My name is Nakwasa Robinson, a God granted lucky beneficiary of the Link to Progress smit and son’s scholarship having sat my Senior 6 examinations from Atapara Secondary school in 2015 and emerged with 10 points having done Geography, Economic and Agriculture, subsidiary mathematics and passed General paper too.
The toughest stage of my entire life
My whole life has been a miracle and to this day, I attributemy success to the struggles of my grandmother, Auma Beatrice who held onto faith that there would always be a way, a way that indeed did appeared; Link to progress did appear and to this date, I am who I am and will be because Link to progress saw me through the toughest stage of my entire life yet lived. I see and feel unlimited potentials flowing through my veins and mind every day I wake up because my future is more certain to me.
Smit and sons scholarship program
All is now possible that I made it to the university under the Link to progress smit and sons scholarship program. The same excitement with which I received the scholarship award is the same energy I have carried for the last 4 years at Gulu University, Madam Juliet can attest to it just like my colleagues would because of where my unlocked potentials have led me. I have had a really busy time at the university and I made it a point to learn, experience, share, serve, network and have fun as much I can within the bounds of my terms of the scholarship as well as the university jurisdictions plus societal moral acceptance; allow me share the peripheries here with you all though it’s a long tale.
Academically, having been given the choice to choose my course was the first right path to my bright future (I very much believe), I have enjoyed every bit of my university education despite the periodic hardships and challenges that came along (as expected in life). Being in my final year and last semester, there is a lot I can look back and count as achievements not limited to the agricultural networks I have made including the most recent with a YALI fellow at the ministry of agriculture of Uganda. The first was the relevancy of the course (Bachelor of Science in Agrientrepreneurship and communication management) to my life’s goal of empowering youths with skills and showcasing agriculture as a modern-day white-collar job too in a trendy stylish way just like any other fathomed dream job like Doctor, pilot, engineer, nurse and many others.
I had the privilege of being attached to a Christina farm where I learn practical works in line with dairy farming, modern practices of commercial banana farming for two months on a residence basis, I also had the privilege of being attached to a radio station ( Radio King 90.2FM) to learn the modern ways of disseminating agricultural information that has gone ahead to guide and inform my final year research topic being; EFFECTIVENESS OF RADIO AS A SOURCE OF AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION; A CASE STUDY OF MINAKULU SUB-COUNTY, OYAM DISTRICT.
In order to have a firm grip of the concepts in line with my course, I went ahead to take part in agricultural community outreaches as well as trainings and extension works voluntarily where we (in a group of 3) taught farmers in farm families and guided them on good agricultural practices starting from the initial farm clearing to the final stages of harvesting and post-harvest handling using locally available resources and tools. I have also had the pleasure of opening up an agribusiness project called Nana fruit salads enterprise partly as a mandatory class assignment but also a passion activity. With a team of two others, we started a fruit salad processing venture to understand the practicability and the curiosity to experience what and how a business functions from the ideation phase up to the evaluation level. In the course of our activity, we learnt tremendous experiences and I can attest that I am ready for agribusiness as soon as school is done, my God planned job will find me making my money in apiary as well as piggery and commercial crop production on a secondary production preferably. With the Nana project, we even went ahead to take part in two business pitching competitions where we won 50,000 UGX and 2,000,000 UGX respectively as my biggest joy was that we took on three mentees during our one year of operation and now three other youths from the university have been inspired to start their own agribusiness projects around the university juggling business with books (multi-tasking) with us acting as their consultants voluntarily. From the village, I have become a famous agricultural consultant on good agricultural practices and animal rearing though at a free cost as of yet.
Young African Leadership Initiative
Early March 2019, I was also invited to a friend’s farm in Masindi district to address a congregation of youths passionate about banana farming and its related products in a two-day annual farm day celebration. He was a Tony Elumelo foundation grant winner from Uganda and it was a big step for me in line with my passion in agricultural information dissemination. My social life has always been more lively, the most interesting was my trip to the famous Kenyatta University for the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) that brought me into contact with family of thousands of alumni from all over Africa under the same program.
The same leadership fellowship fueled my venture to start a media (online information dissemination) company called Northfly Uganda in partnership with a colleague who had the money yet I had the brains, synergy I called it. Northfly has brought me into contact with some of the most influential people in Northern Uganda not limited to one on one interviews with the Gulu University Vice Chancellor, the Acholi paramount chief, the LC5 of Gulu, a number of radio talk shows in line with youth, agribusiness and leadership as well as one television talk show on television like NBS, on the topic called balancing leisure with education as well as a visit to the Kabaaka’s Television and Next media services, the biggest media houses in Uganda so far.
My social life has mostly been dedicated to youth empowerment, leadership and charity pushing me to engage in a number of leadership positions at various levels of the university leadership and politics too including the most recent as the University Guild Chief Editor in charge of all guild information flow, both offline and online on various media platforms. I also volunteered to act as the northern coordinator of Upskill under the Innovation Village Gulu branch, a youth based enterprise based in Kampala with a new branch in Gulu who seek to give youths a platform to share ideas, build and market their skills to the digital word through free skilling, employment linkages and mentorship in areas of digital marketing masterclasses, tailoring, brick laying, photography, content generation, social media marketing and so forth. I also volunteer as the village’s social media handler that may earn me a formal job after campus is done (God willing).
My tale is a tale of a jolly young man whose life couldn’t be, would never have been without the support and guidance from Link To Progress and most especially my former head teacher; Mr Otim Tom (he was like a father to me), Link to progress management team as a whole. I am deeply grateful and pray that my story will only be an encouragement to a youth out there that within each and every one of us there lays grate potential awaiting to be unleashed with the right mindset and determination. If I can, you too can. Thank you and may the Lord Almighty richly bless all who have made my life what it is and is yet to become in a way that mere man can never fathom, I love you all.