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What is Ukarimu?

Throughout Africa many young people are looking for jobs, but most tourism companies still struggle to find the right staff. We believe this is caused by a mismatch between what is needed on the work floor and what is offered in training institutions. Or more importantly: how it is offered. At Ukarimu we want to solve just that. Instead of favouring a “chalk-and-talk” approach that is heavily focused on theory, we believe that training for the tourism & hospitality sector should be as practical as possible. That’s why Ukarimu offers skills-based programs that prepare learners for a job in the tourism sector.

Our Approach

Based on
active learning
Focused on
the African continent
Developed in collaboration with tourism companies
Focused on
soft & practical skills
Supported with
videos & an app
Short & hands on

What other professionals say


Frequently Asked Questions

Ukarimu is the first open-source curriculum for tourism and hospitality training in Africa. The Ukarimu team works together with innovative training institutions to implement high quality trainings.

The approach of Ukarimu is: 

  1. Based on active learning
  2. Focused on Africa
  3. Relevant to the private sector
  4. Focused on soft and practical skills
  5. Supported with videos and an offline app
  6. Open-source
  7. Short & easy to implement

No, Ukarimu is a program that is founded by the Ugandan organizations EyeOpenerWorks and Mango Tree. Since Mango Tree quit operations in 2021, the intellectual property is fully with EyeOpenerWorks, which is a Ugandan-Dutch organization that aims, among others, to promote active learning. 

Currently Ukarimu is not based on a commercial business model, as in fact the open-source nature of Ukarimu allows anyone with an interest in training young Africans to access the materials for free. Ukarimu currently works together with several training providers that implement the Ukarimu trainings.

Ukarimu was developed to overcome the frustration of African tourism companies about the lack of practical, accessible and contextualized training materials that would help to train young people in the skills needed for a career in the tourism & hospitality sector. 

The first Ukarimu curriculum was developed in 2018 by EyeOpenerWorks and Mango Tree, two Ugandan companies that received support from tourism training providers in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. Financial support was provided by Booking.com. Later on other courses were added with the help of the GIZ Employment and Skills for Development in Africa programme (E4D).

The development of Ukarimu is formally and informally supported by various organizations and individuals. The Ukarimu team wishes to thank the following organizations for their involvement and commitment: EyeOpenerWorks, the GIZ Employment and Skills for Development in Africa programme (E4D) which is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is co-funded in Uganda by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). We would also like to thank Booking.com, Mango Tree Educational Enterprises, Matoke Tours, Tripesa, the Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA), Urithi, the Rwenzori Tourism Academy, Kara-Tunga Arts & Tours and the Karamoja Tourism Academy.

They would also like to thank a multitude of other institutions for their collaboration and encouragement including the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities, the Ugandan Directorate of Industrial Training, the Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), the Tourism & Hospitality Sector Skills Council, the Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA), the Association of Ugandan Tour Operators (AUTO), Enabel, PUM, Casa Uganda, SkillEd, Moonatic Marketing, the Brand Factory, Kawa Training Center, Ujima Foundation, Jobortunity, Khwela, Southwest Tourism Academy and Elgon Tourism Academy.

Finally, they would like to specifically thank April Brown, Charlotte Beauvoisin, Sam Kalule, Gloria Tumwesigye and everyone else that invested personal time and effort into developing Ukarimu.

Ukarimu works together with trainers at training institutions. In order to implement the curriculum successfully the trainers are advised to go through a Training of Trainers, which is organized occasionally. These trainers will also be helped remotely by the Ukarimu developers in implementing the training.

After a couple of years, we noticed that the ideal Ukarimu trainer is a good listener, rather than a talker. A facilitator, rather than an instructor. An experienced tourism professional, rather than an experienced teacher.

Ukarimu has been developed by EyeOpenerWorks and Mango Tree, two Kampala-based companies with expertise in developing curricula. They have been supported by a great number of tourism & hospitality experts. Please read the “a word of thanks” section to learn more about these supporters. If you wish to support the development of Ukarimu curricula in the future, please let us know!

Yes. The industry is changing all the time, which makes it important to keep on being updated in order to stay relevant. If you see errors or room for improvement in our curricula, please let us know!

The goal of Ukarimu is to provide relevant training materials to anyone with an interest in training young Africans for the tourism & hospitality sector. In doing so, Ukarimu is looking for partnerships. Currently Ukarimu is mostly focused on Uganda but has the ambition to expand into other countries.

In addition, the ambition is to keep on expanding the training materials to target as many professions in the tourism & hospitality sector as possible.

Tourists are visiting Africa in large numbers. All over the continent this creates job opportunities for young people: near major attractions, in hotels and safari lodges and with tour operators.

Unfortunately many young people lack the professional skills required in the industry, and regular educational institutions fail to provide them with relevant training opportunities. Most courses are very theoretical and pay little attention to the development of soft and practical skills.

Unfortunately not. The tourism & hospitality industry has many flaws. Ukarimu aims to provide tools for both employers and employees to create and pursue decent jobs: jobs where employees are respected, paid well and where there is room for career growth.

The focus of Ukarimu is on soft skills such as communication, teamwork and customer service. In addition, practical skills, professional skills and tourism sector understanding are also important elements. 

Currently, four complete curricula have been developed: a Tourism & Hospitality curriculum, a Product Development curriculum, a Tour Guiding and a Digital Marketing curriculum. However, many more curricula and modules will be developed in the future. 

Ukarimu has different target groups. It targets different kinds of training participants, depending on the training: people in or out of jobs, hospitality staff, entrepreneurs, tour guides, etc… As long as you are based in Africa and highly motivated! 

Ukarimu also targets companies and training providers to collaborate with. In addition, it targets institutional bodies and funders to make the trainings happen.

Students are selected through a recruitment process that may differ from training to training. In all trainings, eagerness and general attitude are the most important selection criteria.

It depends on the type of training. Generally, Ukarimu training does require a commitment fee to be paid.

Each training may have a different timeline. Ukarimu trainings typically take 3 to 6 months, depending on the course and the training institution. More than half of the training consists of work-based learning.

No, as no training provider or methodology could do that. In fact, Ukarimu aims to promote professional work attitudes: everyone needs to keep on learning throughout their lives!

No, but collaborations are sought with official assessment bodies where possible. In Uganda for example, the training providers that implement hospitality trainings are advised to work together with the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT). Ukarimu also gives out certificates, but these are not officially recognized.

The Ukarimu Academy app is an offline tool that can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store or be accessed online. The infrastructure is developed by Skill-Ed and the content is similar to the Ukarimu training content. However, whereas the Ukarimu curriculum targets the facilitator, the app targets the individual student. The app does not replace the physical training fully, as teamwork and practical experiences are crucial. Instead, it is just a supplementary tool that helps students to go through the content again, or to make Ukarimu content accessible for anyone that cannot attend a physical training.

We are always interested in collaboration! Depending on your background, you can help in recruiting the right participants and companies, help in implementing the training, help in developing the materials or make the training happen. Please fill in the contact form.

We expect tourism companies to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ukarimu and/or the implementing training provider. We only want to work with companies that do their best to provide decent working conditions to employees and interns. If you would like to know what we mean by this, we are happy to send more information.

You may participate in the Ukarimu Training of Trainers (ToT) which is organized occasionally. Although the Ukarimu materials can be downloaded on this website for free, the Training of Trainers will help you to implement the Ukarimu curriculum successfully. Please fill in the contact form to be updated in case of any forthcoming ToTs.

The Ukarimu curriculum is open-source and in fact, we want others to implement our training approach! Doing so the right way, will simply be a way to create more impact. If you wish to do so, please contact us to explore a collaboration. However, the intellectual ownership of the content is with EyeOpenerWorks. You can remix, adapt, and build upon this manual, providing EyeOpenerWorks is acknowledged as developer/source.

Please fill in the contact form and we are happy to get back to you!

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