Staff Spotlight: Dan Mugisa Byenkya

Program Coordinator - Intern & Volunteer Support


Dan is the Local Program Coordinator for FSD JINJA-UGANDA. He strives to provide leadership that empowers young people to develop innovative solutions that can transform their lives and communities. Besides development work, he is passionate about website and graphics design, documentary filming and photography.

Dan has been supporting international volunteers and interns for the last seven years.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was when I traveled to Nairobi Kenya for the Young African Leadership Initiative program YALI RLC EA. The YALI program is a fellowship that works to equip young people with innovative leadership tools that they can use to influence change in their communities.

During the program, I got the opportunity to meet other like-minded participants from 14 countries in East and Central Africa. The different cultures among each one of us gave me an insight into the level of diversity of the African continent. I enjoyed exchanging ideas about how we can make Africa a better place and our hopes and dreams for the continent.

While on the program, we went on trips around Nairobi and learned more about the people and their culture.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working with FSD Jinja Uganda has helped me improve my leadership skills in terms of planning, decision making and problem-solving. It has given me an opportunity to work with people from different identities and cultural backgrounds different from my own. This has enabled me to gain a unique perspective on how to actively engage a diverse group of people in solving real-life ongoing community challenges.

I enjoy transferring all the knowledge I have acquired throughout my career experience to the young generation who aspire to change the world.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Most returning students share stories of reverse cultural shock that they experience after they returned home from their internship experience in Uganda. The strong attachment they build from their experiences in Ugandan culture, friendships, hospitality and project work is one which they hold dearly and makes it difficult for them to re-adjust back to their home.

Sometimes our students even come back to visit us in Uganda. This makes me appreciate the work and investment we do to ensure students have a great experience while in Uganda. It also encourages me to strive to provide memorable experiences for students in our program.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose the Group Engage program because it would give me the opportunity to learn how to work with different groups of people to address community challenges. Working together as a team, especially when you are in a new environment with different cultures, offers a unique way of learning how to come together to achieve a set goal.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

The structure, design, and impact of FSD’s program are designed to ensure positive outcomes both for students’ learning experiences and the development of grass-root communities in Uganda.

The structure of the program aims at providing a fair-trade learning experience that focuses on equipping students with hands-on experience while being immersed in a culture. And we work together with our students to address grassroots community development needs sustainably.

I am proud to see the team’s capacity to be able to multitask. Last year, we were successful in accomplishing so many tasks for management and administration, while also providing psycho-social support to in-country interns throughout the year.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Program design and a step by step action plan within a specified time frame is the biggest factor in being a successful company. I also believe teamwork and partnership building with local and international stakeholders plays a very big role in the growth and success of the company.

Amidst providing practical sustainable development training to all our participants, we always carry out reflection sessions with them at the beginning, middle, and end of the internship. The reflection sessions help our participants evaluate the purpose of their internship and the impact it has on their life experience, as well as the communities they work with. This provides a chance for participants to picture whether international development is what they would like to pursue as their career or not.

This component of the program is the essence of why students choose FSD.