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A week in the Pearl of Africa

By Hope Carpenter, Opportunity International UK Intern

At the end of March I was fortunate enough to visit Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. After 2 months of remote Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) support, I travelled to oversee the first week of a study assessing the impact of Opportunity International’s (OI) Education Finance Project, supporting 132 schools across the country. I experienced firsthand the challenges facing primary research in hard-to-reach communities.


Churchill described the forests of Uganda as “more luxuriant than any tropical forest I have ever visited”. I haven’t visited many foreign capital cities, but Kampala is by far the greenest.


Hope Primary School

Hope Primary School is one of the client schools benefitting from OI’s Girls Education Challenge Project. It involves school improvement loans, child savings accounts, bursary schemes, teacher trainings, girls’ clubs and school enterprise competitions.

Hope Primary School

OI’s External Evaluator (EE), Pincer, and their 40 research assistants are conducting learning tests and interviews with a sample of almost 1000 student beneficiaries and interviews with their caregivers.  Some interviews were simple to conduct at very willing households...

Difficult streets and terrain

…but others were hard to locate in difficult terrain conditions. There are not many official addresses in Kampala but almost everyone will go out of their way to help direct you (even if they are not sure themselves).  Other parents could only be located at their place of work, so we interviewed at the market, stopping for each customer who came to purchase goods.

Interviewing in the market

My experience as Programmes Intern with Opportunity International completely exceeded all expectations! International Development, particularly from a Gender perspective, is a personal passion of mine.  Getting an insight into the power of microfinance to support girls education in Uganda was amazing, and showed me how effective, well-monitored projects can have a positive impact on whole communities. 

I am so grateful for this internship.  Every day I learnt something new.  I hope to stay updated with the fantastic work Opportunity International does across the globe, and I wish them every success in the future.


(Hope Carpenter was intern at Opportunity International UK from January to April 2018.  She worked on our Educating Girls in Uganda programme)

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