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  • Zernikeplein 11, 9747AS Groningen
  • +31 (0)50 595 75 54
  • Een initiatief van:
  • Zernikeplein 11, 9747AS Groningen
  • +31 (0)50 595 75 54

Hanze staff to NICA in February 2019

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17 Hanze staff members were joining the Hanze University Foundation on a trip to National Instructors’ College Abilonino (NICA) in Uganda next week during their free time. They are back home now.

They have financed the trip themselves and have raised € 30,000 for the benefits of NICA. While in Uganda, the Hanze staff will be collaborating with NICA staff to exchange knowledge, experiences, best practices and to learn from each other. Next to that, they will be involved in some practical labour: using the collected funds they will renovate student hostels and build new sanitary facilities, together with students from NICA.

While in Uganda, the group will update us on their experiences through this page. Will you follow our journey? Travel along with us!

5.3.2019 – Update #4: Memories

After a marvellous last week in Lira, Uganda, most of us have arrived back home. A few colleagues are taking the opportunity to travel to learn even more about Uganda.

Hanze house

During the two weeks at NICA we have collaborated in several areas, from education to IT and from library services to the kitchen. Next to that, we have worked very hard on the renovation of the student hostel, which is almost finished and will be named the ‘Hanze House’.

On our last evening we were surprised with a show prepared by NICA’s students, who demonstrated different types of dances from different regions of Uganda. It was a beautiful end to two fantastic weeks, during which we have bonded with the colleagues from NICA in a way which we did not deem possible. We are different in some ways, but are also much the same. We came with suitcases filled with clean clothes and little expectations, and return with suitcases filled with dusty clothes and the richest memories. We look back on weeks in which we have learned and shared a tremendous amount.

26.2.2019 – Update #3 – Sharing expertise

We’ve already spent more than a week in Uganda. By now, all Hanze staff have made themselves useful by either sharing their knowledge and expertise, in the classroom or on the building site. The staff and students of NICA have also gotten used to their guests and are starting to open up more, which leads to memorable encounters.

The Hanze staff members come from all organisational units and exchange knowledge related to their own expertise. Some examples:

  • Frans van Haperen and Björn Mens from the School of Engineering have fixed several devices and engage the NICA students in experiments related to engineering;
  • Juliana Montoya Cordona from the Centre of Expertise Energy is involved with the new student hostel’s energy supply;
  • Anja Bandringa from Nutrition and Dietetics helps out in the kitchen every day to cook for 400 students and staff members;
  • Marieke Doornbos from the Hanze Library helps NICA-colleague Vincent in setting up an automated system for the library’s administration, taking into account frequent power and internet outages;
  • Cor Blom from ICT focuses on providing local access to sources such as Wikipedia and instruction courses on YouTube in an offline learning community and on training Sam – NICA’s IT staff member.

Next to that the renovations are still going strong. This Friday we hope to officially name the new student hostel… stay tuned to find out more!

Cor training Sam, IT staff member at NICA 

Juliana (wearing the white helmet) discusses the hostel’s energy supply with colleagues from NICA

Frans and Björn in their element

18.2.2019 – Update #2: Here we are! 

Last Sunday, the Hanze staff has arrived in Lira, Uganda, after two exhausting days of travelling. During their first day on site, they got to know the staff of NICA, who proudly showed them around the campus. Starting today, every Hanze staff member will tag along with a NICA staff member who holds an equivalent position. Everyone is very excited to gather new insights and, above all, to make new friends along the way.


Anja Bandringa from Hanze’s Nutrition and Dietetics programme has already been involved in preparing lunch for the students and staff of Hanze and NICA. Both groups immediately became aware of some differences in dietary habits. While the Dutch consume loads of bread, the Ugandans eat ‘ugali’ five times a week. Ugali is most accurately described as a kind of dough of cornflour and water, prepared in large pots on an open fire. The dough is stirred until it looks like a kind of pasta, after which vegetables are cut, baked and added.

The Hanze staff members have raised €30,000 for the renovation of NICA’s student hostels and classrooms. A few staff members will be starting on the renovation process today. They will be instructed by NICA’s technically educated scholars and will jointly work for a great cause.

14.2.2019 – Update #1: See you soon!

On February 13th a ‘goodbye ceremony’ was held for the travelling staff members. T-shirts and suitcase labels were handed out and the last details were discussed. Now it’s time to start the adventure! Hanze University Foundation board member Bix Jacobse elaborated on how special it is that the staff members embark on this journey: ‘It’s fantastic that they commit themselves to the Hanze University Foundation. One can easily tell that they are thrilled to visit NICA and to do good.’

The Foundation is also very proud of the staff members’ involvement with NICA. Through carrying out various activities they have collected an astonishing amount of €20,000, which has been raised to €30,000 by non-profit organisation ‘Wilde Ganzen’. A good amount to do great things in Uganda. We are ready to go!

From the left: Alida de Winter, Erna van Poelgeest, Brenda Raatjes, Els Loeff, Gert Kuipers, Maryam Maftoon, Frans van Haperen, Björn Mens, Anja Bandringa, Ria Logtenberg, Christiena de Vries, Annette Doornkamp, Marieke Doornbos, Obbert Nieuwenhuis, Jacquelien Rothfusz, Juliana Montoya Cardona en Cor Blom. Vincent Hopmans is not on this picture, but he is also going to Uganda.

1.10.2018 – #Preperation

Due to the great success of the Hanze staff trip to Kenya from the 25th of February till the 10th of March (more info: https://www.facebook.com/Hanzemedewerkersreis) , we would like to announce the next opportunity for staff members to carry out the Hanze slogan: “share your talent, move the world”. This time to the National Instructors College in Abilonino (NICA), in Uganda.

At the moment, about 20 Hanze staff members are busy with the preparations. They will depart on February 16, 2019. Since the summer of 2018, they have been gathering every month to get the latest updates, share preparation tips and to get to know each other.

The main goal of the trip is to improve personal and intercultural skills from the Hanze staff and to fulfill the needs of NICA which include teacher training and quality assurance. Next to these goals, their other goal is to raise about €30 000 to renovate the “old” classrooms and make more space for student hostels.

About NICA and Unify 4 Uganda

During the Hanze anniversary celebrations students, staff, companies, alumni and people from Groningen raised funds for various charity organizations. One of the charities was the National Instructors College in Abilonino. Maybe you have already seen the “Unify 4 Uganda” logo?

NICA trains teachers for all technical colleges in Uganda. The school is located about 200 km north of the capital and offers various 2-year teacher programs. Each year about 400 students graduate and start teaching throughout the whole country. The participants  from Hanze will cooperate with the staff members from NICA, but also the future teachers, who are currently students from NICA.

The NICA staff members are looking forward to working together with the Hanze staff members and exchange knowledge and build friendships!

Click here for photo’s of the NICA campus and video’s from the NICA staff explaining about their campus!


The Hanze staff members will not travel to Uganda empty handed. At the moment they are raising €35 000, in order to renovate the old, declined classrooms. A few of the former classrooms will be converted into studenthostels. Would you like to stay up to date on the latest fundraising activities? Follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Hanzemedewerkersreis/!

Wild Geese Foundation

The Wild Geese foundation has approved our application to support our cause! They will sponsor another 50% of the total raised amount! Which means every €1,-, will be worth €1,50 and every €10 will be worth €15! And so on!

Past fundraisers: