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Nineteen-year-old Harnicah Mpologomy from Uganda smiled as she walked onto the stage of Kigali Convention Centre. She had just won a silver medal in bricklaying and concrete practice at the World Skills Africa Competition.
Harnicah caught everybody’s attention when she displayed her skills. People were surprised watching the young girl tussle it out with boys in building walls.
“When I chose bricklaying as a career, many people laughed it off,” she said as she mixed cement with sand. “People have a perception that construction is for boys. I want to prove them wrong.”
And she did.
Two weeks earlier she was crowned Uganda’s bricklaying and concrete practice champion, beating two boys in the final of the national vocational skills competition.
She admitted she was afraid when she arrived in Rwanda, particularly when she saw the machines they were supposed to use. She had never worked with such machines before.
But she swore to give it her best shot. And it paid off. When receiving her award, she thanked her father, who had encouraged her right from the start.
She also revealed her big dream. “In a few years, I plan to start a company which I hope will grow to become as big as Roko,” she said.
Harnicah was not the only Ugandan representative who scooped a medal at the African competition.
Vincent Muganga, a 21-year-old student of Sand Makers Oil and Gas Institute, won silver in welding, while Rashidah Nambi, a student of Victory School of Beauty, won bronze in the hairdressing category.
The competition, the first of its kind in Africa, brought together contestants from Rwanda, Ghana, Morocco, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda. Enabel facilitated the participants in both the national and continental competitions.
World Skills is a global initiative that aims to inspire young people to develop a passion for skills and strife for excellence. The progamme sets global training standards and bench marks, and promotes cooperation with the relevant industries.