Home of more than100.000 families

We are training refugee youth in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda and are creating the space for a whole new set of generative questions to be explored with learners in order to re-imagine and co-create a rich field of collaborative learning. A innovative project in collaboration with Unidos in Uganda


Inner work for healing and growth

In a prototype training we will be guiding youth fellows in the Nakivale camp who aim to empower other youth in sustainable development and wellbeing. We will offer skills and knowledge through Open Up in a mutual learning process, to inspire them to meet the healing purposes of inner work in order to take on leadership roles in their communities. Through creating a network, the project also aims at connecting young activists across the region so they can collaborate on regional sustainable development and wellbeing. 



Nakivale is home to 119,587 refugees, of which early 1/3 are unemployed and over 1/4 are entrepreneurs and only 20% are students. Nakivale has been a long-standing host to more than 100,000 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan. Although some amenities have been made available, many refugees struggle to afford basic items and have serious issues integrating fully into the host community. Many consider the Nakivale settlement to be a state of limbo and as a result, put their lives on hold, waiting for their situation to change.

A key amenity that is lacking in Nakivale is education. According to UNHCR, “Many children and youth (in Nakivale) do not attend school due to high school fees for secondary school, overcrowding, and long travel distances to schools. According to Social Innovation Academy, a local NGO who has been working with refugees in Uganda since 2006, “Uganda has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. An estimated 700,000 new entrants join the Ugandan labor market each year and compete for the only 12,000 available formal jobs.


The main goal of Unidos was initially to promote self-reliance, and enhance the lifestyle of refugees. But they realized that despite what they've done so far, it is difficult to reach the change they want to see. Most of the people in the community are still facing negative emotions, and are traumatised by their past life. Which in turn causes physical and mental health issues.


The Open Up training will provide the Unidos team with skills that will help them learn how to deal with their inner states and allow youth to regain their own hopes long abandoned because of the struggles and pains struck in their lives both back in their countries of origins, and in the district of Isingiro (Nakivale Refugee Settlement).


This is a first of regenerative programs that is offered through Open Up's Cycle of Learning in itself and beyond itself. The Cycle is an ongoing learning process developed by our founder Katrien Franken and circles through the psychological, the physiological, the liminal and responsible.

Open Up


Self learning

Inquire into our story, learning journey and calling. Learn to deeply listen and hold space for the bold and brave. In this space we explore presence, and open to truth through 

'what is most alive to come alive.'


self healing

Experiential learning and science education on the interconnection of body, brain and nervous system. Create safety and build resilience with conscious breathwork as fertiliser for healing.


self discovering

Meeting the deeper wisdom and collective intelligence in the intersubjective space. Learning how to flow with the unknown, the non-ordinary, and mystical and safely support yourself and others in it.


self understanding

Learning to be able to integrate the inner work in the outside environment and skilfully generate a deeper understanding on the complexities that arise.


Open Up


in Uganda


Together with UNIDOS we want to support and promote local young entrepreneurs by providing youth with skills that helps them move forward in their healing and inner growth. Promoting, enabling and facilitating inclusive activities which empower families and youth academically, socially, and health-culture in order to inspire them to take on leadership roles in their communities.


Greater inner Awareness: fostering a deeper connection through physical and psychological practices to explore the inner word and open to a greater resource and way of being.

Youth Skills Development: Social learning sessions, toolkits, and capacity building to develop several competencies to empower and transform youth into peaceful conscious change makers who drive social-economic development—regardless of their skin colors, back grounds, religious affiliations and beliefs.

Social Inclusion: Building social cohesion, and creating a long-term foundation for them to engage in an active, innovative and developmental society.

Community Engagement and Participation: Engagement and participation and amplifying the ‘youth voice’ through deep listening, self expression and opening to their deepest truths. Empowering youth to play a participatory role and claim ownership over developmental affairs, while building peace and stability.

Ownership in the Future: “Youth will learn to lead both from behind and from the frontlines” Through contributing to peace, stability, economic growth, and sustainable development, they will have a stake in the future they will inherit, today. – Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

© Open Up 2021