This is the blog for the University of Tennessee Gulu Study and Service Abroad Program, officially launched in 2011. This program - located in Northern Uganda - offers students the opportunity to engage in international service learning. It combines academics with internships in order to facilitate learning while allowing students to work with individuals and groups who are promoting peace and development in this war-affected region.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
My internship has mostly consisted of editing grant reports and composing reports on events that GWED-G (Gulu Women's Economic Development and Globalization) has previously participated in the past. But one morning last week I got the chance to take a break from all that. I jumped into a
GWED-G Toyota Landcruiser
along with Ms. Pamela Angwech, executive director of GWED-G, and Sandra, a
member of the GWED-G staff. GWED-G was hosting a three-day training session for
various organizations associated with UYONET (Uganda Youth Network) at
the Mwokka Hotel (less than a ten minute drive away). The three of us walked in
and set up shop; we made sure registration was going smoothly and everyone was accounted
for, plugged in our laptops, and refined all details concerning presentations
and group activities.
in a matter of thirty minutes, the training session was underway. A total of
three lectures, one of which was GWED-G’s very own Pam Angwech, presented
crucial non-profit information on organizational and financial management,
along with policy implementation and funding. People were constantly asking
questions and looking for networking opportunities to strengthen their
organizations. That day, Hotel Mwokka was a hub of idea exchange and growth.
in the session weren’t the only ones who gained new knowledge and insights
within the non-profit world—I did too. Learning and seeing the impacts that all
these amazing local organizations are making within their communities is inspiring.
From my own observation and experience, these local and more community-based
organizations make a bigger, more lasting impact than any international NGO.
This is partially due to international NGOs not understanding the people they
are serving needs and hopes for their community, much less their culture.
people at this training session further made me think critically about the type
of organization I would want to work and associate with in the future. It is important for me
to support and be apart of sustainable institutions that directly caters to the communities
needs-- not one that imposes their ideas and leaves a community in worse shape than
what they found it in.
Thank you GWED-G for the opportunities and experiences that you give me everyday!