While I was still at University(Uganda Christian University) back in 2007, I always felt that the Education system wasn’t adequate in equipping or preparing a student for life outside the school environment. University and the real world were parallel, what I was required to do at University scarcely intersected with what was required of me when I joined the professional world as a young professional. Aware of that while still in my first year, I decided to take a couple of initiatives to punctuate and interrupt our education with meaningful breaks that made the journey worthwhile. With the help of a couple of friends, I pioneered 2 initiatives in this direction; Azania and TRUTH Debate
The Story began when Open Society Initiative East Africa (OSIEA) staff came and organized a small closed door debate session and asked I and a couple of friends to debate. It was later that we learned that there was an opportunity to represent the country at the Pan African University Debate Championships (PAUDC) in Botswana. Selections were made and I wasn’t among those chosen. A few weeks later, close to the date when the Championships were happening, I was informed that one of the individuals chosen to represent wasn’t going to be able and as such, If I was still interested, the opportunity was mine.
With little preparation, we were already on the plane to Botswana. The year was 2009 and my experience there was nothing short of unforgettable. To cut the long story short, Team Uganda didn’t even break to the quarter Finals but the seed that had been sowed in me had began germinating. I later trained about 100 students in professional British parliamentary debate and held the first official BP tournament in East Africa.
We continued to train more students in professional debate. Those trained later represented UCU and the Country in national and international tournaments respectively. From the National Debate Championships (NDC) to the ACFODE and Open Society Debates in Uganda to the Pan African Debate Championships in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa
Since then, TRUTH debate has trained over 500 students in BP debate at Uganda Christian University. The program is still active but needs a little bit of support. I also hope to do so in 2015 so we can keep the spirit of debate alive