Facilitator Spotlight: Lutwama Herman Creates New Handicraft Courses in Uganda

Learning circle participants pour petroleum jelly into molds
Learning circle participants pour petroleum jelly into molds

Lutwama Herman, a facilitator at the Kawempe Youth Center Community Library in Uganda, has created two new courses on making petroleum jelly and soap! Over 100 learning circle participants made their own products, and Herman included entrepreneurial advice to help learners start their own small businesses. 

Herman used our facilitator guide template to design these courses, and we think this work is an excellent example of how peer facilitators can create new courses to meet their communities’ needs.

Join our facilitator call on Wednesday, October 5th to discuss how you can create your own handicraft courses! 💌 RSVP

What was your course design process like? 

The petroleum jelly course was the first course I’ve created. I had never made petroleum jelly before this point. My process was a difficult one because I didn’t know where to start. A group of participants from a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO) approached me and requested a course that did not yet exist on the P2PU platform. I had the option of taking resources directly from any online source and delivering them to my participants, but I decided to use the steps and skills that I learned during the Training of Trainers workshop to develop my own course content. 

During the course creation process, I consulted my fellow facilitators and Qumisha Goss for their support. I kept searching the web for different material sources such as videos from YouTube and content from different websites related to petroleum jelly-making.

What advice do you have for facilitators leading learning circles about business and entrepreneurship?

Here is some advice gathered from the Vaseline-making course about marketing skills for our product: 

  • The facilitator should learn from participants, as they come up with different ideas about the course during the sessions
  • Accept every participant’s opinion
  • Do research before facilitating any actively running learning circle
  • Develop a special, friendly connection with participants to amplify their motivation to the course
  • Research the material costs before the days of learning circles requiring practical participation
  • Follow the regulations by local product registry authorities to legally sell in public markets without interruptions by processing the product licenses

How do you prepare the meeting space for learners for hands-on learning?

During this learning circle, we came up with our own petroleum jelly product brand. Participants were surprised to see they can make their own high-quality petroleum jelly and sell it on the market. Any future facilitator running this learning circle needs:

  • A large, well-ventilated space for the available number of participants 
  • A steady heat source 
  • Knowledge of knife safety when slicing fruit and other ingredients

How can facilitators start creating their own learning circles about handicrafts?

Handicraft businesses are well-suited for people who love crafting naturally designed or handmade products like ornaments, and wall and table decorations. The facilitator of this kind of course should note:

  • What materials are needed for these activities?
  • Where can we buy them?
  • What are the costs for each material
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What are the risks expected during crafting?

The facilitator should consider doing further research to find different craft designs, skills or styles from other sources to equip participants with any required information.

Your learners seemed to really appreciate your patience and support during your learning circle. What advice do you have for other facilitators?

The advice that I can give my fellow facilitators who wish to be helpful and supportive to their participants is to:

  • Be patient and friendly to their learning group
  • Respect every participant regardless of their background
  • Do research to satisfy the participant’s needs 
  • Consult people experienced in the specified activity
  • Share updates of newly discovered skills to add to the course

Any other thoughts you’d like to share with us?

The greatest challenges in my facilitation have been poor internet connectivity and having a limited number of computers for a large number of participants, which slows down my training activities. I appreciate the work of P2PU, EIFL, Enabel, NLU and all project partners for their work in carrying out this training program and for their support to the Libraries.

We’re grateful to Herman for sharing these strategies with us! Visit our business and entrepreneurship topic guide to find tips for facilitators, popular courses, and other resources to enrich your learning circles on the subject. 

Join our facilitator call on Wednesday, October 5th to discuss handicraft course design! 💌 RSVP

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