I was not shocked when I opened my eyes to read on my phone an article by The Monitor that Uganda loses billions from poorly written proposals.
I have been after Ugandans since 2013 to write properly, stop abbreviating and also read extensively. In fact this website has many articles on proper writing and the importance of reading.
Over the years, some people have told me that I am spoilt because I went to school in Canada. Wrong. I went to school in Uganda and only A’Level and university in Canada.
My brother Apollo and I had a daily routine. We used to walk to Jinja Public library daily to read. We read anything and everything in sight. We were also poor but books were a gift.
Ugandans now have social media / internet and should use it to read. Apollo got a PhD in the end but I dropped out of school.
My writing has been shaped by two key people. One of my managers in a company I used to work at told me I had to learn to communicate like a regular. Most computer programmers hate writing reports even if their software is superb. But all the work has to be presented for budget approvals and you sometimes have to write User Guides.
The other person who has greatly influenced my writing is my Editor. He used to roll up his eyes and could hardly stand my writing. However, great teachers are patient. I could write superfast about technology and financial things till he got on my case to make it relevant to the readers. I am still a work in progress.
The first thing that struck me in 2013 was how badly my people were writing. I was thinking there is no way in hell they can write a course or business report. No way.
Grants and Funding project proposals must be concise, crisp and then some. So do weekly or monthly reports. Nothing to me as I can do this half asleep. But then you look at someone applying for funding and their proposal has bcoz 7yrs back,… I am thinking “Houston, we have a problem”.
Abbreviation just because Ugandans understand it cannot get you an international donor or funder. Not flowing your report will leave the reader wondering “okay, where are we going with this?”. Not explaining full usage of the funds with verifiable information (Google) will leave the potential donor looking at better written proposals.
In essence, good writing is the key thing. But pray tell me how you will write well when you do not like reading!
Martha Leah Nangalama
I am passionate about reading and writing. All opinions are mine.