The Life-changing Executive Directors’ Retreat
In January 2019, we had our first ever EDs’ retreat organised by Jackie Asiimwe, the team leader at CivSource Africa. The retreat was such a blessing to me and a great way to begin the year 2019. It gave me the opportunity to meet new leaders and share experiences as we work towards making a difference in the lives of others in this world.
At this retreat I realised how I have spent most of my life attending to the lives of others and not paying enough attention to myself which has affected my well-being significantly. I realised that I rarely do exercises yet it is very important for my health. With a very energetic and inspirational facilitator, Hope Chigudu, I learnt about the Chakras and how they relate with our daily lives. I also learnt a number of indoor exercises that I can do both at home and in my office without necessarily going to the gym. That was powerful and it has since changed my life significantly.
Leaders, just like other people, need time for self-care because we can’t pour from an empty cup. At that time we agreed that we head back to our organisations with a purpose of creating organisations with souls. Ones that make life meaningful and not stressful. Ones that encourage growth and sisterhood. It has been quite a great journey.
After our retreat in January, we agreed to meet again in August to review and share experiences of our journeys. We had it in Mitooma where we were hosted by our very own Winnie Ngabiirwe, the Executive Director Global Rights Alert.
We started by visiting the nearby Kyeibare Secondary School to inspire and motivate girls to stay focused on their education until they achieve their dreams. The girls were so happy to see so many female leaders from Kampala visit their school at one go. How wonderful it is to know that you’re contributing to bettering lives of young people! The headmistress was very glad to host us and requested us to visit again.
In Mitooma, we had the opportunity to share our stories with each other. This was very powerful. I was happy to share my journey especially on how the January retreat had changed my life. I started creating time for myself and my family which wasn’t the case before. I started exercising in my home which I had never thought of. I learnt to let go of negative energy and this really helped me to remain focused but most importantly, I created time for my God which has since made me a completely new person in Christ; to serve him and learn the word of God has been the greatest achievement so far.
Learning about coaching was another great moment for me. For a long time, I have confused mentorship with coaching and now I feel more informed after learning from the best. Joan Mugenzi, the Executive Director- Imagine Me Africa, did such a great job during the session but most importantly she made it practical. It’s at this time that I realised that we always have answers to our problems but all we need is a coach to probe and make it clear to us that we are much more than we think. I know now that I need a coach and once I have one, I will not remain the same.
The people of Mitooma are so loving and caring. We started eating the moment we arrived until we left, imagine that! We had a family dinner where we were able to share with the relatives of Winnie (our host) about the work we do and why we decided to make the trip. They called upon us to always find time and go back which we would definitely love to. What a weekend!
I want to appreciate all the leaders that were present. I appreciate Jackie for coming up with such a powerful initiative. Every leader needs this opportunity for sure. I count myself Lucky to be part of this amazing family that we call #ChakraVillage.
The Sisterhood makes all the difference. This reminds me of our 2019 Annual Hiking event which we just had at the beginning of July. It was great to Jackie Asiimwe and Jackie Mukasa join us to hike for the girl child and break stigma around menstruation. We also gave sanitary pads and knickers to the girls as an assurance that the world cares about them no matter where they stay. Our host Winnie also supported us with a contribution towards sanitary pads which was so kind of her. This was a true experience of sisterhood and I am happy to belong to this big and loving Chakra Village.
Nankunda Hope Mwijuka
Executive Director- Raising Teenagers Uganda.