Omoana House, much more than a project

In April 2016, humanitarian professionals engaged in a Certificate in Project Methodology with the Centre d’étude et de recherche en action humanitaire (CERAH) visited Omoana House. They were gathered for 10 days in Uganda for the “residential” part of the training (a distance learning course that lasts 7 months and also includes distance sessions and 4 months of coaching). A practical case study was organized with Omoana House, during which the students talked to HIV-positive teenagers about their daily challenges and how Omoana House meets them. Beyond the technical aspects, the group was struck by the courage of these young people, and by the human relationship with the staff. For their part, the teenagers appreciated this moment of exchange, which highlighted the need to include them more systematically in project planning. Dr. Edith Favoreu, trainer and deputy director of CERAH, gives us her impressions.

Omoana… more than a name, it’s poetry. It’s a path to a bubble of happiness, bursting with positive energy for children and visitors alike. While the former find a loving, caring refuge, a den of unparalleled human warmth, the latter draw a life force that leaves a lasting impression.

Omoana… more than a project, it’s an innovative concept, where the being is placed in its central, primary, primordial dimension, where each of its components is recognized as an inexhaustible source of inner transformation. Omoana is unique and its power immeasurable.

Omoana … more than a support, it’s a true inspiration. Children, young adults and caregivers are role models, giving full meaning to the concept of resilience. Never denying the intrinsic complexities of the country’s social, health, political and economic situation, each of them nevertheless grasps them, a real life lesson for every visitor.

We were moved to witness such greatness. Lucky to be able to spend a day at Omoana House, fortunate to share a little of the daily life of this unique home. We, humanitarian and development professionals. We, accustomed to difficult contexts in which suffering has so many faces. We, who believe that our work can contribute to limiting this suffering and restoring hope. We have all been overwhelmed and enthused by these precious moments with the children, the teenagers and the entire team who have invested so much. We left Jinja different, better, stronger, taller, and so full of admiration.

We, coming from all over (Brazil, Senegal, Switzerland, France, Sudan, Ethiopia, Cameroon…), working for the University of Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food and Agriculture Organization, NRC, etc., all involved in a high-level university training program, thank you. We thought we’d lend our support to Omoana House, investigating with the young people how they perceive the center and their perspectives. We had thought it would be an exercise in needs analysis, in which techniques and tools would be applied, all colored by interpersonal skills. Our impression is that we’ve learned far more than we’ve contributed, received far more than we’ve given, and grown far more than we’ve contributed.

Omoana House, your work is unfortunately indispensable. The way you develop it is admirable. Thank you for giving substance to the words solidarity, compassion and love. Thank you for welcoming us for this day of study transformed into a life lesson.

Dr. Edith Favoreu
Assistant Director
Université de Genève/Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Développement