This feature highlights how the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) supports Boundless Minds Uganda, a non-profit organization in Uganda, that prepares young people for work, entrepreurship and social justice.
When Benjamin Rukwengye started his social enterprise, Boundless Minds Uganda, in 2017, he intended to equip young Ugandans with soft skills to transition from school to work.
Born in Fort Portal, Kabarole District, Uganda, he knew all too well that soft skills training was overlooked when compared to technical skills qualifications in his country. He also knew that young persons are better positioned to achieve more when their soft skills complement their qualifications.
The work of Boundless Minds Uganda has bridged that divide.
Over the last four years, the organization has trained approximately 3,500 young people for work, entrepreneurship, and community leadership. By extension, about 7,000 young people across schools and universities in Uganda have been indirectly impacted and over 50 mentors have been recently on-boarded to provide career guidance to young Ugandans.
Benjamin is not leading this work alone.
As the Founder and CEO, he is supported by five employees and two volunteers who share his passion for quality education, youth development and economic growth.
Benjamin and team have been able to build their organizational and management capacity and gain access to funders and partners with support from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QTC).
“Our staff have attended trainings on Safeguarding, Procurement and Finance and Monitoring and Evaluation. This this is a crucial process towards building strong organizational systems that will see us achieve our vision. Through QCT we were also able to receive personal coaching using the BetterUp application and establish sustainable operations.”Benjamin Rukwengye, founder, Boundless Minds
Within the last year, the partnership with QTC has allowed Boundless Minds Uganda to design, pilot and rollout a standardized soft-skilling toolkit to enhance the communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration for learners. This was piloted in over 30 schools, with over 2000 learners; and has also been rolled out to 5 community-based organizations across Uganda.
The organization has also built a digital skilling platform – The Mentor – to scale its work-readiness skilling impact and provide resources and expert mentorship to students in higher institutions of learning. The Mentor currently has over 1000 users who access content, entry-level opportunities, mentors, and career development resources.
When Benjamin considers the growth and impact of Boundless Minds Uganda, he is most proud of the high school graduates who have completed trainings who are now leading in their communities.
“Most of the high school graduates who have passed through our programs and trainings have been able to start their businesses through our module called Ideation. Skills such as problem solving, creativity and communication have been essential in assisting them to start enterprises in agribusiness, brickett making, making of bracelets among others”.Benjamin Rukwengye, founder, Boundless Minds
“We continue to receive testimonials of young people acquiring internships, volunteer placements, job opportunities and leadership positions which is an encouragement for my team and I to continue with the work that we do”Benjamin Rukwengye, founder, Boundless Minds
Looking ahead, Boundless Minds Uganda will launch a Peer Mentors Hub to enhance the development of social entrepreneurship among students. The inaugural cohort will have 100 students from 10 universities/vocational schools, who will be trained and placed in different campuses to support their peers and accelerate their leadership, professional and career growth in the process.
The organization also plans to partner with 30 small and medium enterprises to offer internship placements and enterprise development mentorship to its alumni.
As a way of giving back, Boundless Minds Uganda is partnering with community-based organizations to use its standardized soft-skilling toolkit as a guide for their work. This gesture will drive efforts towards the adoption of soft skills training in the education system in Uganda as the country does not have a soft skilling policy.
It’s been a journey from 2017 to now.
Benjamin’s recommendation to young leaders who are considering taking action on their ideas?
“Pursue only that which you are passionate about. When you have a personal connection to your idea, you can overcome the different obstacles that come your way.”