uganda; as a teacher in secondary schools; as a Board Secretary and Treasurer in district NGO forums; a trainer of trainees in national NGOs and a Programme Manager.
What was your main motivation to sign up for the International Action Learning MBA?
“Growing up in rural Uganda and working for a commendable period of time with organisations that served vulnerable people like orphaned children and female caretakers at the grass root enabled me to learn a lot about the problems and challenges they faced which remained unresolved. Yet, they affected their well-being socially and economically. I believed that these unresolved problems and challenges would feed well into the International Action Learning MBA programme.
Applying for the MBA gave me hope that if pursued and completed, I would gain new skills, become more pragmatic, link newly acquired knowledge and skills to the situation and finally popularise lessons learnt and support those affected to address the challenges. Moreover, I hoped my organisation’s staff would benefit from my re-engineered skills and rich learning experiences through coaching, mentoring and support.”
Do you feel like you have achieved your goals?
“After attending the programme, I improved a number of skills, became more pragmatic and became an action-taker. I was in position to identify which decision making approach was appropriate, and which system or procedure should be developed and implemented to help one’s own organisation address a number of unresolved problems and challenges that had stood the test of time. The MBA has also helped me to become more enterprising and a risk taker.”
Tell us more about your enhanced entrepreneurialism.
“To date, I am the Founder and Board Chairperson of Children Support Sports Talents Programme, a national registered NGO, which piloted its work in Northern Uganda working with rural schools to enable children, from rural areas with untapped and underutilized sports talents, to make use of the talents identified to improve their livelihoods. I am also seeing myself as an entrepreneur who, by establishing and running a village based recreation centre Sinai Entertainment, will attract people from within and outside Uganda with an intention to generate income and also coach and support un employed youths to build and scale up their skills to become enterprising and self-reliant.”
Tell me about your Action Learning Projects, what were their aims or goals?
“My ALPs focused on the following:
- A customer integrated vocational skills training model was aimed to improve household incomes for trained female caretakers and to reduce abject poverty among female caregivers to orphans.
- A sustainable internal financing sourcing strategy aimed to improve stagnant female caregivers’ clustered animal husbandry projects and increase household incomes of female caregivers.
- A team based performance appraisal system design aimed to reduce high voluntary job turnover of skilled employees in Dual Uganda Women and Orphans’ Programme
- An improved reward management system aimed to increase job commitment among skilled employees employed by Dual Uganda Women and Orphans’ Programme (DUWOP)
- An improved knowledge management system aimed to reduce loss of organisational knowledge embedded within employees’ heads, documents and other forms of storage
- A Balanced Scorecard performance measurement and management system for (DUWOP) aimed to reduce high school dropout level of orphans that prevailed over five years.”
What were the results and impact of the different ALPs?
- “A customer integrated vocational skills training model developed and when implemented improved household incomes for 150 trained female caretakers by 30% and reduced abject poverty among 2500 female caregivers to orphans by 60 %, in 2011.
- A sustainable internal financing sourcing strategy developed and implemented improved 4 stagnant female caregivers’ clustered animal husbandry projects by 40% to USD 3200 per month in 2012 that improved 4 stagnant female caregivers’ clustered animal husbandry projects by 40% to USD 3200 per month.
- A team based performance appraisal system design developed and implemented reduced high voluntary job turnover of skilled employees’ by 80% in 8 months period in 2012.
- An improved reward management system developed and implemented improved job commitment among 80% skilled employees employed by the organisation in 2013.
- A Balanced Scorecard performance measurement system developed and implemented reduced orphans’ school dropout level by 80 % on average of two years, in 2014.”
Were (all) your ALPs implemented? How has that made a positive impact for the organisation or perhaps even for the broader situation in Uganda?
“Except for one ALP (‘An improved knowledge management system for DUWOP’), the other five ALPS were all implemented as expected. This has made a positive impact for the organisation in terms of performance and competitiveness. DUWOP staff is being used to popularise lessons I documented to help decision makers within other organisations at district and national level learn more on how to use certain improved or new operational procedures and/or performance measurement systems to enhance their competiveness.”
Which ALP did you personally enjoy executing?
“I personally enjoyed executing ‘A Balanced Scorecard performance measurement and management system for DUWOP’. Firstly, the findings and lessons from the research appealed to management and staff in as far as how to address a problem that had stalled and, once resolved, it was branding DUWOP’s competitiveness in improving the well-being of vulnerable people. When popularised, I also felt it helped all types of organisations (profit and non-profit) produce better performance results, permits organisations to create value from intangible assets by finding a balance in using both financial and non-financial measures which in turn assist and to ensure consistency of the organisation’s vision.”
What has been your eye-opener during the programme?
“My greatest learning moment was the international conference (workshops) attended where I got involved and worked with learning coaches and a diverse group of participants from around the globe. I was enabled to visualise new concepts and learn how to use joint opinion and decision-making process in addressing challenges confronted by own organisation through open forum discussions and developing and implementing Action Learning Projects.”
Why would you recommend other people to do an MBA, especially in Uganda?
“An MBA like the International Action Learning MBA allows one to study through distance learning even when working and cuts across many enriched educational aspects required in today’s competitive world.”
What would be your advice to people about to start their MBA?
“To garner more details from reliable sources, internalise the content of the programme and establish that the problems and challenges they need to address fit well in the programme.”
Stay up-to-date and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Or subscribe to our digital newsletter.