From the above lessons, I had a chance of meeting some Union members in Uganda (from the National Organisation of Trade Unions), and I explained to them what was happening in other countries. I am glad that since then, two members of this organisation have since attended some training at the ITC-ILO, for them to benchmark and also learn best practices. In addition, since my return from Turin, my approach to training in Industrial Relations and Labour Laws has changed, and I am able to authoritatively refer to the best practices and the various ILO conventions and recommendations of expert on various subject matters. This has enriched the style of delivery, the level of comprehension by the participants, and the confidence with which I refer to the various case studies on various subject matters. All because of my two weeks in Turin!
In institutional development aspects, I recently wrote a proposal to develop training materials for the National Union of Disabled persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), and because of blending it with the knowledge I got from the two weeks course, the proposal was rated outstanding and very relevant. I could see vividly how the issues of disability and law in Uganda could be addressed using the training tool. At the end of March 2010, I delivered training on ‘Engendering the fight against Tripanosomiasis’ and one of the dominant issues was how to legislate for gender inclusion and avoidance of all forms of gender based discrimination. I successfully delivered the training due to the Turin experience.
Ever since I left Turin, I have been approached by about five members of Uganda’s parliament to share with them ideas and resources regarding labour legislation. There is legislation in the process on issues of minimum wage; there is also an outstanding question on whether the existing labour legislation is enforceable or long standing because of the big challenge of implementation. Various sections of the legislation have also faced challenge in courts of law. Members of parliament are therefore interested in understanding much about these issues. I have shared the materials I got from Turin, and there is great feedback on their quality and appropriateness. One such feedback from an official from Attorney General’s office was that “the materials are helping me to gain insights into what the practice world-over is, and they have opened my eyes to what conventions Uganda has ratified, which enables me to take decisions comfortably”. My colleagues who are teaching Labour Law in UMI have also appreciated the materials and they say they can now teach our participants with more recent information drawn from a wider spectrum.
At the Uganda Management Institute I am supervising two Masters Students who are examining labour law related problems. One is studying the ‘factors affecting compliance to labour laws in Ugandan parastatals’; the other one is examining ‘the challenges faced by government in enforcing the existing labour laws’. I have gained much insight into the significance of their study, and I can now guide them clearly. My Turin experience has made me more empowered to tackle and ably assess the issues in the current labour legislation in Uganda.
My challenge now is that when I came back, I felt like returning to Turin immediately, for I was craving for more knowledge and experience from there. I feel I am not yet done. I have also learned that the more you stay in Turin, the longer you want to stay because of the friendly environment, facilitators, and the staff generally. Right from the gate, to the dining area, to the rooms, to the lecture halls, and all other places, ITC-ILO has not only affected my knowledge enhancement and skills improvement, it has also greatly affected my attitude and relations. In December 2009, I attended an Appraisal meeting with my immediate supervisor and he did mention that ever since I returned from Turin my behaviour and performances had improved. I am confident that my Institute realised value for money from my study in Turin. What we shall do in future is to keep our network, and keep sharing new parameters and experiences arising from our countries from time to time? I wish to state that I don’t regret anything for having attended a course in ITC-ILO; in fact I am looking forward to being there another day in the near future. I also regularly speak to my classes and friends on the same, and encouraging them to attend course in ITC-ILO. It’s a very changing experience. Please keep the banner high up in the sky”.