Turkey's state-run development aid agency has trained hundreds of Ugandans in vocational skills to help them start their own businesses and fight unemployment in the landlocked East African nation.
"So far more than 500 girls have been trained and awarded certificates in fashion and design," Yahya Acu, coordinator for the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), told Anadolu Agency in the capital Kampala. "We plan to select some of the best among those who graduated and give them sewing machines so they can start their own businesses." He also said the agency has just completed training 15 university staffers at the Islamic University in Uganda on 3D modeling and printing. He said the university will incorporate the 3D program into its programs in the IT and computer science departments.
Acu said TİKA also plans to set up a vocational skills training center at the university to train students. "The vocational center will have 12 departments, including web design, web programming, construction and welding. Others include photography and garment-making," he said. Acu said TİKA also plans to expand its 3D training program at other Ugandan universities.
After officially opening its offices in Uganda last year, TİKA has undertaken several development projects in the country. "We have just completed the distribution of scholastic materials to some schools in Uganda benefiting 203 students. Some of the materials distributed include school bags, uniforms, books and metallic suitcases for students studying in boarding schools," he explained.
Acu also said TİKA is planning to assist the government of Uganda by building additional classrooms at some schools.
"In Uganda, there is the challenge of a lack of classrooms. So this year TİKA plans to build additional classrooms at three schools where students are using temporary structures," Acu said.
During the sacred month of Ramadan this year, TİKA also distributed food to over 500 families in Bombo, central Uganda, near Kampala. "For cultural cooperation this April we sent some students from Uganda to Turkey to participate in Children's Day," he said. Since its founding in 1992, TİKA has been responsible for facilitating Turkey's official development assistance by providing help to developing countries.
TİKA is currently engaged in a variety of developmental cooperation activities in 150 countries through its 60 program coordination offices, including 20 in Africa. Some of the projects it is tackling are in the fields of education, health, water and sanitation. Others include agricultural development, civil and economic infrastructure, restoration and tourism, among others.