Accolate Robert Jjuuko

On a beautiful evening of 5 February 2018 at Nile Hotel Jinja, the great men and women who choose to serve humanity through their club.

The Rotary Club of Njeru presented to me a Vocational Service Award in recognition of my humble contribution to the promotion of access to education and training opportunities to the socially disadvantaged young people and adults in our community. Indeed it is a  a pleasant surprise!;  thank you so much dear colleagues for this great reward.

A few minutes to the vocational service award ritual, I was granted an opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences. I led a conversation about ‘Vocation and Serving Humanity’ which I delivered in four segments:

1. Understanding the notion of vocation: From a Christian perspectives, vocation means a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life. But literally it may also connote a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation. If you have a vocation, you have an innate desire to doing a particular job or occupation and doing it well. You feel strongly motivated to fulfill a particular role  as an individual and feel intrinsically accountable for helping others. A vocation can be a strong feeling for being an outstanding teacher, medical doctor or engineer who does his / her job with passion.

From the Vocational psychology perspectives, vocation is an explicit concept for an occupation done with commitment, distinguished primarily by its psychological as contrasted with its economic meaning (SEARS, 1982). An activity pursued systematically and consecutively for its own sake with an objective other than monetary gain, although it may incidentally result in gain.

2. Serving Humanity: Humanity literally refers human race or the quality of being human.  Serving humanity is living one’s vocation for the well-being of the entire human race – ensuring economic justice, cultural justice, educational justice, ecological justice, cognitive justice and political justice.  Ensuring all women, men and children live a meaningful life of hope, dignity and fulfillment.

3. Value base of those who serve humanity: Those who serve humanity are not ordinary men and women; they are exceptional individuals whose actions are governed by a set of values, and ruled by a strict code of principles that ascribe them to a class of their own. Their value base is solid and never shaken by irrational thinkings and doings; never are they ever derailed by selfishness, greed and misguided appetite for money. Their consistence, dedication and commitment is intrinsic; and only rewarded by accomplishing their own vocational goals and objectives.

Their life journey follows a road-map marked by clear signposts built from an interplay of interconnected values and  human qualities such as kindness, merciful, compassionate, sympathy, humility, honesty, diligence, persistence. They have excellent social and emotional intelligence; they feel, understand and navigate human emotions to connect with every single individual that has a stake in their game.  These exceptional men and women are in charities, clubs and associations but also in business and corporate world – perhaps I take the liberty to mention that Rotary is a place where one finds such men and women.

4. My journey of serving humanity: It started more than 20 years ago in the 1990s as a community literacy tutor for young people and adults outside the formal school system.  This brought me into contact with a fundamental discourse on the centrality of literacy and education in helping men and women to assert and claim their legitimate space in modern day civilization which is ruled by the power of the pen and paper, and by extension the power of the computer and the internet.

Later I got into real adult and community education work by conducting seminars, courses, conferences and events to widen access to education, training and information services to those who are not served by mainstream education system.  The flagship of this sustained engagement was the establishment of a permanent facility for community learning and development at Plot 3 Republic Street in Njeru Central Division. Here we have touched the lives of hundreds of hitherto educationally and socially marginalized population groups in our community. We broadened our own understanding of education and development as manifested by innovative pedagogies that connect learning and work. We have a community library. We do have a skills development programme for early school leavers and the unskilled working poor.  Of course we cannot abrogate our own moral responsibility to conduct literacy and language classes for non-literates in our community. Our concept of youth learning festivals since 2014 is a new mark on our teaching-learning menu.

Today, I am delighted that despite the continued challenge to ensure sustainability of these services for humanity, I continue to strengthen my theoretical and professional capabilities to further contribute to the transformation of teaching- learning practices at different levels including tertiary and higher education in colleges and universities. My strong link with the social realities of our communities as derived from my experience in serving humanity is the basis for what I pleasantly do today, tomorrow and the next day.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share and learn with you.  I salute you and wishing you the very best in your fine endeavors in serving humanity.

Robert Jjuuko, Educationist, Researcher and Development Consultant

+256 772 403 281, robert@adultslearnuganda.org