top of page

Humanism and Education: 3rd Uganda Humanist Schools Conference

By Irumba Juma Siriwayo

Juma is Managing Director of Katumba Parents Humanist Nursery and Primary School, Co-Director of New Hope Humanist Schools, and a Board Member of the Coalition for Humanist Schools in Uganda. In this article, he shares the benefits of attending the 3rd Humanist Education Conference which took place at Isaac Newton Humanist High School from 30th August to 2nd September 2023. In the photo he is sitting with Steve Hurd who is Chair of the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust.

Conference themes

The conference covered a variety of topics including Principles of Positive Humanism, Attitudes towards God, the Golden Rule, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the American Humanist Association’s ‘Ten Commitments’. A selection of slides from the conference is shared below.

From left: Robert Bwambale (Kasese Humanist Schools), Irumba Juma Siriwayo (Katumba Humanist School), and Muwanguzi Rogers (Eagle's View Humanist School)

Key benefits of being with a group of like-minded people

I was inspired by sharing goals and aspirations, which helps us support each other as we head along the same direction of self-improvement and successful outcomes. Having people around us who share interests means we can lift each other up and boost our personal journeys. We crave relationships because we are social creatures, and we all need a safe environment in which to share many aspects of the pursuit of our goals. Sometimes we need a group we can be part of over a long period of time. When it comes to the soul and our personal self-development, there are many different types of groups we can become part of for more in-depth learning about ourselves with like-minded people.

Connecting with others who do the same or have similar goals, dreams and aspirations offers us so much:

1. Feeling not alone

At the conference I realised that there are people who are going through similar experiences in life to me, which was incredible. It was great to hear different viewpoints, and we were able to share positive growth experiences with others who going through the same struggles: this brought relief that I am not alone.

2. Unconditional support

Another lesson learnt at the conference was that a positive community environment is a place where everyone is willing to offer a helping hand, be a listening ear, and make suggestions in a bid to lift you up. Getting that type of a boost makes you want to reciprocate, and this creates a great cycle of positive energy. We often make decisions that those close to us don’t agree with, which can be incredibly demotivating. When we are surrounded by like-minded people, we know they will support our decisions without judgement, whilst being able to caution us on things we might not have taken into consideration, without being critical.

3. Guidance, assistance and accountability

At the conference I learnt that sometimes we discover something about ourselves that leaves us feeling discouraged or challenged. Being able to have a different perspective on what we are facing is so valuable for helping us work through our challenges. When we have supportive people

around us we are more likely to be spurred into action, as they give us the push we need to keep moving forward. They listen to our excuses, and can challenge us to move past them without

judgement. This helps us go beyond what we often think is possible, because they have our best intentions in mind.

4. They cheer us on

When we can share our successes and victories with others who have been through a similar

experience, it gives us such a boost in our self-esteem and confidence that we feel inspired and

encouraged to continue what we are doing. The more encouragement we get, the more we

want to continue succeeding.

5. Creativity and inspiration are stimulated

Being able to bounce ideas off one another is an excellent way to use synergy to spark new

ideas. To be successful, we need innovation and creativity, and others can help us improve an old

idea, develop a new idea, and generally help us tap into our own visions and dreams by focusing

on what is possible.

Being part of a community of like-minded people for a long period of time brings a commitment that is focused on helping each other succeed. Everyone has different strengths and skill sets, and this creates the perfect environment for figuring out together what is needed for everyone to be successful in what they want to achieve at any given time.

Building a relationship with someone else based on what you can do for them is a selfless

approach enabling us to accept what they have to offer unconditionally. And this makes us more

willing to open our minds and let others help us when we might need it the most, as it is based

on trust. And trust is what helps us make long lasting connections that become important

relationships. We need each other to be fulfilled.

Finally, after mingling with like-minded people during the conference, I was delighted to be elected to the Board of the Coalition for Humanist Schools in Uganda.

A selection of slides and photos from the conference

From left: Muwanguzi Rogers (Eagle's View Humanist Primary School), Kisirinya Peter (Isaac Newton High School), Kamya Moses (Mustard Seed Humanist Schools), Hellen (New Hope Humanist Primary School), Juma (Katumba Parents Humanist Primary School), Edison (Kasese Municipal High Humanist Primary School), Bwambale Robert (Kasese Humanist Schools) and Dan (auditor Uganda Humanist Schools Trust). Thanks to Muwanguzi Rogers for this photo.

Conference participants from Humanist Schools in all corners of Uganda, including the elected board of the Coalition for Humanist Schools in Uganda: Peter Kisirinya - Chairman/Director Isaac Newton Humanist High School; Moses Kamya - General Secretary/Director of Mustard Seed Secondary School and Primary School; Hellen Mbambu ASiimwe - Treasurer/Director of New Hope Day Care Humanist Nursery and Primary School; Irumba Juma Siriwayo - Board member/Director Katumba Parents Humanist Nursery and Primary school; and Rogers Muwanguzi - Board member/Director Eagles View Primary School.

Isaac Newton High School, which hosted the conference, is in Kateera, Masaka, Uganda

58 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Oct 04, 2023

A very heartening report, which shows humanist schools in Uganda going from strength to strength.

It is tragic that Lynda Tilley is no longer with us to see their progress.

It seems clear the work she did in her lifetime lives on in the accomplishments of her fellow and sororal African humanist colleagues. Long may it continue....

bottom of page