Trained leader’s change initiatives in a rural school in Uganda
Helen Twongyeirwe is currently the head teacher at Kiggwa Senior Secondary School, in Uganda. Before that she was deputy head teacher at Lubiri Secondary School.
Helen attended EASUN’s FOLD training in 2012. Her move from an elite, urban school to a poor rural school was informed by a desire to transform organizational culture in a school situation, taking into account the powerful influence of educational institutions on society. In a discussion with EASUN, in April 2016, Helen talked about the impact of FOLD training on her leadership: “My motivation to attend FOLD training was to find a way to use Orgarnization Development (OD) skills in public institutions to improve practices and relationships for better performance.” However, she quickly realized that the emphasis on traditional ways of doing things in her old school was not going to allow innovation or experimentation with governance—particulary leadership practices of teachers and administrators.
Helen decided to move from the elite school in order to follow her vision of transforming practices in public schools. She successfully applied for the position of head teacher at Kiggwa Secondary School. She says: “I wanted a space where I would be in charge, in order to apply my OD learning and introduce different ways of doing things.”
Making change happen for self and others
A number of innovative systems and processes introduced by Helen in her new school have transformed governance and other relationships between the various stakeholders. A particular aspect that stands out is the way that school meetings are now organized to be more reflective and focused on learning for improvement.
Helen has also embraced a mentoring approach, i.e., facilitating her colleagues to achieve specific milestones in key areas, such as report writing and self-expression.
Other innovative practices that she has pioneered include making new ideas organization–wide so that they are owned by the whole institution as well as organizing team building through learning sessions.
Helen is now particularly keen about her new abilities as a facilitator capable of working with the wisdom of the situation. “FOLD has shaped new attitudes and behavior in me towards the people I find in any local situation.” In Amudat district, formerly Karamoja, she used images as a tool and succesfully facilitated a predominantly male faith-based group to come to acceptance with regard to the huge gap in the workloads of men and women in community.
Helen highlighted her own self-development processes and new facilitation skills that particularly supported her change management efforts. These include: 1) Courage to create opportunities for experimentation with new processes of organizational development; 2) Applying techniques that build trust and empower others in problem-solving; 3) Shifts in her own attitudes and behavior, i.e., developed skills that enable empathy to emerge in a leader.
In her further learning through accompaniment by EASUN facilitators in real time interventions, Helen learnt to manage interventions that minimize stuck situations in organizations and communities, and strengthened a supportive posture that moulds a facilitative and transformational leader.