Kampala has been home to Mathias Kamp for the last 10 years. It is a part of his life that has passed by pretty well. The finishing is strong and very beautiful.
10 years. A lot happens in 10 years. And indeed a lot has happened for him. Having first come to Uganda as a student, little did he know that he would be coming back to call this country his home. Little did he know that the organization he once worked as a volunteer would be the same he would work at as a country director. That’s what time does. It is never short of surprises. Time has a tendency of keeping hidden her plans. They occur to you not necessary as planned by as time intentions.
It always begins with a call. There was an opportunity to work in the KAS Uganda office and Mathias applied and was called. At the time, he was based in Nigeria.
He moved to Uganda and immediately started with the work. While working in the country as a student volunteer, he had noticed that there was a growing number of young people
He began rowing the KAS boat of Uganda and South Sudan reaching out through programs that supported the young people. KAS was already involved in working with institutions of higher learning and his role was to intensify these relations and also work on as many programs as possible.
It was through such partnerships that the organisation has been able to partner with so many different stakeholders together promoting civic trainings. It is this work that has created heated debates in community halls among leaders and their communities just as it has with students at universities. The debates have also happened with the leaders at various levels in government. But the conversation has been broadened to reach out to the refugees in camps.
As an organisation, KAS is not a donor organisation that gives grants, it works with partners in promoting civic and political engagement.
Mathias leaves Uganda a happier man. To the place he first came as a student, today he leaves as a joyful father of two. A very proud father at that. Throughout his stay at KAS, he has had the opportunity of working with very many young and vibrant Ugandans who have challenged him in his work. There is a bigger population rising up and making bold demands to the leaders. He is also very happy that the leaders, over time, have chosen to learn and listen.
Annual projects like the Social Media Conference, Youth4Policy and the Kampala Geopolitics Conference have caused a change in the little time they have been running. The events attract a number of industry players to share knowledge and so far the results are very commendable.
There is more for Uganda. “I leave behind a better Uganda but on a shakier ground.” There are a number of incomplete puzzles that need to be addressed. With a very young population, Uganda has a more educated population than it has ever had before. They come with very many questions which do not seem to have been met.
In as far as Mathias Kamp’s Uganda chapter has closed, the book is still open. More chapters are being written. He moves on to Berlin as the regional head of KAS East Africa. As he makes this journey back home, his heart beats for a country he fell in love with, one where he has made a lot of friends that he is leaving behind.
KAS has been running in Uganda since 1987 and Mathias was the 8th country director.
Photo by KAS