Alumni Adventures to Uganda with Kelly McQuade

Last month, one of our alumni, Kelly McQuade set off on an experience of a lifetime in Uganda. Here are some words from her blog:

“On September 22, I will be leaving Vancouver for a 6 month community health internship in Uganda. This internship is part of the Government of Canada’s International Youth Internship Program (IYIP). I will be one of 20 interns going to Uganda as a part of the Douglas College group. My placement is with the Uganda Community Libraries Association, and I will be interning at the Centre for Youth Driven Development Initiatives (CFYDDI). I am very excited to learn more about this centre, and to learn from them in my time in Uganda.” 

One of Kelly’s most recent blog posts:

“This week was BUSY. My first two weeks at the centre were spent simply getting acquainted with the place and researching grant proposals for various projects. But this week, BAM, it was full tilt – and I really really really enjoyed it.

October 10 – 14 2016 was SHARE training week at CFYDDI. SHARE stands for Sexual Health and Reproductive Education, and 34 adolescents from 8 different schools in this district attended the week long training session. The purpose of the SHARE training was to provide the adolescents with the information and knowledge to educate their peers on the SHARE curriculum. The curriculum covers 4 topics:

  • Puberty and Body Image
  • Contraception
  • STI’s and HIV/AIDS
  • Decision making and respect

After the training, the students are meant to return to their schools and teach the curriculum to ALL the students in their schools. As well, they are meant to set up a SHARE club – a place for students to come together and conduct role plays and debates about topics related to sexual health and reproduction.

Myself, Christina, Enoch, Prossy, Irene, and Alex were helping to facilitate the program (teach the kids games, mediation skills, etc.). BUT the program was being taught by a gent named David. David is a doctor from the UK who helped to create CFYDDI with Enoch. He also created the SHARE curriculum based on doing a needs assessment in this area and in another area of Uganda. Ugandan youth said what they would want to learn about sexual health and reproduction, and David created a program on the topic!

And that brought us to this week. Every day we were working from around 8:30am to around 6pm. Christina and I would play some fun ice breaker games in the morning with the youth – it was almost always the highlight of the day. David would teach about one of the four topics, and then we would break into groups and play some games to make learning the topics a bit more interactive. There was morning tea, lunch, and afternoon snack every day – I loved having snacks (samosas, chapatis, popcorn!).

P1010865.jpgMy team and I were super excited after winning a game of Wall,Arrow,Rabbit (think of it as rock,paper,scissors – but the Ugandan version)


P1010849.jpgAnother morning Ice Breaker called Follow the Leader

Oh! In addition to Doctor David from the UK being here, Dentist Rebecca from Ireland (who now lives in the UK) is also here. Her and David are friends from the UK, and last year David convinced Rebecca that she should come and run a free dental clinic at the centre – and it was super successful!! So this year she is back to do it all again. She ran a dental clinic for the youth during the day Thursday – so 34 patients down and many many more to go. There is going to be a dental clinic this Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday – so a busy next few days for all of us also!

Time for me to explain one of the funniest moments of the week. There was a dance-off Thursday afternoon between boys & girls from different schools. We were informed that the UK & Canadian staff would be battling the Ugandan staff. We decided that we needed a coordinated dance in order to not make total fools of ourselves – so we chose the Macarena. Nobody from Uganda knew what the Macarena was, so they thought we had been practicing ahead of time. We thought we looked foolish, they thought we looked coordinated – who knew the Macarena could be impressive!!

P1020309.jpgWe were having A LOT of fun doing the Macarena


Back to the SHARE training. I was very inspired and excited about what I experienced this past week. The youth were all engaged and excited to be learning about sexual health. They have high goals and aspirations for themselves. During a game, one student told all the students in the circle to switch spots if they knew they were going to attend university – and every student moved, even the ones that were thirteen years old. They work incredibly hard, and they want to make a difference in their communities and in the world. I know that these students will make a change because of their motivation.

This past week left me especially inspired for the rest of my time in Uganda. I cannot wait to be involved with more of CFYDDI’s health outreach work.”


P1030024.jpgA group photo of everyone involved in the SHARE training with the youth in the Early Childhood Development Program

To continue to follow Kelly’s journey, you can check out her blog at!

Thank you, Kelly for all your hard work! Keep the alumni adventures alive!

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