SBS LEARNING LAB PIVOTS TO DELIVER FIRST REMOTE TRAINING
As part of our response to COVID-19 and our efforts to compile and develop resources to help, our team in Uganda has been exceptional in its ability to think creatively and pivot the way it is reaching women in the communities we serve. After months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Evelyn Mwondha, the co-director of our Uganda office and the Uganda team understood the need to shift the way Street Business School (SBS) delivered its training due to the lockdown.
With reports of rising unemployment and poverty, and projections that suggested that 3 million people in Uganda would be pushed back into poverty, Evelyn and her team worked quickly to find solutions to reach the communities that needed support. They collaborated and designed a “Remote Training” curriculum to be delivered through the SBS Learning Lab.
“Learning Lab Remote” training is a 10-week program comprised of key elements from the SBS curriculum that can be delivered through telephone conferencing. From recruitment and training through coaching and graduation, the entire curriculum is delivered via teleconference.
Conference calls, consisting of sub-cohorts made up of 4-5 members each, are organized and paid for by SBS. Individual coaching calls are also conducted.
In early August, the SBS Uganda (SBSU) team launched the first test group. Working in the community where the most recent SBSU training and graduation had taken place, SBS coaches called women who were referred by community leaders and SBS alumni. Those efforts were a success and 41 members were registered into 10 cohorts.
During orientation, women expressed their hopes and goals, many of which were similar to what is heard in live training: “I want to learn to start a business,” “I want to have more money,” “I want to learn to save more.”
Success for Students and Coaches
This new training model is very popular among the participants. When a woman is dropped from a call due to connectivity issues, she typically calls back in quicky and asks to be re-connected so she does not miss out on any of the training.
And, our SBSU coaches are gaining confidence with this new method of delivering the SBS curriculum too. One coach shared “This is doable and I feel motivated by the women’s comments when they share what they have learned.”
The test group is now in week six, with plans to enroll a new group of cohorts this month. In fact, a few applications have already been received from referrals made by current participants!
The SBSU team solicits feedback after each training session and understands there is more to learn about how to improve the curriculum and delivery with this new training method. They are refining the e-recruitment process continuously so that it is less time-consuming for the team.
But, so far, this new model appears to be a success and a great example of the innovation and flexibility of our SBSU team. We look forward to sharing more about the continued roll-out of this new program and the beneficial impacts on the women who graduate from SBS Learning Lab Remote.